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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

August 26, 2014
MD/DC/VA/DE/WV panhandle

Joe Coleman
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 starting Tuesday, August 19 and was completed on Tuesday, August 26 at 11:00a.m.

The top birds this week were WOOD STORK* in VA, NEOTROPIC CORMORANT* in MD, and during a pelagic trip in DE and MD: BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL* and LONG-TAILED JAEGER*.

Other birds of interest this week included waterfowl, ANHINGA, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, WHITE and GLOSSY IBIS, MISSISSIPPI KITE, SANDHILL CRANE, BLACK-NECKED STILT, AMERICAN AVOCET,  shorebirds, BONAPARTE'S GULL, terns, flycatchers including OLIVE-SIDED, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, PURPLE MARTIN, SEDGE WREN, warblers, sparrows including LARK, and BOBOLINK.  


Preliminary reports from a pelagic trip out of Lewes, DE this past weekend indicate that the following species were found in DE & MD waters, CORY’S SHEARWATER, GREAT SHEARWATER, AUDUBON SHEARWATER, LEACH’S STORM-PETREL, BAND-RUMPED STORM PETREL*, LONG-TAILED JAEGER*, and BRIDLED TERN.

Before it flew away to the northwest a WOOD STORK*was seen the morning of Aug 21 ata small pond NW of Berryville, Clarke Co, VA just a little south of the WV border. It was seen again and photographed early on the morning of Aug 26. The bird, which is somewhat skittish and especially so if people get out of their car, is at a pond at the intersection of CrumsChurch Rd and Old Charles Town Rd.

A NEOTROPIC CORMORANT* in the Potomac River just upstream from Violette's Lock on the C & O Canal in Montgomery Co, MD was seen again throughout the week with the most recent report from Aug 25.


SNOW GOOSE continued to be seen at a variety of locations in Delaware during the week including the one at and Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE where a TUNDRA SWAN is also continuing.

Sightings of migrant ducks unusual for this time of year included AMERICAN WIGEON, RING-NECKED DUCKS, and BLACK SCOTERS. GREATER SCAUP, LESSER SCAUP; many of these have been seen on and off during the summer.  The female KING EIDER who has been at Poplar Island was also seen throughout the week including during the survey there on the 20th.

ANHINGAS are still being seen along Blackwater Road in Chesapeake Co, VA with sightings on August 22 and 24. 

A flock of 15 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS was found Aug 22 at the Hog Island WMA, Surry Co, VA; 19 were seen there on the 24th.

The two immature WHITE IBIS that were at the small pond near the Days Inn off of Bells Ln, Augusta Co, VA were seen again throughout the week. The previously-seen immature GLOSSY IBISin Swoope at Smith’s in Augusta Co, was also seen again on Aug 21 & 23.

MISSISSIPPI KITES continued to be seen in the Thoroughgood neighborhood of  Virginia Beach, VA with sightings on Aug19 & 21. Two MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen Aug 19 at Green Springs Gardens Park, Annandale, VA. On Aug 22 a MISSISSIPPI KITE was soaring high overhead in southern Northampton Co, VA justnorth of Bull's Farm near the intersection of Seaside and Latimer SidingRds. The same day a MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen soaring over Ferry’s Neck, Talbot Co, MD. Two were seen in Chesterfield Co, VA on the 23rd and three were seen Aug 24 at the ball fields at Valley View Park, Prince William Co, VA.

A SANDHILL CRANEturned up in a yard in Chesterfield Co, VA on Aug 19.

The August 20 census of Poplar Island, Talbot Co., MD included 140 AMERICAN AVOCETS, 14 BLACK-NECKED STILTS, 78 STILT SANDPIPERS, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, 2 WILSON'S PHALAROPES, 4 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, at least 5 BLACK TERNS, and a PEREGRINE FALCON eating an unidentified shorebird.  While the numbers were different, similar species were seen during the Aug 22 trip to Poplar Island.

Three WILLETS (western), along with BLACK-BELLIED and AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were found Aug 20 at the Bristow Road Sod Farm, Prince William Co, VA; the UPLAND SANDPIPER was seen there again on August 19. An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was seen Aug 24 at the Woodward Turf Farm, Culpeper Co, VA.An UPLAND SANDPIPER was seen and photographed Aug 19 in a small grassy field off of Rte 54 near Fenwick Island, DE. As many as four MARBLED GODWITS were seen Aug 22 and 24 at Skimmer Island, Ocean City, MD. A MARBLED GODWIT was seen at the Hog Island WMA, Surry Co, VA. Three SANDERLINGS were seen Aug 23 at Violette’s Lock, C&O Canal, Montgomery Co, MD. A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was the highlight of a shorebird survey on Aug 22 at Assawoman Island, Accomack Co, VA. A SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was seen Aug 23 and 25 in DC Waters from Gravelly Point, Arlington Co, VA. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was seen Aug 24 at North Beach, Calvert Co, MD.

A BONAPARTE’S GULL was seen Aug 23 & 24 from Bush River Park, Harford Co, MD.The highlight of the Chincoteague NWR (Accomac Co, VA) shorebird survey on Aug 19 was finding nine tern species including two GULL-BILLED TERNS, 11 BLACK TERNS, and 11 SANDWICH TERNS.A GULL-BILLED TERN was seen Aug 21 at Broadkill Beach, Prime Hook NWR, DE. A BLACK TERN seen at a private pond in Culpeper Co, VA on the 21st. Sixty-four SANDWICH TERNS were seen Aug 23 at the Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve, Mathews Co, VA. A BLACK TERN was seen during the week from Bush River Park, Harford Co, MD.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were seen at a number of locations including one on the 19th on a snag behind a house in Howard Co, MD; another on the 20th & 23rd at Governor Bridge Natural Area, Prince George’s Co, MD; one on the 22nd at the Wheaton RP, Montgomery Co, MD; one on the 24th at Hughes Hollow, Montgomery Co, MD; and one on the 24th at Paper Mill Flats, Baltimore Co, MD. A OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was found Aug 24 at Fort Totten Park, NE DC, in the southern part of the park. And still another was seen Aug 25 on a snag near the beginning of the grasslands trail at the Woodlawn WMA, Cecil County. A LEAST FLYCATCHER was seen Aug 24 at the G. Richard Thompson WMA, Fauquier Co, VA.

A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen Aug 19 at the Susquehanna SP, Harford Co, MD. Another was found on the 20th at the Equitation Field at Rock Creek Park, DC. One was also at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD along Minebank Run near bluebird box #9 on Aug 22.

On August 20, an estimated 5,000 or more PURPLE MARTINS wereobserved descending into trees in the parking lot of a Walmart onPleasant Valley Rd in Winchester, Frederick Co, VA.

The SEDGE WREN at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE was seen throughout the week.

Warbler sightings increased this past week with as many as 14 species at Rock Creek Park, DC on Aug 23. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was found Aug 23 at Holt Park (at the end of Elmont Ave), Baltimore Co, MD. MOURNING WARBLERS were seen at a variety of locations including one on the 19th at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, NE DC; another was found and photographed along the Rockfish Valley Trail, Nelson Co, VA on the 22nd and one was reported from there on the 24th.

A LARK SPARROW was found Aug 19 at 668 Lighthouse Rd, near Smyrna, Kent Co, DE. A LARK SPARROW was seen Aug 22 at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA. A SEASIDE SPARROW was seen at the Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve, Mathews Co, VA, on Aug 19 & 23.

BOBOLINKS were seen on and off during the week throughout the region. 


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.

Audubon Naturalist Shop (301-652-3606, www.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 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


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