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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; Click here to join online.
This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report was completed Tuesday, May 14, at about 10 AM.
Top birds this week are: WHITE-FACED IBIS and SWALLOW-TAILED KITE in MD, SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER in DE and VA, and BREWSTER’S WARBLER in MD.
Other birds of interest include: late ducks, MISSISSIPPI KITE, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, SORA, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, WILSON’S SNIPE, phalaropes, ARCTIC TERN, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, migrants including MOURNING and CERULEAN WARBLERS, and sparrows.
A WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen at South Point (south of Ocean City), Worcester Co MD, on May 10. On May 11, over the Soccerplex in Germantown MD (Montgomery Co), a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was spotted. Two SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERs were seen: one May 8 near the Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch (Sussex Co DE), another May 11 along the Blue Trail at Manassas Nat Battlefield Pk (Prince William Co VA). A probable BREWSTER’S WARBLER (hybrid of GOLDEN-WINGED and BLUE-WING WARBLER) was spotted at Susquehanna SP on May 9, and a definite BREWSTER’S WARBLER was seen in Amberley MD (Anne Arundel Co) on May 10.
A few late ducks are still hanging around: a REDHEAD was seen at Swan Harbor Farm Pk (Harford Co MD) on May 9, and another REDHEAD was at Rocky Gap SP (Allegany Co MD) on May 11. A single Greater Scaup was spotted May 6 & 8 at Sandy Point SP (Anne Arundel Co MD), and two GREATER SCAUP were seen May 10 at Fort Smallwood Pk (Anne Arundel Co MD). One lone LONG-TAILED DUCK was seen at Greenbury Pt, Anne Arundel Co MD, on May 7.
On May 9, two MISSISSIPPI KITEs were seen over Fort Smallwood Pk, and another MISSISSIPPI KITE was over the Masonville Cove Env. Ed. Cntr on May 11. The flow of BROAD-WINGED HAWKs over Fort Smallwood Hawk Watch has been mostly light to moderate, but it spiked on May 11, with 106 seen.
Because they are so secretive, a SORA is always fun to see, but the one spotted May 8 at Lk Artemesia, College Pk MD (Prince George’s Co) was a real surprise. Fort Smallwood hosts shorebirds also: two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERs were seen there on May 9. In SE DC, Kenilworth Pk had a WILSON’S SNIPE on May 11. Last week a few phalaropes were reported, but this week there was a major phalarope presence. RED PHALAROPEs were scattered widely over MD, and one RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was reported, at Burke Lk in Fairfax Co VA. On May 9, an ARCTIC TERN was seen at Violette’s Lock, in Montgomery Co MD, and on May 11, several ARCTIC TERNs were at Deep Creek Lk, in Garrett Co MD.
Pretty much all of the expected migrants have been reported. Of note are a PHILDELPHIA VIREO seen May13 at Sleepy Creek WMA in Berkeley Co WV, and MOURNING WARBLERs seen on May 8 along South Wind Trail of Middle Patuxent Env. Area (Howard Co MD), on May 10 in Chantilly VA (Fairfax Co), and on May 11 at Susquehanna SP. How can one have too many CERULEAN WARBLERs? Apparently that was the case on May 12 at Thompson WMA (Fauquier Co VA), when well over a dozen were dominating the ornithological landscape.
A single CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen at Trout Run WWTP, Garret Co MD, on May 11. HENSLOW’S SPARROWs are not rare in western MD, but the one heard repeatedly (but apparently never seen) in Howard Co MD off of Jennings Chapel Rd, was a surprise. A single NELSON’S SPARROW was at Truitts Landing, Worcester Co MD, on May 9 & 10, and 1-2 NELSON’S SPARROWs were reported at Box Tree Marsh, Northampton Co VA, on May 9 & 12.
Most of this week's reports have been gleaned from the VA-Bird, West Virginia Birding List, and DE-Birds list servers, and the mdbirding website.
The Audubon Sanctuary Shop (301-652-3606, http://www.anshome.org/index.php/support-ans/shop) is an excellent source for guidebooks and many other nature-related titles.
To report bird sightings, e-mail your report to voice@AudubonNaturalist.org or call 301-652-1088. 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
The Voice of the Naturalist is written and recorded on Tuesday mornings. If you email your reports, please post them to the Voice mailbox, voice@AudubonNaturalist.org, by Monday midnight to make sure they are received in time. If you wish to report non-electronically, leave your report on the ANS voice mail at 301-652-9188 x8 then option 2 or 301-652-1088, option 2.
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