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Voice of the Naturalist

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May 2, 2017
MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle

voice@anshome.org
Gerry Hawkins
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 This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. 

Information on noteworthy birds during this week 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).

This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting Tuesday, April 25 and was completed on Tuesday, May 2 at 5:45 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 bird this week was RUFF in DE and MD.

Other birds of interest this week included SNOW and CACKLING GEESE, GREATER SCAUP, SURF, WHITE-WINGED and BLACK SCOTERS, LONG-TAILED DUCK, TRUMPETER SWAN, NORTHERN BOBWHITE, RED-NECKED GREBE, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, COMMON GALLINULE, SANDHILL CRANE, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, STILT and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, PARASITIC and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS, GULL-BILLED TERN, ANHINGA, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, AMERICAN and LEAST BITTERNS, TRICOLORED HERON, WHITE and GLOSSY IBIS, MISSISSIPPI KITE, LOGGERHEAD and NORTHERN SHRIKES, SEDGE WREN, SWAINSON'S, MOURNING, CERULEAN and CANADA WARBLERS, CLAY-COLORED and LINCOLN'S SPARROWS, DICKCISSEL and BOBOLINK.

TOP BIRD

On April 27 and 29 birders enjoyed watching and photographed a RUFF in the headquarters area at Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE. A RUFF also was reported on Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD on April 28.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST

On April 26 an injured SNOW GOOSE was observed at Byrd Park and nearby Pocomoke River SP-Shad Landing in Worcester Co, MD. A continuing CACKLING GOOSE at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (Horsehead) in Queen Anne's Co, MD was most recently seen on April 30. Lingering waterfowl also included small numbers of most migratory duck species. Noteworthy sightings included a singe CANVASBACK at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (Horsehead) in Queen Anne's Co, MD on April 27; a LONG-TAILED DUCK at the North Beach marsh in Calvert Co, MD on April 30; and small numbers of LONG-TAILED DUCKS and SURF, WHITE-WINGED and BLACK SCOTERS among other ducks at Poplar Island in Talbot Co, MD on April 26. Noteworthy inland waterfowl included 1-2 GREATER SCAUP at Violette's Lock on the C&O Canal in Montgomery Co, MD on April 29 and 30, and a SURF SCOTER at this location on April 28.

Two TRUMPETER SWANS were seen at the Owensville Road pond in Anne Arundel Co, MD on April 26, and a continuing TRUMPETER SWAN was at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Anne Arundel Co, MD on April 27.

The Chester River Field Research Center (Chino Farms)(restricted access) in Queen Anne's Co, MD is one of the most reliable locations in the reporting area for NORTHERN BOBWHITES, with a high of eight individuals reported there on April 26. NORTHERN BOBWHITES also continue to be regularly encountered at Bombay Hook NWR in Kent Co, DE, particularly around the Visitors Center and Allee House.

On April 26 a late RED-NECKED GREBE visited Lake Frederick in Frederick Co, VA.

Migrating cuckoos included BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS at several locations, including along Aquasco Farm Road in Prince George's Co, MD on April 27; C&O Limekiln Road in Washington Co, MD on April 27; Woodlawn Wildlife Area in Cecil Co, MD on April 28; Beverly Farms Park in Montgomery Co, MD on April 29; Ivy Creek Natural Area in Albemarle Co, VA on April 30; Fort Dupont Park in Washington, DC on April 28; and Rock Creek Park-Maintenance Yard in Washington, DC on April 30.

Two pairs of COMMON GALLINULES were found during a survey of Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on April 26.

On April 29 a likely continuing SANDHILL CRANE was seen along Orendorf Road in Garrett Co, MD.

Breeding WILSON'S PLOVERS have returned to Wallops Island in Accomack Co, VA, with three individuals reported on May 1. A high of four BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were counted at the Patton Turf Farm in Montgomery Co, MD on April 26 and 27. A small number (1-2) of early STILT SANDPIPERS were found at several locations, including Swan Harbor Farm Park in Harford Co, MD on April 26 and 30 and May 1; Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on April 26; Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD on April 28; Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co, DE on April 28; and Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE on April 30. A single WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was reported along Route 213 south of Redner's in Cecil Co, MD on April 29; on Hart-Miller Island in Baltimore Co, MD on May 1; and on Hog Island WMA in Surry Co, VA on April 30; and 1-2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were found at Swan Harbor Farm Park in Harford Co, MD on April 30 and May 1. A WILSON'S PHALAROPE was spotted during the weekly survey of the Craney Island Disposal Area in Portsmouth, VA on April 27.

A PARASITIC JAEGER was reported chasing gulls off Rehoboth Beach in Sussex Co, DE on April 30, and single PARASITIC and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS were reported (with photos) in DE waters from the Lewes-Cape May Ferry on the same day.

