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Voice of the Naturalist

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February 21, 2017
MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle

voice@anshome.org
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 (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, February 14, and was completed on Tuesday, February 21 at about 1:00 p.m.

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).

TOP BIRDS THIS WEEK: BARROW'S GOLDENEYE* in MD, DOVEKIE* in VA and WESTERN TANAGER * in VA.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST: waterfowl, RING-NECKED PHEASANT, NORTHERN BOBWHITE, grebes, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, SANDHILL CRANE, AMERICAN AVOCET, plovers, sandpipers, RAZORBILL, gulls, GREAT CORMORANT, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, hawks, SHORT-EARED OWL, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, TREE SWALLOWS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH, EVENING GROSBEAK, SNOW BUNTING, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, sparrows, PAINTED BUNTING and blackbirds.

TOP BIRDS

The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE* continued to be seen at the Elms Environmental Education Center, St. Mary's Co, MD, with the most recent sighting on February 18. If looking for this bird, do not drive in, but park in the hunter's parking lot before the gate and walk about a mile to the bay, then several hundred yards to the north.

A DOVEKIE* was at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA on February 17.

A WESTERN TANAGER was at Settler's Mill, James City, VA on February 17, 19 and 20.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST

Numbers of waterfowl on local ponds increased this week. High counts included: 10 species on Oxbow Lake NP, Anne Arundel Co., MD; 12 species at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co., VA and 10 species at Occoquan Bay NWR, Prince William Co., VA all on February 19.

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, ROSS'S GEESE and CACKLING GEESE were observed throughout the region during the week. A SNOW GOOSE was at Black Hill Regional Park, Montgomery Co., MD on February 18. A BRANT was at Big Water Farm (private) on February 17 and another BRANT was at Wye Island on February 19, both in Queen Anne's Co., MD. The continuing TRUMPETER SWAN at Lake Churchill in Germantown, Montgomery Co., MD, was seen again on February 18, 19 and 20. Four TRUMPETER SWANS were at Gold Mine Marsh, Louisa Co., VA during the week. Two TRUMPETER SWANS were in Upperville, Fauquier Co., VA on February 15.

EURASIAN WIGEONS and REDHEADS were present in low numbers but many areas during the week. Three hundred eighty-five RING-NECKED DUCKS were at Kringold Park, Carroll Co., MD on February 15. A KING EIDER was seen at the CBBT, Island #4, Northampton Co., VA on February 18 and 19. A COMMON EIDER was at Point Lookout SP, Saint Mary's Co., MD on February 19. Nine HOODED MERGANSERS were at Lake Kittamaqundi, Howard Co.,MD on February 14.

A RING-NECKED PHEASANT was on Sycamore Landing Road, Montgomery Co., MD on February 19. Three NORTHERN BOBWHITES were at Cedarville State Forest Pond, Charles Co., MD on February 15.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was at Buckroe Beach, Hampton, VA seen during the week. A RED-NECKED GREBE was at Blockhouse Point, Montgomery Co., MD on February 15, One to two RED-NECKED GREBES were at Loch Raven Reservoir, Baltimore Co., MD on February 18. An EARED GREBE was at Black Walnut Point, Talbot Co., MD on February 20.

A RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was in the Wildwood Neighborhood, Saint Mary's Co., MD on February 14, 16, 17 and 18.

Three SANDHILL CRANES were at Augustine WA, New Castle Co., DE on February 15. Three SANDHILL CRANES were at Abrams Creek Wetland Preserve near Winchester, Frederick Co., VA on February 17. A SANDHILL CRANE was at Hare Valley, Northampton Co., VA on February 19. Three SANDHILL CRANES were at Patuxent WRC (closed area), Prince George's Co., MD on February 19. Two SANDHILL CRANES were at Algonkian NP, Loudoun Co., VA on February 18 and 20. Two more SANDHILL CRANES were at Green Springs NHLD, Louisa Co., VA on February 19 and 20. A SANDHILL CRANE was at the C&D Canal, Reedy Point, New Castle Co., DE on February20.

On February 16, 37 AMERICAN AVOCETs were at Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA.

Two to five BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were at Blackwater NWR, Dorchester Co., MD on February 17, 18 and 19. Five SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were at Herrington Harbor, Anne Arundel Co., MD on February 18.

A SPOTTED SANDPIPER was at the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterway Historic Park, Chesapeake, VA on February 19. A MARBLED GODWIT was at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co., VA on February 19. At least four AMERICAN WOODCOCK were at the Huntley Meadows Hike and Bike Trail, Fairfax Co., VA on February 19. Four WILLETS were at the Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co., MD on February 14. Six WILLETS were at the Castaways Campground, Worcester Co., MD on February 19.

