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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments,
   questions (email):  

October 25, 2016
MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle

Joe Coleman
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, October 18 and was completed on Tuesday, October 25 at 9:30 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 birds this week were GRAY KINGBIRD in VA and CAVE SWALLOW* in VA.



A GRAY KINGBIRD showed up and was photographed at a feeder in Virginia Beach on Oct 18. Unfortunately it has not been seen since then.

A CAVE SWALLOW* was seen Oct 23 at College Creek, on the Colonial Parkway, James City Co, near Williamsburg, VA. Another was seen Oct 24 at the restricted access Fisherman Island NWR, Northampton Co, VA.


The longstanding, tagged adult TRUMPETER SWAN continues at Lake Churchill in Montgomery Co, MD, with the latest sighting on October 22. The longstanding TUNDRA SWAN was seen again at Hurlock WWTP, Dorchester Co, MD on October 22.

A REDHEAD was found on private property in King George Co, VA on Oct 23. A BLACK SCOTER was seen Oct 22 on the Sandy River Reservoir, Prince Edward Co, VA.

A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was found on Oct 21 at the South River Greenway, Waynesboro, VA.

A Selasphorus hummingbird, probably a female Rufous, visited a feeder in Inwood, Berkeley Co, WV on Oct 19 & 20.

A KING RAIL continued to be heard calling from the marshes at the restricted access Swan Creek – Cox Creek in Anne Arundel Co, MD with the most recent report from Oct 18. The COMMON GALLINULE seen Oct 15 at Wheaton RP, Montgomery Co, MD, was seen throughout the week and as recently as Oct 23. A COMMON GALLINULE was also seen Oct 19 at Greenfield Lake, Botetourt Co, VA. Another was seen Oct 21 at the West Ocean City Pond, Worcester Co, MD.

The longstanding SANDHILL CRANES along Kiddsville Road in Augusta Co, VA are still there with the latest sighting on Oct 22.

Large numbers of AMERICAN AVOCETS have returned to the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA and Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE, with 105 individuals counted during the weekly survey at the former on October 6 and a week high 300 individuals estimated at the latter on October 9. An AMERICAN AVOCET was found Oct 22 at Silver Lake in western Prince William Co, VA and seen there again on the 23rd.

A HUDSONIAN GODWIT was seen Oct 20 at Raymond Pool, Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE. Between 4 & 6 MARBLED GODWITS were seen throughout the week on and in the vicinity of Skimmer Island, Ocean City, Worcester Co, MD. Fourteen MARBLED GODWITS were seen Oct 20 and 24 at Shearness Pool, Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE along with a HUDSONIAN GODWIT on the 24th. A STILT SANDPIPER was seen throughout the week at Silver Lake, Rockingham Co, VA. A RED PHALAROPE was seen Oct 23 & 24 at Tydings Memorial Park, Havre de Grace, Harford Co, MD.

One POMARINE JAEGER and several PARASITIC JAEGER were seen at the Ocean City Inlet in Worcester Co, MD on Oct 21.

Approximately 200 WHITE IBIS were seen Oct 19 while crossing the causeway to the Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA. A GLOSSY IBIS was seen Oct 19 at the restricted access Swan Creek – Cox Creek Wetlands, Anne Arundel Co, MD.

A NORTHERN GOSHAWK and a GOLDEN EAGLE flew over the Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch in Waynesboro, VA on October 18. On Oct 23 a GOLDEN EAGLE flew over the Snickers Gap Hawkwatch, Clarke Co, VA.

The continuing LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE at was seen again on Oct 21 at Burwells Bay Rd at Purvis Ln, Isle of Wight Co, VA. A LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was seen Oct 24 in the same location in Clarke Co, VA, Featherbed Rd, about .7 miles south of Rte 340, that it was seen in earlier in the month and in Sept.

While warbler species numbers have decreased considerably due to the lateness of the season several were still seen during the past week in a variety of hotspots including YELLOW WARBLER and WILSON'S WARBLER. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER continued to be seen at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD through Oct 22. Single ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS also turned up on the 18th at the Governor Bridge NA, Prince George's Co, MD and at Lilypons Water Gardens, Frederick Co, MD. CONNECTICUT WARBLER SIGHTINGS included single individuals at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD, seen as recently as Oct 21; at Perryman Park, Harford Co, MD through Oct 19; at Fort C. F. Smith Park, Arlington Co, VA on Oct 20; and at Patterson Park, Baltimore MD on Oct 23; A MOURNING WARBLER was found Oct 18 along Doctor Patel Dr, Elkridge, Howard Co, MD.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen at several locations, including the continuing one at Sunset Park in Ocean City, Worcester Co, MD on Oct 19 & 20; one on Oct 22 at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD; one on Oct 21 & 22 at Little Island Park, Virginia Beach, VA; and one on the 23rd at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA. VESPER SPARROWS were seen Oct 20 at the Mount Pleasant Farm, Howard Co (MD) Conservancy and on Oct 22 & 24 at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Prince George's Co, MD. Two were also reported from the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, NE DC on Oct 23 with one there on the 24th. A LARK SPARROW was seen and photographed at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA on Oct 19, 22, & 23. On Oct 18 a NELSON'S SPARROW was found at Ragged Island WMA, Isle of Wight Co, VA. A GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was a nice find Oct 18 at Sully Woodlands, Fairfax Co, VA. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was also seen Oct 19 at the restricted access Swan Creek/Cox Creek Wetlands, Anne Arundel Co, MD. There was also one on the 22nd at Patterson Park in Baltimore, MD. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW visited a backyard fountain in Jefferson Co, WV on Oct 23.

An adult male PAINTED BUNTING was seen Oct 24 at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Prince George's Co, MD.

On October 8 a DICKCISSEL was seen in vegetation by the parking lot at The Point in Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co, DE. A DICKCISSEL was seen Oct 18 & 19 at Perryman Park, Harford Co, MD. A DICKCISSEL turned up and was photographed at a home in Calvert Co, MD on the 24th. This past week, on more than one occasion, single DICKCISSELS and single BOBOLINKS flew over the Kiptopeke SP Hawk Watch, Northampton Co, VA A few late BOBOLINKS were encountered in the reporting area during the week including one that was well seen and photographed Oct 19 at the Mount Pleasant Farm, Howard Co (MD) Conservancy.


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:


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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