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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

September 16, 2014
MD/DC/VA/DE/WV panhandle

Bob Hartman
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 was completed on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at about 10 am.

Top birds this week: SABINE’S GULL in VA, BRIDLED TERN off MD, and CRESTED CARACARA in PA.



Slightly outside our normal reporting area was a SABINE’S GULL, repeatedly seen in VA Sept 14 & 15, following a ferry between Jamestown and Scotland (Surry Co) . On a Sept 13 pelagic trip, a BRIDLED TERN was seen by many off Ocean City MD. Again outside our normal reporting area, a CRESTED CARACARA was sighted near Washington PA (Washington Co).


A few ducks seem to have arrived early: on Sept 9, two GREATER SCAUP and one LESSER SCAUP were observed at Swan Creek Wetland, Anne Arundel Co MD. Another LESSER SCAUP was reported Sept 13 along Bar Neck Rd in Talbot Co MD. On Sept 9 a KING EIDER was present on Poplar Island, Talbot Co MD.

On the Sept 13 pelagic in DE/MD waters off Ocean City MD, at least one (probably more) AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER was seen by many. At Chincoteague NWR (Accomack Co VA), a WHITE-FACED IBIS was spotted in Shoveler Pond on Sept 10.

Hawk migration is well underway. All of the inland hawk watches have reported substantial numbers of BROAD-WINGED HAWKs over the last few days, with a remarkable count of 4428 over Cromwell Valley Hawk Watch (Baltimore Co MD) on Sept 14. Although counting substantial numbers of other raptors, the coastal hawk watches have had few or no BROAD-WINGED HAWKs. Away from the hawk watches, the high count for BROAD-WINGED HAWK seems to have been 235+ on Sept 14 at Robert E. Lee Pk, Baltimore Co MD.

A possible SWAINSON’S HAWK was reported over Huntley Meadows Pk (Fairfax Co VA) on Sept 15.

Not seen, but heard loudly, were at least 100 SORA at Billingsley Marsh (Prince George’s Co MD) on Sept 13. A SANDHILL CRANE was seen in a flyover Sept 12 at Cromwell Valley Hawk Watch.

The HUDSONIAN GODWIT found last week at Pickering Creek Audubon Center (Talbot Co MD) continued Sept 9 & 12. Two more HUDSONIAN GODWITs were seen at Bombay Hook NWR (Kent Co DE) on Sept 13, and another was seen at Chincoteague NWR on Sept 14. The BAIRD’S SANDPIPER continued at C&O Canal North Branch (Allegany Co MD) on Sept 9 & 10.

A slightly early BONAPARTE’S GULL was spotted on Sept 9 at Poplar Island. Two more were at Chincoteague NWR on Sept 12. A BLACK TERN was seen at Hart-Miller Island (Baltimore Co MD) on Sept 9. A possible LONG-TAILED JAEGER was reported from Little Creek WA (Kent Co DE) on Sept 11.

The continuing immature male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was banded Sept 11-12 near Princess Anne, Somerset Co MD. Early YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERs showed up this week: on Sept 10 at Mt Nebo WMA (Garrett Co MD), on Sept 11 at Daniels Run Pk (Fairfax Co VA), and on Sept 15 in Alexandria VA. Single PHILADELPHIA VIREOs were seen: on Sept 9 in Rock Creek Pk (NW DC), on Sept 10 in Wheaton RP (Montgomery Co MD), on Sept 14 at Blue Mash Nature Trail (Montgomery Co MD) , and also on Sept 14, at Battery-Kemble Pk (NW DC).

All the expected migrating warblers were seen throughout the area, sometimes in substantial numbers. Of note were a LAWRENCE’S WARBLER (rare BLUE-WINGED/GOLDEN-WINGED hybrid) seen Sept 9 in a yard in Harrisonburg VA (Rockingham Co), and a BREWSTER’S WARBLER (less rare BLUE-WINGED/GOLDEN-WINGED hybrid) seen Sept 13 in Battery-Kemble Pk.

Slightly early LINCOLN’S SPARROWs were spotted, one Sept 12 in a yard in Woodstock VA (Shenandoah Co), another Sept 12 at Cromwell Valley Pk, and a third Sept 15 in Howard Co MD.


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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