A RAZORBILL was observed in the Fort Monroe area near Richmond, VA on February 19. A RAZORBILL was at Buckroe Beach on February 17 and two were at Fort Monroe on February 18 and 19, both sightings in Hampton, VA. One to five RAZORBILLS were at Indian River Inlet, Sussex Co., DE on February 17, 18, 19 and 20.

A BLACK-HEADED GULL was at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co., VA on February20.An ICELAND GULL was at Mariner Point Park, Harford Co., MD on February 14, 18 and 19. A GLAUCOUS GULL was at the CBBT, Thimble Island, Virginia Beach, VA on February 18. Another GLACOUS GULL was at James River Park, Richmond, VA on February 18.

On February 14, a GREAT CORMORANT was at Craighill Channel Lower Range Front Lighthouse and another was at North Point SP, both in Baltimore Co., MD. Another GREAT CORMORANT was at Smallwood SP, Charles Co., MD on February 15. Two GREAT CORMORANTS were at Fox Point SP, Sussex Co., DE on February 17.

An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was at Cox Point Park, Baltimore Co., MD on February 17. As many as 22 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were at Hog Island WMA, Surry Co., VA on February 17 and 19.

A BALD and a GOLDEN EAGLE were observed together from SR80 in Russell Co., VA between Honaker and Rosedale on February 16. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was seen at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Prince George's Co., MD on February 17. A GOLDEN EAGLE was at Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co., DE on February 18. A GOLDEN EAGLE was spotted from Fork Neck Road about 1.9 miles west of Drawbridge Road, Dorchester Co., MD on February 19. Two GOLDEN EAGLES were at the Gleason Hill Hiking Trail, Garrett Co., MD on February 20. Another GOLDEN EAGLE was at Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Talbot Co., MD on February 20.

A SHORT-EARED OWL was at Konterra Drive in Prince George's Co., MD on February 16, 18 and 20.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER S flooded into the region with many sightings during the week.

A NORTHERN SHRIKE continued at Sully Woodlands in Fairfax Co., VA on February 18.

TREE SWALLOWS also found our area to their liking with many reports. The high count was 15 to 20 at Sandy River Reservoir, Prince Edward Co., VA on February 17.
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES also appeared in many places in low numbers during the week.

Three BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCHES were seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blandy Road, Roanoke, VA on February 15. A BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH was at Southern Park, Charles Co., MD on February 18. Thirteen BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCHES were at Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Historic Park, Chesapeake, VA on February 19.

An EVENING GROSBEAK was at Avenue's Field, Prince Edward Co., VA on February 16.

Twenty SNOW BUNTINGS were at Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA on February 16. Eight to eleven SNOW BUNTINGS were at Grandview NP, Hampton, VA on February 19. Nineteen SNOW BUNTINGS were at Fort Monroe, Hampton, VA on February 20. A SNOW BUNTING was at Point Lookout SP, Saint Mary's Co., MD on February 17, 18, 19 and 20.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Masonville Cove, Baltimore Co., MD on February 15. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (Horsehead), Queen Anne's Co., MD on February 18. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co., DE on February 18. Another ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Blandair, Howard Co., MD on February 19. Still another ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Prime Hook NWR, Sussex Co., DE on February 19.

A field trip to BARC, Prince George's Co., MD on February 17 encountered 3 sparrow species ; BAIRD'S, LINCOLN'S and WHITE-CROWNED. AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS were observed at several locations including: three at Middle Run NA, New Castle Co., DE on February 14; one to two at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co., DE on February 15 and 16; as many as 13 at Irvine Nature Center, Baltimore Co., MD on February 17 and 19 and one at Patuxent Research Refuge, Anne Arundel Co., MD on February 18. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was at Big Water Farm (Private), Queen Anne's Co., MD on February 15 and 20. A VESPER SPARROW was at Swan Harbor Farm Park, Harford Co., MD on February 18. A VESPER SPARROW was at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co., MD on February 19. Birders could hardly avoid stepping on FOX and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS they were so numerous. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was at Occoquan Bay NWR, Prince William Co., VA on February 18, 19 and 20.

A PAINTED BUNTING was at Cyprus Point, Virgina Beach, VA on February 16.

A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was at Langley AFB, Hampton, VA on February 19. Another YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was at the Delaware Wild Lands, Staveland Road, New Castle Co., DE on February 14, 16, 18 and 20. A smattering of RUSTY BLACKBIRDS was seen throughout the area. One to two BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS were at Breeze Farms, Virginia Beach, VA on February 18 and 19. A BALTIMORE ORIOLE was at Lasting Light Way, Howard Co., MD on February 16, 17 and 18. Another BALTIMORE ORIOLE was at Stonewall Estates, Louisa Co., VA on February 18 and 19.

***

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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