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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments,
   questions (email):  

January 17, 2017
MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle

Joe Coleman
Audubon Naturalist Society of the
   Central Atlantic states (independent of NAS!)
Steve Cordle

Reporting Guidelines  |  Archives 

Please consider joining ANS, especially if you are a regular user of the Voice (Senior $35; Individual $50; Family $65; Nature Steward $100; Audubon Advocate $200). The membership number is 301-652-9188, option 12; the address is 8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815; and the web site is http://www.anshome.org.

This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting Tuesday, Jan 10 and was completed on Tuesday, Jan 17 at 10:15 a.m.

Information on noteworthy birds is presented below in taxonomic order, as set forth in the American Ornithologists' Union Checklist for North and Middle American birds, as revised through the 57th Supplement (July 2016).




The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE* continued to be seen at the Elm's Environmental Education Center, St. Mary's Co, MD with the most recent sighting on Jan 13. If looking for this bird do not drive in but park in the hunter's parking lot before the gate and walk about a mile walk to the bay and then several hundred yards to the north.

A WESTERN GREBE* was seen Jan 10 from Sandfiddler Rd and White Cap Ln, Virginia Beach VA. One was also reported from the Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA on Jan 16 a bit north of the closed area signs.

A RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was captured and banded Jan 14 at the Belvedere Community, Portsmouth, VA. A continuing young female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD in Wildewood, St. Mary's Co, MD was seen most recently on Jan 15.

A SNOWY OWL was seen at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on Jan 14, 15 and 16.

A continuing BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER* at Tydings Memorial Park, Harford Co, MD was last seen on Jan 15.

The continuing female WESTERN TANAGER* in a residential yard in the Alanton neighborhood of Virginia Beach, VA was seen as recently as Jan 13.


GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were seen at several locations in the reporting area including one at Anacostia Park, SE DC on Jan 10; three continuing individuals at Bristow Village Lake, Prince William Co, VA on Jan 16; and as many as 5 continued on Broadford Lake, Garrett Co, MD, on Jan 16. There was also one at Black Hill Regional Park, Montgomery Co, MD on Jan 11 and 12; one at Lake Churchill, Montgomery Co, MD as recently as Jan 12; and one at the Solomons, Calvert Co, MD on Jan 13. Two GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were seen Jan 16 in a storm water pond at Sentara RMH Hospital, Rockingham Co, VA; on the same day 2 continuing GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were seen at the nearby 2041 Solera Ct. Another was seen at the Quarry pond, Fishersville, Augusta Co, VA on Jan 16. Several were seen from the 13th through the 16th at the Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE.

Inland SNOW GEESE continued to be found in a number of locations in both MD and VA. ROSS'S GEESE were also seen at a number of locations including a 2nd that joined the continuing ROSS'S GOOSE at Lake of the Woods in Orange Co, VA on Jan 10. One was seen Jan 11 on the Potomac from Quantico, Prince William Co, VA. One was also seen as recently as Jan 13 in the private pond at the Rubbermaid Factory in Frederick Co, VA. There was one at Shirley Plantation, Charles City Co, VA on Jan 12. There was also one on Jan 13 and 16 at the pond behind the Walmart in Madison Heights, Amherst Co, VA. In Delaware's Kent Co a ROSS'S GOOSE was seen at Speedway X Zoar Rd on Jan 12 and at a private residence in Sussex Co, on Jan 13 and 14. CACKLING GEESE were seen throughout the region.

Continuing TRUMPETER SWANS were seen as recently as Jan 16 at Lake Artemesia, Prince George's Co, MD and at Perryville Community Park, Cecil Co, MD. Two untagged TRUMPETER SWANS were seen at Black Hill Regional Park, Montgomery Co, MD on Jan 12 while the longstanding tagged TRUMPETER SWAN was seen at the nearby Lake Churchill as recently as Jan 15. On Jan 15 two TRUMPETER SWANS were seen moving from the Patton Turf Farm to Edwards Ferry, Montgomery Co, MD. Two likely TRUMPETER SWANS (tagged) flew over a house in Taylorstown, Loudoun Co, VA on Jan 15.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen Jan 11 at Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Virginia Beach, VA. One was seen Jan 15 with American Wigeons off the observation boardwalk, Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA.

