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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments,
   questions (email):  

August 23, 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, Aug 16 and was completed on Tuesday, Aug 23 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).




A WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL* was seen Aug 16 in the Shoveler Pool on the Wildlife Loop at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA. Its provenance is unknown and could be an escapee as it had a red band on its left leg.

Several exciting sightings were made during two pelagic trips this past week:

  • Among the birds seen on a pelagic trip east of the Norfolk Canyon, Northampton Co, VA on Aug 20 were 3 BLACK-CAPPED PETRELS*, 1 SOOTY SHEARWATER and 1 WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL*.

  • A MASKED BOOBY* was among the species seen on a pelagic trip in DE and MD waters on Aug 20 and 21. Other birds seen on this trip were 8 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES in DE and MD, a POMARINE JAEGER in DE and MD, BRIDLED TERN in DE and MD, CORY'S SHEARWATERS in DE and MD, a GREAT SHEARWATER in DE and 3 in MD, AUDUBON'S SHEARWATERS in DE and MD, LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS in DE and MD, and BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS* in DE and MD.


The TRUMPETER SWAN at the storm water pond on the east side of the Broken Land Parkway exit off Rte 29 in Howard Co, MD, was seen through the 23rd.

Small numbers of out-of-season ducks continued to be seen in the area during the past week. NORTHERN SHOVELERS (32), REDHEAD, GREATER SCAUP, BLACK SCOTER, SURF SCOTER (13), and a LONG-TAILED DUCK were among the ducks seen at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on Aug 16. A NORTHERN SHOVELER was seen Aug 18 from the Belle Haven Picnic Area, Fairfax Co., VA. Another REDHEAD was seen on private property on Aug 21 in King George Co, VA. The COMMON GOLDENEYE at the Berlin Treated Effluent Irrigation Facility B, Worcester Co., MD was seen again on Aug 16.

Migrating COMMON NIGHTHAWKS are beginning to turn up in the area with 7 at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, VA on Aug 20 and singles at a small number of other locations.

The two continuing SANDHILL CRANES along Kiddsville Road near Fishersville, Augusta Co, VA were seen throughout the week.

Thirty-two BLACK-NECKED STILTS, 71 AMERICAN AVOCETS, and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER were among the many shorebirds birds seen Aug 16 at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD. AMERICAN AVOCETS were seen in various numbers throughout the week at Swan Creek Dredge Containment Facility, Anne Arundel Co., MD. Two AMERICAN AVOCETS were also seen Aug 17 at Swift Creek Reservoir, Chesterfield Co, VA.

The highlights of the 9,094 individuals seen during the weekly Chincoteague NWR (Accomack Co, VA) Shorebird/Gull survey on Aug 19 were a WILSON'S PLOVER, 54 PIPING PLOVERS, 45 WHIMBRELS, and 16 RED KNOTS.

Two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were seen Aug 21 at Skimmer Island, Ocean City, Worcester Co, MD.

A HUDSONIAN GODWIT was at Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA on Aug 18. On Aug 21 two MARBLED GODWIT were at Hog Island WMA, Surry Co, VA. A STILT SANDPIPER was seen Aug 19, 20 and 21 at a pond along Oakwood Rd, Rockingham Co, VA. Five SANDERLINGS were seen flying downriver along the Alexandria (VA) waterfront on Aug 21. BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS also turned up at the Swan Creek Facility during the week with a high of 5 on Aug 19. A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was seen Aug 17 along Prime Hook Beach Rd, Sussex Co, DE. A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was seen Aug 20 at Paper Mill Flats, Baltimore Co. A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was at Pemberton Manor, Queen Anne's Co, MD on the 17th. A WILLET (Western) was seen at Swan Creek Aug 17. On Aug 16 four WILSON'S PHALAROPES were photographed at the Swan Creek Dredge Containment Facility, Anne Arundel Co., MD; while the numbers seen varied, they were there throughout the week. Both a WILSON'S PHALAROPE and a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE were seen Aug 16 at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD.

One GULL-BILLED TERN was seen at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co., DE, on August 21. One to two GULL-BILLED TERNS were seen at Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE on Aug 20 and 21. BLACK TERNS were seen in a number of locations throughout the week. Very large numbers were seen on Aug 21 with 23 flying over the Potomac off of the Washington Sailing Marina, Alexandria, VA, 68 seen from the Loch Raven Point, Baltimore Co, MD, and as many as 125 seen from Lapidum, Cecil Co, MD.

Two TRICOLORED HERONS were at Poplar Island on Aug 16.

WHITE IBIS sightings in Delaware included 40 on the pelagic trip; 3 at Prime Hook NWR, Prime Hook Beach Road, Sussex Co., DE on August 16; 4 at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co on the 17th and 5 there on the 20th; 4 on Aug 20 at Burton's Island, Delaware Seashore SP, Sussex Co; and 48 from the Lewes Marina, Sussex Co. A WHITE IBIS was seen Aug 21 at Windsor Castle Park, Isle of Wight Co, VA.

One to five MISSISSIPPI KITES were at Lee and Quincy, north of Lee Highway in Arlington on August 10. MISSISSIPPI KITES continued to be seen feeding a juvenile at 17th and Utah in North Arlington, with sightings throughout the week. A MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen Aug 16 flying over Fry's Spring Beach Club, Charlottesville, VA. Three MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen Aug 20 along Dumfries Rd, Fauquier Co, VA.

An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen Aug 17 at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Prince George's Co, MD. Another was seen Aug 18 at Pennyfield Lock, C&O Canal, Montgomery Co, MD. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was seen and heard Aug 17 at North Point SP, Baltimore, MD. A couple of LEAST FLYCATCHERS were seen this past week with 1 at Leesylvania SP, Prince William Co, VA on the 20th and another on Aug 22 at Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Co, MD.

A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen Aug 22 at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD.

An estimated 10,000+ PURPLE MARTINS were seen congregating the evenings of Aug 18 and 20 in the trees by the Walmart and adjacent Home Depot along Pleasant Valley Road in Winchester, Frederick Co, VA.

Warbler numbers, while still low, began to pick up this past week especially after the cold front went through Sunday evening. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was seen Aug 20 at Pocosin Cabin, Shenandoah NP, Greene Co, VA.

A VESPER SPARROW was seen Aug 17 at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Prince George's Co, MD.

A DICKCISSEL continued to be seen along Fowler Beach Rd at the Prime Hook NWR with the most recent sighting on Aug 20.


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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