button donate

Make a Difference

NatureTravelLogo trim

logo hh facebook twitter

 GuideStar image

Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

July 29, 2014
MD/DC/VA/DE/WV panhandle

Lydia Schindler
Audubon Naturalist Society of the
   Central Atlantic states (independent of NAS!)
Steve Cordle

Reporting Guidelines  |  Archives  |  Naturalist Sightings

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 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 beginning Tuesday, July 22, and was completed on Tuesday, July 29, at noon.

Top birds this week are *NEOTROPIC CORMORANT and CAVE SWALLOW, both in MD.



On July 22 a *NEOTROPIC CORMORANT appeared at Violette's Lock on the Potomac River in Montgomery Co, MD, and it has drawn a steady stream of viewers through July 28. It often perches near the MD shore about one-third of a mile upriver.

On July 28 a CAVE SWALLOW spent a few minutes flying over a private farm near Annapolis, Anne Arundel Co, MD.


One highlight of July 26 and 28 trips to Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD, was a continuing female KING EIDER. Five LONG-TAILED DUCKS were present July 26.

NORTHERN BOBWHITES, ever scarcer, were reported July 26 from Jefferson Co, WV, when two were calling at Shenandoah Junction, as well as from Soweto Rd, Fauquier Co, VA, on July 27. On July 22, two NORTHERN BOBWHITES were found along Long Neck Rd, St Mary's Co, MD.

Four ANHINGAS—three females and a young—were discovered July 22 at a nest in Chesapeake, VA; the nest is above a pond at 620 Blackwater Rd.

Immature LITTLE BLUE HERONS surfaced at a variety of locations, including Hughes Hollow-McKee Beshers WMA, Montgomery Co, MD, and Patuxent River Park-Wooten's Landing, Anne Arundel Co, MD.

On July 27, 2 juvenile TRICOLORED HERONS were photographed at the Nazarene Church Wetlands in Rockingham Co, VA. TRICOLORED HERON also made an appearance at Ragged Island WMA, Isle of Wight Co, VA. An immature LITTLE BLUE as well as an immature TRICOLORED were at Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD, on July 28.

Juvenile WHITE IBIS were on the move, with reports from areas as far flung as the Great Dismal Swamp NWR, Suffolk, VA, on July 23; Monroe Ave Pond in Lewes, DE, on July 25; Hughes Hollow, July 26-28; and Wooton's Landing, July 28. As many as 14 WHITE IBIS were reported from the causeway at Assateague SP, Worcester Co, MD July 27.

GLOSSY IBIS were noted at diverse locations, including in Cecil, Calvert, and Talbot Counties, MD.

A WHITE-FACED IBIS was discovered at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA, on July 27.

A very young BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was seen July 27 at McMillan Reservoir, NW DC.

Birders have been catching glimpses of YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS along Sligo Creek Parkway as well as at Hughes Hollow, both in Montgomery Co, MD.

Northern Virginia is hosting MISSISSIPPI KITES at several locations. The kites have been seen in Annandale, Fairfax Co, near the intersection of Braddock Rd and Little River Turnpike. On July 22 a MISSISSIPPI KITE nest was located July 22 in Burke, VA; the nest can be seen from Jackson St, about 100 feet west of Gaines St. (Please note this is private residential property.) And MISSISSIPPI KITES are being seen in the general area of Sturbridge Rd and Orleans St, Prince William CO.

MISSISSIPPI KITES are also frequenting a variety of neighborhoods in Virginia Beach, VA.

An unexpected BROAD-WINGED HAWK flew over Swan Creek Wetland, Anne Arundel Co, MD, on July 28.

AMERICAN AVOCETS are in season. Four breeding-plumaged birds were found at the Hunting Creek Bridge south of Alexandria, VA, July 25. On July 28, one AMERICAN AVOCET visited Swan Creek Wetlands, Anne Arundel Co, MD; three were seen at a private beach in Plum Point in Calvert Co, MD; and a whopping 92 were counted at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD.

On July 28, a MARBLED GODWIT was found at the marsh at North Beach, Calvert Co, MD. A WILSON'S PHALAROPE was reported July 23 from Truitt's Landing, Worcester Co, MD.

Two BONAPARTE'S GULLS visited Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE, on July 23. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was found July 28 at Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD.

Five BLACK TERNS, and a SANDWICH TERN, were among seven species of tern racked up during the July 28 trip to Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD. Three SANDWICH TERNS were found at Point Lookout SP, St Mary's Co, MD, on July 22. A SANDWICH TERN was noted at Prime Hook NWR, DE, on July 25.

Two AMERICAN KESTRELS were a highlight of the monthly walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northwest Loudoun Co, VA, on July 26.

CLIFF SWALLOWS were plentiful at the Oakland WWTP, Garrett Co, MD, on July 23.

A SUMMER TANAGER, an immature male with patches of yellow, was observed July 23 along the C&O towpath in Montgomery Co, MD, about one-third of a mile below Violette's Lock. A SUMMER TANAGER was reported from a yard in far NE Montgomery Co on July 25.

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://www.audubonnaturalist.org/index.php/support-ans/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 state, and include your name and a Tuesday morning contact, either e-mail or phone.

Thank you for calling, and GOOD BIRDING.

*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


return to top of page