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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

October 13, 2015
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 (Individual $50; Family $65; Nature Steward $100; Audubon Advocate $200). The membership number is 301-652-9188, option 35; 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, October 6 and was completed on Tuesday, October 13 at 11:00 a.m.

The top birds this week are REDDISH EGRET* in MD and BELL’S VIREO* in DC.



The REDDISH EGRET* on Skimmer Island in Ocean City, Worcester Co, MD was seen again on Oct 6 but hasn’t been seen since then.

A BELL’S VIREO* was found and photographed Oct 12 at the National Arboretum in NE DC. To find this bird, park in the parking lot immediately on the right after entering the arboretum from New York Ave and search in the scrub along both sides of the chain-link fence at the real of the parking lot.


A ROSS'S GOOSE at Riverbend Park, Frederick Co, MD, was seen through Oct 9. The long-present tagged TRUMPETER SWAN* continues at Lake Churchill, Montgomery Co, MD, with a sighting on Oct 10. More and more waterfowl migrated into the area this past week including a BRANT on Oct 9 at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA, 12 on a boat trip in Northampton, and CACKLING GEESE at a few widely-scattered locations.

A GREAT CORMORANT was seen Oct 8 from the Cape Henlopen Hawkwatch, Sussex Co, DE.

A WHITE IBIS was seen Oct 11 at Bayside Point, Assateague Island NS, Worcester Co, MD; another was seen the day during the Big Sit at Kiptopeke SP Northampton Co, VA.

The Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch in Augusta Co, VA reported its first NORTHERN GOSHAWK of the season on Oct 6. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was seen Oct 11 at the Mount Pleasant Farm, Howard Co (MD) Conservancy. GOLDEN EAGLES were reported from a few of the hawk watches during the week, including one at Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co, DE and 3 at the Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch, Afton//Waynesboro, Augusta Co, VA. Another, an adult, flew over a house north of Frederick, MD on Oct 12.

Two COMMON GALLINULES were seen Oct 8 and 10at Greenfield Lake, Botetourt Co, VA. A COMMON GALLINULE was seen Oct 12 at Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD.

Ten AMERICAN AVOCETS were seen Oct 8 at the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA and 29 were at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on Oct 9 while hundreds continued at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE last week.

Among the many birds found during a survey at Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD on Oct 7 were 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, 4 HUDSONIAN GODWITS, and 3 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS. Three AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS and a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER were among the birds seen at Hart-Miller on October 12. Both HUDSONIAN and MARBLED GODWITS were seen on and off throughout the week on Skimmer Island, Ocean City, MD, with the latest report of the former on Oct 7 and the latter on October 11. MARBLED GODWITS continue at Shearness Pool, Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE, with 7 there on Oct 12 along with one HUDSONIAN GODWIT. STILT SANDPIPERS and single WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were seen at several locations this past week. A BAIRD’S SANDPIPER was seen Oct 11 on the C&O Canal, North Branch, North Branch, Allegany Co, MD.

A WILSON’S PHALAROPE was seen Oct 8 at Shearness Pool, Bombay Hook NWR. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, found Oct 7 on Leonard’s Pond on Faughts Rd north of Weyers Cave, Rockingham Co, VA, was seen throughout the week.

Two PARASITIC JAEGERS flew by the Cape Henlopen Hawkwatch on Oct 11.

A BLACK TERN was seen Oct 7 along the Jamestown Island Causeway, James City Co, VA, and the same location two had been seen earlier in the week.

A BLACK SKIMMER was seen flying over both Anne Arundel Co and Prince George’s Co, MD during a big sit in Bristol, Anne Arundel Co, MD on Oct 11.

An immature BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was found on the Wilson Mill Trail on Oct 7 in Little Bennett Regional Park, Montgomery Co, MD.

An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen Oct 7 at Beaverdam Park, Gloucester Co, VA.

PHILADELPHIA VIREOS continued to be seen at a few locations, including one reported from Leesylvania SP, Prince William Co, VA on Oct 7 and another on Oct 9 at the Swan Creek Wetland/Cox Creek DMCF, Anne Arundel Co, MD.

A vocalizing COMMON RAVEN flew over a yard Oct 12 in California, St. Mary’s Co, MD.

While warbler migration appeared to be tailing off, it popped back at the beginning of last week and then began to drop off again.  An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen Oct 6 in the maintenance yard at Rock Creek Park, NW DC.  An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was also seen Oct 11 at Hydes Road Park, Baltimore Co, MD. A CONNECTICUT WARBLER was seen Oct 6 at Bayside Point, Assateague Island NS, Worcester Co, MD. The CONNECTICUT WARBLER at Mount Pleasant Farm was seen again on Oct 7. A CONNECTICUT WARBLER was seen Oct 8 and 9 at Pleasure House Point, Virginia Beach, VA.    

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was found Oct 7 in the campground at Bayside Point, Assateague Island National Seashore, Worcester Co, MD. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was also reported from Leesylvania SP, Prince William Co, VA on Oct 7. Other CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were reported from the Mount Pleasant Farm, Howard County Conservancy, MD on Oct 8 and on Oct 11 from the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Anne Arundel Co, MD. Single VESPER SPARROWS were seen Oct 8 in the Old Trail neighborhood, Crozet, Albemarle Co, VA and on Oct 10 at the National Arboretum, NE DC. A LARK SPARROW was seen and photographed Oct 6 at the Rehoboth (DE) Golf Park. An early FOX SPARROW was seen and photographed Oct 10 at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Chantilly, Fairfax Co, VA. LINCOLN’S SPARROWS were seen at a number of locations throughout the week.

SUMMER TANAGERS continued to be seen at a few locations this week.

A DICKCISSEL was seen Oct 6 at Bristoe Station Battlefield, Prince William Co, VA. Another was seen Oct 10 and 11 from the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch, Northampton Co, VA.


This week’s report was based on reports on the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers via the ABA Internet links, and on 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 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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