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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

October 28, 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, Oct 21 and was completed on Tuesday, Oct 28 at 1:00 p.m.

Top birds this week were BRANT in MD, BROWN BOOBY* in VA, and LE CONTE'S SPARROW* in VA.



A BRANT, far inland from where one would be expected, was found at Piscataway Creek—Wharf Rd in Prince George's Co, MD on Oct 25 and relocated there on the 26th & 27th.

A juvenile BROWN BOOBY* was reported Oct 25 from the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory's Baywatch Waterbird Migration survey, which is done each morning from a bluff just north of Kiptopeke on State property not open to the public.

A LE CONTE'S SPARROW* was reported at Occoquan Bay NWR, Woodbridge, Prince William Co on the 21st.


A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, a first for James City Co, VA, was found on Mainland Farm on the 26th and was relocated on the 27th; it also turned up on the 26th at Jamestown Island. TUNDRA SWANS, mostly flyovers, were also seen in a few locations. A REDHEAD was seen Oct 26 at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co, VA. Two COMMON EIDERS were seen Oct 21 and 26 at the Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co, MD. Four SURF SCOTERS were at Hanlon Park, Baltimore, MD on Oct 22 and 23. A LONG-TAILED DUCK was found Oct 24 at Terrapin Park, Stevensville, Queen Anne's Co, MD. BUFFLEHEADS turned up at a number of locations this past week.

RED-NECKED GREBES turned up at a couple of locations this past week including five on the 26th at Violette's Lock on the C&O Canal in Montgomery Co, MD. An EARED GREBE was seen Oct 23 at the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA.

An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was seen Oct 25 just near Magotha Rd, Northampton Co, VA. Another was seen the 27th at Fowler Beach, Sussex Co, DE.

A juvenile GOSHAWK flew over the Kiptopeke St Pk Hawkwatch, Northampton Co, VA on the 21st, two were counted there on the 27th and one was seen the 25th at the Cape Charles Medical Center, Northampton Co, VA. GOLDEN EAGLES were reported from a number of locations this past week. BROAD-WINGED HAWKS also continued to be seen but in much smaller numbers than earlier in the season.

A BLACK RAIL was seen Oct 21 on a farm in Locustville, Accomack Co, VA. Two KING RAILS were observed Oct 25 at the Occoquan Bay NWR, Woodbridge, Prince William's Co, VA. A VIRGINIA RAIL was seen Oct 23 at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA.

An AMERICAN AVOCET was seen at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on Oct 22 and 23. Four AMERICAN AVOCETS were found Oct 23 at the Ora Glen Stormwater Pond, Prince George's Co, MD; one was at Swan Harbor Farm, Harford Co, MD on the 27th. Numerous AVOCETS and ten MARBLED GODWITS were seen at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE, on the 21st. Six AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, ten STILT SANDPIPERS, a juvenile HUDSONIAN GODWIT, and ten MARBLED GODWITS were seen from the Shearness Pool tower, Bombay Hook on the 25th. A MARBLED GODWIT was seen Oct 21 at Sunset Park, Ocean City, MD. A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was seen Oct 25 at the Swan Creek Wetland—Cox Creek DMCF, Anne Arundel Co, MD. A WESTERN SANDPIPER was among the shorebirds found at the Hunting Creek Bridge, Fairfax Co, VA, at sunset on the 24th.

A PARASITIC JAEGER was reported flying over the ocean from the Ocean City, MD Inlet on the 25th.

Seven SANDWICH TERNS were seen Oct 25 from the Seaside Trail at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA.

A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was seen Oct 24 at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD.

A pair of COMMON RAVENS flew over Rock Creek Park, NW DC on the 27th.

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS turned up at a number of locations including two, and possibly three, at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD on the 21st and one there on the 27th; one on the 23rd along the Gwynns Falls Trail, Carroll Park, Baltimore MD; another at the Terrapin Nature Park, Queen Anne's Co, MD, on the 25th; one at Perryman Park, Harford Co, MD on the 25th & 27th; one at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, Loudoun Co, VA on Oct 25; and on the 24th at both the Irvine Nature Center, Baltimore Co, MD and at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD. One was also found on the 27th on the north end of the Rolling Meadows trail on the east side of Sky Meadows SP, Fauquier Co, VA.

A large number of sparrows turned up throughout the area this past week with one birder finding, on the 21st, 11 species in Howard Co, MD, including a VESPER SPARROW and a late GRASSHOPPER SPARROW. Ten sparrow species, including a VESPER, were found Oct 25 on a walk on the Mustang Trail Loop at the Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax Co, VA. VESPER SPARROWS were also reported from other widely scattered locations such as Harper's Ferry, Jefferson Co, WV, on the 23rd, three at the Occoquan NWR on the 25th, and in James City Co on the 27th along Treasure Island Rd, Williamsburg, VA. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen Oct 25 along Shell Rd, Assateague SP, Worcester Co, MD. Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach, VA continued to be a great location to find sparrows this past week including both NELSON'S and SALTMARSH SPARROWS. NELSON'S SPARROWS were also found in MD; there was one at Swan Creek on the 25th and three along with a SALTMARSH SPARROW at Cornfield Harbor, St. Mary's Co on the same day. A LARK SPARROW* was reported from the Rehoboth, DE, Golf Park on Oct 26. FOX SPARROWS also began showing up in the area this past week while LINCOLN'S SPARROWS continued to be seen in the area including one on the 21st and three on the 23rd at Rock Creek Park, NW DC. Three LINCOLN'S SPARROWS were seen on the east side of Sky Meadows SP on the 27th.

A DICKCISSEL was found Oct 24 along JBWS Plummer Ln, Anne Arundel Co, MD. A female DICKCISSEL was found Oct 27 at the north end of the Hayfield Trail on the east side of the Sky Meadows SP.

RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were seen at a number of locations.


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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