A SURF SCOTER was seen Jan 15 on Lake Shenandoah, Rockingham Co, VA. Another inland SURF SCOTER was found from Tide Lock Park, Alexandria, VA in the Potomac River (DC waters) Jan 16. Two Common Eiders were seen at Point Lookout SP, St. Mary's Co, MD throughout the week. Nine COMMON EIDERS were seen Jan 16 at Indian River Inlet, DE. A HARLEQUIN DUCK was spotted Jan 14 in the main channel behind the Marian Bay Hotel, Chincoteague, Accomack Co, VA. A LONG-TAILED DUCK was seen Jan 14 and 15 in the Potomac River (DC waters) from Tide Lock Park, Alexandria, VA.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was observed Jan 15 from the Lower Lake Overlook, Kerr Reservoir, Mecklenburg Co, VA. Multiple RED-NECKED GREBES were in the Potomac River off of Hains Point, SW DC Jan 15 and 16; while Hains Point will be closed until at least Jan 21, they were also visible with a scope from Gravelly Point, Arlington Co, VA. A RED-NECKED GREBE was also found Jan 16 at Elizabeth Dixon Park, Anne Arundel Co, MD.

A RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD continues to visit a window feeder at a residence in the Alanton neighborhood of Virginia Beach, VA, with the latest report on Jan 13. A likely RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was seen Jan 14 in Cape Charles, Northampton Co, VA.

On Jan 11 a SANDHIILL CRANE flew over the Marriott Lake at Dulles Airport. The two continuing SANDHILL CRANES at the Algonkian Nature Preserve, Loudoun Co, VA, were seen as recently as Jan 15. On Jan 15 and 16 two SANDHILL CRANES were seen in the Green Springs area on East Jack Jouett Rd, Louisa Co, VA.

RAZORBILLS were seen in multiple locations in Virginia Beach; there were as many as 20 at Little Island Park on Jan 15, two at Fort Story on Jan 12, and 3 seen from Sandfiddler Rd and White Cap Ln on the 10th.

Both a BLACK-HEADED GULL and an ICELAND GULL were seen from the Tom's Cove Visitor center, Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on Jan 14 and 15; the BLACK-HEADED GULL was also seen on the 16th. A BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen last week at Wolfe Neck Wastewater Treatment Plant, Rehoboth Beach, Sussex Co, DE. Two ICELAND GULLS were found Jan 10 among 3,000 or so gulls in the open water around the pier at North East Community Park, Cecil Co, MD. An ICELAND GULL was seen Jan 16 at the Eastern Sanitary Landfill (restricted access), Baltimore, MD.

Varying numbers of AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were seen in a number of locations in Virginia Beach throughout the week. An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was seen Jan 11 and 12 at the Perryville Community Park, Cecil Co, MD. A BROWN PELICAN, apparently the first ever seen in Fairfax Co, VA, was found at Pohick Bay on Jan 13 and seen again the 14th and 15th; it was seen from the boat rental parking lot.

The AMERICAN BITTERN at Black Marsh, North Point SP, Baltimore Co, MD was seen through Jan 12. The very late GREEN HERON at Ben Brenman Park, Alexandria, VA, was most recent reported on Jan 15.

Birders continue to enjoy seeing SHORT-EARED OWLS at fields along Konterra Drive in Prince George's Co, MD, with the latest sighting on Jan 16. The owner's restrictions on access to this location may be viewed on posts to MD Birding and the MD Birding Facebook page on Jan 6. SHORT-EARED OWLS were also seen at a number of other locations including two during the first census of the year at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD, on Jan 11 and flying over the fields south of Harrison Rd, The Plains, Fauquier Co, VA on Jan 13. On Jan 15 SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen flying along East Jack Jouett Rd, Louisa Co, VA as well as from Stone Bridge Rd near Milldale, Warren Co, VA.

A continuing NORTHERN SHRIKE* was seen along the Observation and the Boardwalk Trail at Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE with reports through Jan 15. The NORTHERN SHRIKE found in Montgomery Co, MD on Jan 1 was last reported on Jan 13; it was viewed from a parking lot along Triadelphia Lake Rd. The continuing NORTHERN SHRIKE along Bens Point Road in Queen Anne's Co, MD was seen most recently on Jan 16. The NORTHERN SHRIKE* that has been present at the Sully Woodlands, Fairfax Co, VA since early October was seen as recently as Jan 15.

