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Voice of the Naturalist

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September 13, 2016
MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle

voice@anshome.org
Gerry Hawkins
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, September 6 and was completed on Tuesday, September 13 at 8:15 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 top bird this week was CRESTED CARACARA* in DE.

Other birds of interest this week included SNOW GOOSE, TRUMPETER and TUNDRA SWANS, CANVASBACK, REDHEAD, GREATER SCAUP, SURF SCOTER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, COMMON GALLINULE, SANDHILL CRANE, BLACK-BELLIED, AMERICAN and PIPING PLOVERS, HUDSONIAN and MARBLED GODWITS, BUFF-BREASTED, BAIRD'S and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, WILSON'S, RED-NECKED and RED PHALAROPES, BONAPARTE'S GULL, LEAST and BLACK TERNS, LITTLE BLUE HERON, WHITE IBIS, LONG-TAILED JAEGER, BLACK-CAPPED PETREL, CORY'S and AUDUBON'S SHEARWATERS, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, MISSISSIPPI KITE, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, GOLDEN-WINGED, CONNECTICUT, MOURNING and CERULEAN WARBLERS, LARK SPARROW and SUMMER TANAGER.

TOP BIRD

On September 10 an out-of-range CRESTED CARACARA* was well photographed in flight at the Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch in Sussex Co, DE.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST

A continuing SNOW GOOSE was most recently seen at Sunset Lakes Pond in Worcester Co, MD on September 8.

A TRUMPETER SWAN continues at Lake Churchill in Montgomery Co, MD and the stormwater pond on the east side of the Broken Land Parkway exit off Route 29 in Howard Co, MD, with the latest sightings on September 9 and 11, respectively. On September 10 a TUNDRA SWAN was seen again at Hurlock WWTP, Dorchester Co, MD.

The presence of AMERICAN WIGEON, NORHTERN SHOVELERS, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, GREEN—WINGED TEAL and other dabbling ducks at several locations indicated the early stages of waterfowl migration. Noteworthy dabbling ducks included an AMERICAN WIGEON spotted at some distance at Battery Island, Harford Co, MD on September 12. Noteworthy diving ducks included an early CANVASBACK off Concord Street in Havre de Grace, Harford Co, MD on September 7; a REDHEAD, a GREATER SCAUP and three SURF SCOTERS off Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on September 9; a continuing REDHEAD at Dyke Marsh WP, Fairfax Co, VA on September 10 and 11; and a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER at Jamestown Island, James City Co, VA on September 9.

On September 7 a male and a purported female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD were photographed at a residential feeder in Five Lakes, New Kent Co, VA.

On September 11 two immature COMMON GALLINULES made a rare appearance in DC waters across from the Washington Sailing Marina in Alexandria, VA. Sightings of COMMON GALLINULE also included one individual at Dyke Marsh WP, Fairfax Co, VA on September 10, 1-2 individuals at Perryville Community Park, Cecil Co, MD on September 7, 9 and 12 and two individuals on Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD on September 12.

Two summering SANDHILL CRANES were seen again along 238-252 Kiddsville Road in Augusta Co, VA on September 6, 10 and 11.

Through Sunday, September 11 DC birders had exceptional opportunities to increase their shorebird lists by examining hydrilla mats in the Potomac River betweeen Hains Point and the Wilson Bridge. At least 15 shorebird species were seen, including BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER.

Sightings of AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER during the week also included four individuals at Dyke Marsh WP, Fairfax Co, VA on September 6; 2-3 individuals at the Woodward Turf Farm or nearby in Culpeper Co, VA on September 7-9 and 11; four individuals at the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA on September 8; two individuals on the North Wash flats at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on September 9; and two individuals at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, St. Mary's Co, MD on September 11. On September 12 three PIPING PLOVERS were found on the ocean side of The Point at Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co, DE. Highlights of the weekly survey of the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA on September 8 included a HUDSONIAN GODWIT next to a single MARBLED GODWIT. Inland there were several noteworthy shorebirds at Staunton River SP in Halifax Co, VA, including a PIPING PLOVER*, a RED KNOT*, a continuing WHIMBREL*, two BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS, a high of six BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS, two continuing WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS*, two SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a Western WILLET. Each of these birds was seen most recently on September 11, or September 10 in the case of the WHIMBREL. Sightings of BAIRD'S SANDPIPER also included two individuals at the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA on September 8; two individuals by a small farm pond on Western View Road in Rockingham County, VA on September 10 and 11; two individuals at Tom's Cove in Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on September 11; and two individuals at the Woodbury Road Sod Farm in King William Co, VA on September 11. The high counts of BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER during the week were a high of six individuals at the Woodbury Road Sod Farm in King William Co, VA on September 7, 9, 10 and 11; seven individuals at the Murray Sod Farm in Worcester Co, MD on September 10; and six individuals at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, St. Mary's Co, MD on September 11.