GULL-BILLED TERNS continued to return to the southeastern Virginia coastal plain, with sightings including two individuals at the Craney Island Disposal Area in Portsmouth on April 27; four individuals at the Grandview Nature Preserve in Hampton on April 29; and eight individuals at Fort Monroe in Hampton on April 29.

An ANHINGA was seen at the Stumpy Lake Natural Area in Virginia Beach, VA through May 1, and two ANHINGAS were found there on April 29. Two ANHINGAS also were found at the Carson Wetland in Prince George Co, VA on April 29.

On April 30 a single AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was photographed in flight above Hog Island WMA in Surry Co, VA.

Continuing AMERICAN BITTERNS were encountered at Black Marsh in Baltimore Co, MD on April 25 and Bles Park in Loudoun Co, VA on April 25 and 30. An AMERICAN BITTERN also was encountered at a closed bridge over Catoctin Creek on Poffenberger Road in Frederick Co, MD on April 27; a vernal pool in the campground section of Cabin John Park in Montgomery Co, MD on April 27; Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project in Loudoun Co, VA on April 26 and 29; Broadlands Wetlands Nature Preserve in Loudoun Co, VA on April 27; and Bombay Hook NWR-Refuge Headquarters in Kent Co, DE on April 29. In addition, two AMERICAN BITTERNS were unexpectedly seen together at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Prince George's Co, MD on May 1. Encounters with the elusive LEAST BITTERN included a continuing individual at Hughes Hollow in Montgomery Co, MD on April 25-28 and 30, 1-2 calling individuals at Dick Cross WMA in Mecklenberg Co, VA on April 27 and 29; and two calling individuals at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Anne Arundel Co, MD on April 27.

On April 27 a TRICOLORED HERON was photographed at Beverly-Triton Beach in Anne Arundel Co, MD.

On April 27 38 WHITE IBIS were observed flying past the College Creek Hawkwatch in James City Co, VA. Ten GLOSSY IBIS were at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Mary's Co, MD on April 27, and 1-2 GLOSSY IBIS were found at Swan Harbor Farm Park in Harford Co, MD on April 30 and May 1.

Raptor highlights included two early migrating MISSISSIPPI KITES at the Smith Farm in Lunenburg Co, VA on May 1.

Two continuing LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES at the Smith Farm in Lunenburg Co, VA were seen most recently on May 1. A NORTHERN SHRIKE* that has been present at the Sully Woodlands in Fairfax Co, VA since late October 2016 was seen most recently on April 29.

On April 26 a SEDGE WREN was heard and briefly seen doing a display flight at the woodcock meadow by the hike-bike trail in Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA. A SEDGE WREN also was found at Franklin Point SP in Anne Arundel Co, MD on April 28.

Birders enjoyed encounters with the expected migratory warbler species throughout the reporting area. These included SWAINSON'S WARBLERS, which continued to arrive in the Great Dismal Swamp NWR in the southeastern coastal plain of VA, the only place where this species is known to regularly breed in the reporting area. Perhaps the most unlikely warbler report during the week was a MOURNING WARBLER heard singing in overgrown vegetation in the front yard of a residence on Alton Place in Washington, DC on May 1. Individual CERULEAN WARBLERS were encountered at several locations, including Milford Mill Park in Baltimore Co, MD on April 25 and 26; Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore Co, MD on April 30; Susquehanna SP in Harford Co, MD on April 27 and 28; Fort Dupont Park in Washington, DC on April 28 and 29; and Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC on April 28 and 30. An early CANADA WARBLER was found long Big Run Road in Garrett Co, MD on April 29.

Continuing CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS at Big Water Farm (private) in Queen Anne's Co, MD and 103 Exeter Court in James City Co, VA were most recently seen on April 28 and 30, respectively. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW also was seen near the playground at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park in Montgomery Co, MD on April 27 and 29. Two VESPER SPARROWS were found near 2398 East Ruhl Road in Baltimore Co, MD on April 25 and May 1. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was seen at Rock Creek Park-Grosvenor in Montgomery Co, MD on April 30; Occoquan Bay NWR, Prince William Co, VA on April 29; along the hike and bike trail at Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax Co, VA on April 30; and in brush along Lake Royal in Fairfax Co, VA on May 1.

An early male DICKCISSEL was photographed at Mainland Farm in James City Co, VA on April 30, and two DICKCISSELS were photographed at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Prince George's Co, MD on May 1.

Migrating BOBOLINKS became increasingly conspicuous during the week, with high counts of 60 individuals at Mainland Farm in James City Co, VA on April 30; 57 individuals at the Fort Smallwood Park Hawkwatch in Anne Arundel Co, MD on April 29; 50 individuals near the intersection of Sheep and Beaver Dam Roads in Prince George's Co, MD on May 1 and 50 individuals at Staunton River Battlefield Park, Halifax Co, VA on April 29.

***

This 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, either e-mail or phone.

Thank you for your interest, and enjoy the birds.

*Of interest to the applicable 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:

Full SPECIES NAME.

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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