Confirmed widely scattered sightings of irruptive BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES in MD and VA continued this past week.

As many as 3 BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCHES were seen in Southern Park, Charles Co, MD on Jan 16.

A continuing SNOW BUNTING mixed in with a flock of Horned Larks was seen again along Strickley Road in Augusta Co, VA on Jan 13 and 15. Two SNOW BUNTINGS continued to be seen at Point Lookout SP, St. Mary's Co with the most recent report from Jan 16.

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were found at several locations in DC, MD and VA.
Over-wintering NASHVILLE WARBLERS include one at the Cheriton Landfill, Northampton Co, VA, seen as recently as Jan 11; another in Pinecrest, Fairfax Co, VA on Jan 14 and 15; and still another Jan 15 at Kingman Island, NE DC; one has also been reported from Heritage Island which is next to Kingman Island.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen again at Big Water Farm (private), Queen Anne's' Co, MD on Jan 11. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW turned up at a feeder in James City Co, VA, on Jan 16. A LARK SPARROW was found Jan 12 at the Botetourt Center at Greenfield, Botetourt Co, VA. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was seen Jan 10 at Lilypons Water Gardens, Frederick Co, MD. The continuing LINCOLN'S SPARROW was seen again from the Boardwalk at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA, with the latest sighting on Jan 15. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was seen Jan 16 at the Occoquan Bay NWR, Woodbridge, Prince William Co, VA; it was with a flock of Song Sparrows at the end of Easy Rd. at the junction with Deep Hole Point.


This week's report was based on reports on the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers, and eBird records.

The Audubon Sanctuary Shop (301-652-3606, http://anshome.org/shop) is an excellent source for guidebooks and many other nature-related titles.

To report bird sightings, e-mail your report to voice@anshome.org. Please post reports before midnight Monday, identify the county as well as the state, and include your name and a Tuesday morning contact, e-mail or phone.

Thank you for your interest, and enjoy the birds.

*Of interest to the applicable state records committee

Reporting Guidelines

The Voice of the Naturalist is written and recorded on Tuesday mornings. If you email your reports, please email voice@anshome.org, by Monday midnight to make sure they are received in time.

Reports prior to the preceding Tuesday will not be considered.

The area covered is (with rare exceptions) DC, MD, VA, and southern DE; all other reports should be sent to the appropriate rare-bird alert for the area in which the birds were observed.

Be sure to report only those birds that you actually saw, not ones that someone else told you about.

And please remember to include a phone number where you can be reached on Tuesday morning; if you can't be reached to verify a rare bird, your report will almost certainly not be used.

There are two main circumstances in which a bird sighting will not be reported on the Voice as a matter of policy. The first is if the report would jeopardize the bird's welfare:

Reports of species that are threatened or endangered at the state or federal level are generally not used, especially during nesting season--local Loggerhead Shrikes are an example; similarly, owls are not listed, with two exceptions--Snowy Owl and Short-eared Owl; and rails are also generally not mentioned; the rails at Huntley Meadows Park, VA, are an exception because birders stay on the boardwalk.

The second circumstance concerns private property: If the property owner does not want birders, the sighting will not be reported--at least in a way that identifies the location.

Please keep your reports concise (no lengthy trip reports, please), and provide the following information:


NUMBER of individuals of each species (estimates for big flocks are fine).

Age and sex, if relevant (important for gull observations, for example).

Location, including COUNTY and STATE (there are four Middletowns in MD).

DATE of observation ("today", "yesterday", "Saturday", etc., are not as helpful).

TELEPHONE NUMBER where you can be reached on Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

DIRECTIONS to little known places (your favorite local hot spot may not be familiar to the Voice compiler or to other nonlocal people); page numbers and map coordinates from the DeLorme atlas/gazetteer are extremely helpful.

Access limitations, if any; and, for birds that are on private property, whether the owner does not want birders, if you know.

Unusual behavior seen.

For RARITIES, a description of features YOU ACTUALLY SAW (not what is in the field guides).

Thanks in advance for your reports. You can be sure that they will be read. Don't be disappointed if your sighting isn't mentioned; when there are a lot of reports, summary comments sometimes have to be made. There are times, however, when every report is used in writing the Voice, for example, during the hot days of summer. -- Voice of the Naturalist


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