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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

February 9, 2016
MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle

Helen Patton
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 (Individual $50; Family $65; Nature Steward $100; Audubon Advocate $200). The membership number is 301-652-9188, option 35; 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, February 3 and was completed Tuesday, February 9 at 12:45 p.m.

The top birds this week were SNOWY OWL* in DE and WESTERN TANAGER in VA.



A SNOWY OWL turned up at Dover Air Force Base in Kent Co., DE on February 7.

A WESTERN TANAGER* was observed at Settler’s Mill, James City, VA on February 4 and 6.


A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was on the polo field in West Potomac Park, DC on February 4. Two GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were on Summit Bridge Road, in Middletown, New Castle Co., DE on February 6.  A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at Pond town Road, Queen Anne’s Co., MD on February 7.

SNOW GEESE were found at several locations this past week, including: Black Marsh, Baltimore Co., MD on February 4; Millersville, Anne Arundel Co., MD on February 5 and the Baseball Diamond behind Target, Carroll Co., MD on February 8. A ROSS’S GOOSE was at a private residence in Sussex Co., DE on February 5.

Several CACKLING GEESE were seen on February 5 at the intersection of Rte. 272 and Wheatley Road near Zion in Cecil Co., MD. CACKLING GEESE showed up in Delaware at several sites, including: 6 at Augustine State WMA, and 2 at Battery Park, both in New Castle Co., on February 6 and one in Lewes on Gill’s Neck Road, Sussex Co., on February 7. At least seven CACKLING GEESE were among the 2000 CANADA GEESE at the intersection of Long Green Pike and Patterson Road, Baldwin, Baltimore Co., MD on February 8.

The longstanding tagged (M78) TRUMPETER SWAN which has been at Lake Churchill was seen at Black Hill Regional Park, Montgomery Co, MD, on February 7. A TRUMPETER SWAN was at Silver Lake, Rockingham Co., VA on February 7. A TUNDRA SWAN was at the Golf Course at Hain’s Point, DC, visible from Buckeye Road on February 3. 75 to 100 TUNDRA SWANS were in Greensboro, Caroline Co., MD at the intersection of MD313 and Greensboro Road on February 5.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen on February 6 from the Castaways Campground, Worcester Co, MD. A EURASIAN WIGEON was at the Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co., VA on February 6. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was on Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co., MD on February 8. A COMMON EIDER was at Indian River Inlet, Sussex Co., DE on February 6. A LONG-TAILED DUCK was at Battery Park, New Castle Co., DE on February 7.

A census taken at Poplar Island, Talbot Co., MD on February 8 observed 15 waterfowl species including 121 NORTHERN PINTAIL, 4 LONG-TAILED DUCK and 806 RUDDY DUCK plus 10 SHORT-EARED OWLS and a PEREGRINE FALCON.

A RED-THROATED LOON was at Augustine Beach, New Castle Co., DE on February 4 and 6.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was seen on February 6 at Ocean View Pier off 4th View Street in Norfolk, VA.

Eight NORTHERN GANNETS were feeding fairly close to shore at Poquoson, VA on February 7.

GREAT CORMORANTS were found at several sites in Queen Anne’s County, MD on February 6, including: 1 to 4 at Kent Point and 9 at Willard Point Road in Stevensville.  Three GREAT CORMORANTS were at Fox Point SP, New Castle Co., DE on February 6. Another GREAT CORMORANT was at Battery Park, New Castle Co., DE on February 7.

At least 100 AMERICAN WHTE PELICANS were at Blackwater NWR, Dorchester Co., MD on February 6. Five AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were at Hog Island, Surry Co., VA on February 7. They were visible from the road. An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was at Kiptopeke SP, Northampton Co., VA on February 7. A BROWN PELICAN was spotted across the harbor from Ft. McHenry, Baltimore CO., MD on February 5. At first, the bird was visible only from Ft. McHenry, then Masonville Cove until it flew.

Five GOLDEN EASGLES were at Blue Grass Valley & Snowy Mountain, Highland Co., VA on February 6.

Four SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co., VA on February 6. A RED KNOT was at Grandview Beach in Hampton, VA on February 6. Eight SANDERLINGS were at Swan Harbor, Dorchester Co., MD on February 7.

A BLACK-HEADED GULL was spotted just south of Grandview NP at the end of Beach Road in Grandview, VA on February 7. On February 8, the BLACK-HEADED GULL was relocated 1.5 miles west of the beach trail toward factory point. A THAYER'S GULL was seen on February 4 at North East Community Park, Cecil Co, MD.  February 6 was a good gull day in Virginia Beach, VA with several sightings:  BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE at the Bridge-Tunnel and ICELAND GULLS at Lynnhaven Inlet and Rudee Inlet. On February 4, the continuing ICELAND GULL was at Conowingo Dam on the Cecil/Harford border, MD usually in front of the dam.  An outing into Sussex Co., Delaware waters found 2 RAZORBILLS and 2 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.

A late RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD continues to visit a feeder in Norfolk, VA seen during the week.

Two to four RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were at Black Marsh, Baltimore Co., MD on February 3 through 6. One to four RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Anne Arundel Co., MD on February 4 and 6. Four RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were in a yard in Lothian, Anne Arundel Co., MD on February 5. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co., VA on February 6. More RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were at Port Republic on Hance Road, Carroll Co., MD on February 7 and at Perryville Community Park, Cecil Co., MD on February 8. The weekly Monday morning visit to Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co., VA on February 8 observed seven woodpecker species including 6 RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS and 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS.

The LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE found last week along Dry Bridge Rd about .4 miles west of Keysville Rd, Emmitsburg, Frederick Co, MD was sighted frequently during the week. A pair of LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES was on Shepherd’s Mill Road, Clarke Co., VA on February 8.

A SNOW BUNTING was with a flock of AMERICAN PIPITS and HORNED LARKS on Shriver Road, south of Harney Road, Emmetsburg, Frederick Co., MD on February 4.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was on Stockwell Road, New Castle Co., DE on February 4. A PINE WARBLER visited a private residence in New Castle Co., DE on February 5.

The LARK SPARROW at the Hughes Road Polo fields, south of Poolesville in Montgomery Co., MD, first seen a couple of weeks ago, continues with a sightings during the week. Another LARK SPARROW was at the Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA at the East Dike near the maintenance area on February 7. Two FOX SPARROWS and a WINTER WREN were in Deerfield off Tom’s Creek Road in Blacksburg, VA on February 7. A lovely FOX SPARROW visited a feeder in Colesville, Montgomery Co., MD on February 7. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was reported at Big Water Farm, Queen Anne's Co, MD, on February 6.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES were seen at a couple of different locations this past week including one at a home in Carroll Co, MD on February 4; one at a private residence in Prince George’s Co., MD on February 7 and  three at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, Prince George’s Co., MD also on February 7. One was also seen at the Blandy Experimental Farm, Clarke Co, VA .on February 4, 6 and 7.

Good Birding.


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.

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 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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