All three phalarope species were present in good numbers at the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA on September 8, likely as a result of recent Hurricane Hermine. The totals were 11 WILSON'S PHALAROPES, a whopping 244 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and four of the highly pelagic RED PHALAROPE. A WILSON'S PHALAROPE also was seen at Swan Creek Wetland – Cox Creek, Anne Arundel Co, MD on September 6. Two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were seen again off Dyke Marsh WP, Fairfax Co, VA on September 6-11, and one RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was seen at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on September 9. A RED PHALAROPE was seen again at Grandview Nature Preserve, Hampton, VA on September 6 and 7.

A BONAPARTE'S GULL was spotted at Battery Island, Harford Co, MD on September 12. On September 9 and 11 two late LEAST TERNS were observed along Figgs Landing Road in Worcester Co, MD. Several BLACK TERNS were seen in DC waters between Hains Point and the Wilson Bridge and in VA waters just south of this bridge from Dyke Marsh WP, Fairfax Co, VA, with the latest sightings on September 11.

A juvenile LITTLE BLUE HERON was seen inland at the Woodward Turf Farm in Culpeper Co, VA most recently on September 10. Inland 1-2 WHITE IBIS were seen again at Staunton River SP, Halifax Co, VA on September 6 and 10, and two WHITE IBIS were seen in Rocky Gorge Reservoir from Brown's Bridge Road in Howard Co, MD on September 11 and 12. Two WHITE IBIS also were seen along Cods Road in Sussex Co, DE on September 8, and one WHITE IBIS was seen at Hog Island WMA, Surry Co, VA on September 10.

Highlights of a Brian Patteson-led pelagic trip out of Virginia Beach, VA on September 10 included LONG-TAILED JAEGER, RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, BLACK-CAPPED PETREL*, CORY'S and AUDUBON'S SHEARWATERS and WILSON'S STORM-PETREL.

Breeding and migratory MISSISSIPPI KITES were observed at several locations in central and southern Virginia, including 1-2 individuals along Wolf Trap Road in Halifax Co, VA on September 7-10; two individuals above a residential yard in Dinwiddie Co, VA on September 10; 1-2 individuals at Jones Memorial Park and other locations in Virginia Beach, VA on September 8 and 9; and a high of three individuals at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch in Waynesboro, VA on September 9 and 10. The highly synchronous southbound migration of BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, which essentially engage in a race with the sun as the daylight that produces the thermals that power their migration decreases, slowly became more evident at area hawk watches later in the week, with a high of 127 individuals at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch in Waynesboro, VA on September 9.

An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was reported at many locations, including Soldiers Delight NEA, Baltimore Co, MD on September 7; Violette's Lock on the C & O Canal in Montgomery Co, MD on September 8; Marian Avenue in Anne Arundel Co, MD on September 8; Goose Creek at Kephart Bridge Landing, Loudoun Co, VA on September 8; Northern Virginia 4-H Educational & Conference Center, Warren Co, VA on September 9; Susquehanna SP, Harford Co, MD on September 10; and along the Woodland Trail at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on September 11.

A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was reported at Schoolhouse Pond, Prince George's Co, MD on September 6 and in woods around Silver Lake in Prince William Co, VA on September 12.

The several encounters with RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES in the reporting area included two individuals at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA on September 7 and 9 and suggest an irruptive winter for boreal songbirds.

Early migratory songbirds also included a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH and a SWAINSON'S THRUSH at Matoaka Lake and Woods in Williamsburg, VA on September 8 and 9, respectively.

Early finches included a PURPLE FINCH that was banded and observed at Chino Farms – Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory, Queen Anne's Co, MD on September 6, 7, 8 and 12.

Warbler highlights included a male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Myrtle Grove WMA, Charles Co, MD on September 12. The highly desired CONNECTICUT WARBLER was reported at Monticello Park, Alexandria, VA on September 7; Patapsco Valley SP, Howard Co, MD on September 7: Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD on September 9, 11 and 12; Governor Bridge Natural Area, Prince George's Co, MD on September 9 and 11; along Gymnocladus Way (private) in Calvert Co, MD on September 11; and Elk Neck SP – Turkey Point, Cecil Co, MD on September 12. The similar MOURNING WARBLER was photographed at Monticello Park, Alexandria, VA on September 8 and reported along Roberts Riley Road in Deal Island WMA, Somerset Co, MD on September 8. On September 9 two CERULEAN WARBLERS were seen at the Ivy Creek Natural Area in Albemarle Co, VA.

A LARK SPARROW was observed near the bike rack at the parking lot for the Life of the Marsh Trail in Assateague Island NS, Worcester Co, MD on September 9 and 11 and along Gymnocladus Way (private) in Calvert Co, MD on September 10-12.

Participants in the weekly Sunday walk at Great Falls NP in Fairfax Co, VA were pleasantly surprised to find four SUMMER TANAGERS in the picnic area.

***

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

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:

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

 

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