Reports, comments, questions
|December 3, 2013
301-652-1088 option 2
Audubon Naturalist Society of the
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This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report was completed Tuesday, December 3, at noon.
Top bird this week is SNOWY OWL, seen throughout the region.
Other birds of interest include EURASIAN WIGEON and other waterfowl, GREAT CORMORANT, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, raptors including GOLDEN EAGLE, SANDHILL CRANE, gulls, RUBY-THROATED and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS, SEDGE WREN, AMERICAN PIPIT, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, SNOW BUNTING, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, sparrows, and RUSTY BLACKBIRD.
The East Coast is experiencing a blizzard of SNOWY OWLS.
In DE, SNOWY OWLS were sighted at Cape Henlopen SP starting Nov 28. On Nov 29 reports started coming from Delaware Seashore NP just north of the Indian River Lifesaving Station (at the Savage's Ditch Rd entrance), where two birds sat on the dunes by Nov 30. A SNOWY OWL was found and photographed along Port Mahon Rd outside Leipsic, Kent Co, on Nov 29. On Dec 1, another owl was sitting in stubble just south of Port Penn in New Castle Co. On Dec 2, a SNOWY OWL was entertaining birders at Bombay Hook NWR's Shearness Pool.
In MD, a ranger at Assateague Island SP, Worcester Co, spotted a SNOWY OWL on Dec 1. That same day a SNOWY OWL posed on a red tractor on private property in Talbot Co. On Dec 2, two SNOWY OWLS were visiting Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co. By Dec 3—this morning—a SNOWY OWL had shown up in the terminal area at Fort McHenry, Baltimore.
In VA, SNOWY OWL reports came from Rockingham Co on Nov 27 and from Manassas Regional Airport, Prince William Co, on Dec 1. On Nov 30 a pilot spotted a SNOWY OWL at Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Co; on Dec 2 this bird was scoped and photographed from the SW corner of the roof of parking garage #2.
In other news: A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was present at Bombay Hook on Nov 30 and Dec 1.
SNOW GEESE have arrived in numbers at Bombay Hook, as well as at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA, with a report of 3,000 by Nov 30. On Dec 1, a single SNOW GOOSE was seen at Rokeby Ponds in Loudoun Co, VA.
A ROSS'S GOOSE was reported from Prime Hook NWR on Dec 2.
On Nov 30 a BRANT joined a flock of geese flying over Rte 50 in the vicinity of Sandy Point SP, Anne Arundel Co, MD.
CACKLING GEESE were reported from numerous area locations, including Belle Haven Marina, Fairfax Co, VA; Sky Meadows SP, Fauquier Co, VA; and Black Hill RP, Montgomery Co, MD.
On Nov 30, sixteen TUNDRA SWANS flew over the Tidal Basin, SW DC.
A EURASIAN WIGEON was found at Pine Ridge Golf Club, Baltimore Co, MD, on Nov 30, along with many other ducks, including more than 100 REDHEADS. A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen at the West Ocean City pond, Worcester Co, MD, on Dec 1. There were multiple sightings of EURASIAN WIGEON at Chincoteague NWR near the Tom's Cove Visitor Center, with as many as three birds reported by Dec 1.
Two COMMON GOLDENEYE were in the mix at Piney Run Park, Carroll Co, MD, on Nov 28.
On Nov 29 a GREAT CORMORANT was observed at Conowingo Dam in MD, moving between the Harford and Cecil Co sides; it was present again on Dec 1.
AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS continued at Blackwater NWR, Dorchester Co, MD, with 26 reported on Dec 1.
The Cecil Bird Club's annual eagle count at Conowingo Dam toted up 154 BALD EAGLES on Nov 30.
On Nov 29 Kenilworth Park, NE DC, was host to nine species of raptor, including NORTHERN HARRIER and AMERICAN KESTREL.
A likely ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was observed Dec 2 at Thornton Mill Rd, north of Hunt Valley in Baltimore Co, MD. A dark morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (and 3 NORTHERN HARRIERS) were seen from the Snowy Owl observation point at Dulles Airport on Dec 2. On Dec 1 a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was reported from Roaches Run, Arlington Co, VA.
Two GOLDEN EAGLES were recorded at the Cape Henlopen hawkwatch on Nov 29. On Dec 1, a GOLDEN EAGLE was reported from Little Meadow Lake, Garrett Co, MD. On Nov 28, a GOLDEN EAGLE was seen over Woodland Beach Rd, Kent Co, DE.
A NORTHERN GOSHAWK flew over the Cape Henlopen hawkwatch, Sussex Co, DE, on November 29. An immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK was reported from a yard in Arlington, VA, on Dec 1.
A SANDHILL CRANE flew over the Potomac River from VA into MD at Violette's Lock on the C&O Canal, Montgomery Co, MD, on Nov 29.
On Nov 30 a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE was reported from the Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co. On Nov 30 the Inlet also hosted a GLAUCOUS GULL, which later in the day was found on the Bay side, near Skimmer Island.
The BLACK-HEADED GULL continued to visit the Hunt Valley Towne Center, Baltimore, MD, with the most recent report from Nov 2.
An ICELAND GULL visited The Point at Cape Henlopen SP, DE, on Nov 30.
A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was found Nov 30 at Occoquan Bay NWR, Prince William Co, VA.
The RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD in Amberly, Anne Arundel Co, MD, was banded on Nov 28 and determined to be a hatch year male; it returned to feed through at least Nov 30.
The RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD in Baltimore Co, MD was banded on November 30; it proved to be a female. A RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was still visiting a yard in North Beach, Calvert Co, MD, as of Dec 2.
A SEDGE WREN was seen Nov 30 and Dec 1 and 2 at Occoquan Bay NWR (near the Fox and Bayview trails), Prince William Co, VA. A SEDGE WREN was discovered along a saltmarsh trail at Cape Henlopen SP, DE, on Nov 29 and Dec 1.
A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was found Nov 30, along with HORNED LARKS, on Whitehall Neck Rd, Kent Co, DE.
Two SNOW BUNTINGS were present at Kenilworth Park, NE DC, on Nov 29, along with AMERICAN PIPTS and RUSTY BLACKBIRDS.
An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was spotted at Southwest Area Park, Baltimore Co, MD, on Nov 29 and relocated on Dec 1.
Two AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS were found at Alpha Ridge Park, Howard Co, MD on Nov X*, as were WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS. 20. An AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was discovered Nov 29 at Occoquan Bay NWR.
Two CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were at the Bay Side campground, Assateague Island SP, Worcester Co, MD on Dec 1.
A NELSON'S SPARROW was found at Truitt's Landing, Worcester Co, MD, on Dec 2.
This week's reports have been gleaned from the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers via the ABA Internet links, from eBird records, and from reports to ANS.
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 email@example.com 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 email firstname.lastname@example.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