Reports, comments, questions
|June 30, 2015
Audubon Naturalist Society of the
Central Atlantic states (independent of NAS!)
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This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting Tuesday, June 23 and was completed on Tuesday, June 30 at 8:00 a.m.
The top birds this week are BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK* in WV, RUFF* in DE, ROSEATE TERN* in VA, CRESTED CARACARA* in VA, and SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER* in MD.
Other birds of interest this week include TRUMPETER SWAN, NORTHERN BOBWHITE, WILSON’S STORM-PETREL, ANHINGA, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, WHITE and GLOSSY IBIS, MISSISSIPPI KITE, shorebirds including BLACK-NECKED STILT and WILSON’S PHALAROPE, LESSER BLACK-BACKED and GLAUCOUS GULLS, terns including LEAST, BLACK, and SANDWICH, PARASITIC JAEGER, CLIFF SWALLOW, CLAY-COLORED and other sparrows, and DICKCISSEL.
Four beautiful BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS* showed up at River Bend Park in Elkins, Randolph Co, WV, on June 28. They were not relocated the following day, though some of the river in that area is difficult if not impossible to view. As recently as May a flock of BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS had been reported in Pennsylvania.
A RUFF* (identified retroactively through photos taken June 22) was viewed numerous times at the impoundments along Broadkill Beach Road in Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE. By June 25, though, the bird was rapidly losing its “ruff,” making it harder to pick out among the scores of shorebirds and waders flooding the impoundments. Although it was not relocated on June 28, on the morning of June 29 the RUFF flew into the first impoundment on the north side of the road and foraged for about five minutes before taking off again.
A CRESTED CARACARA* was an astonishing find in Poquosan, a city in the Hampton Roads region of VA. Photographs taken June 25 at the Shady Banks Trailer Park were “blurry, …but clearly identifiable.”
On June 25 a ROSEATE TERN* was photographed at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA; it was among several other species of tern at Swan Cove.
On June 27 a SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER* was observed in Sussex Co, DE, where it was flying from power lines to the pine trees across the street. The location was the intersection of Downtown and Benum Switch roads 1.5 miles SW of Harbeson, a town that is itself east of Georgetown.
OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST
The tagged TRUMPETER SWAN at Lake Churchill, Montgomery Co, MD, was reported as recently as June 25.
Two NORTHERN BOBWHITES were encountered at Hughes Hollow, Montgomery Co, MD, on June 23, and one was heard at Figgs Landing Rd, Worcester CO, MD, June 25. A NORTHERN BOBWHITE previously noted on Long Neck Rd, St Mary’s Co, MD, was found again June 28.
A single ANHINGA was seen at Harwoods Mill Reservoir in York Co, VA, on the afternoon of June 25.
AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS continue to frequent Fowler Beach Road in Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE, with sightings daily through June 29.
On June 25 an immature WHITE IBIS flew into Broadkill Beach in the company of several GLOSSY IBIS.
MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen again along Whiton Crossing and Queponco Roads in Worcester Co, MD on June 26. Two or three MISSISSIPPI KITES were present June 26 at Burroughs Rd in Virginia Beach. And on June 24 a MISSISSIPPI KITE was noted at the intersection of 18th and Taylor Streets in North Arlington, VA.
Shorebirds are returning to the area. This week Prime Hook NWR hosted, in addition to the RUFF, at least 15 species, including a dozen RED KNOTS, a STILT SANDPIPER, and as many as 6 WILSON’S PHALAROPES. On June 25 the Broadkill Beach impoundments held a record high of 110 BLACK-NECKED STILTS.
A GLAUCOUS GULL put in a brief appearance June 25 at Masonville Cove, Baltimore Co, MD. On June 25 a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL showed up at Prime Hook’s Fowler Beach. Fowler Beach Road also showcased a BLACK TERN on June 26 and 28, as well as 4 LEAST TERNS.
On June 25 a PARASITIC JAEGER flew past the Lewes-Cape May Ferry in DE waters. On June 28 the ferry provided views of a WILSON’S STORM-PETREL as well as a SANDWICH TERN.
CLIFF SWALLOW nests discovered last week along the C&O Canal in Montgomery Co, MD, were observed again June 26 and 27; they are beneath a footbridge a short walk upstream from Lock 6, which can be accessed from the Clara Barton Parkway. On June 28 in the District of Columbia, CLIFF SWALLOWS were reported along the C&O Canal at Chain Bridge and at Fletcher’s Boathouse. CLIFF SWALLOWS were also in evidence this week at the Rte 328 bridge between Talbot and Caroline Counties, MD.
A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was discovered June 27, and seen again June 28, at Thorn Run Road and the lake, Grant Co, WV--along with multiple CHIPPING, FIELD, GRASSHOPPER, and SONG SPARROWS. On June 29 a VESPER SPARROW was singing along West Offutt Road in Montgomery Co, MD.
DICKCISSELS continue to entertain birders: along the south end of Cods Road in Sussex Co, DE; Long Neck Road in St. Mary’s Co, MD; and near the intersection of Nokesville (Rte 28) and Hornbaker Roads in Prince William Co, VA, with the latest reported sightings on June 28.
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 email@example.com. 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 good birding!
*Of interest to the records committee.
The Voice of the Naturalist is written and recorded on Tuesday mornings. If you email your reports, please email firstname.lastname@example.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:
Full SPECIES NAME.
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