Voice of the Naturalist

Date: October 17, 2017
Coverage: MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle
Reports/Comments/Questions(Email): voice@anshome.org
Compiler: Joe Coleman
Sponsor: Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic states
    (independent of NAS!)
Transcriber: Steve Cordle

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This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting Tuesday, October 10 and was completed on Tuesday, October 17 at 10:15 a.m.

Information on noteworthy birds is presented below in taxonomic order, as set forth in the American Ornithological Society Checklist for North and Middle American Birds, as revised through the 58th Supplement (July 2017).

The top bird this week was BROWN BOOBY* in MD and VA.



A BROWN BOOBY* was seen Oct 10 at the Cape Charles Coastal Habitat Natural Area Preserve, Northampton Co, VA. A BROWN BOOBY* returned to the Baltimore Harbor, MD on Oct 15 and was also seen on the 16th. It appears that a good way to see, and sometimes photograph it, is to take the Water Taxi from Locust Point.


The two long-continuing TUNDRA SWANS at Hurlock WWTP, Dorchester Co, MD were seen again as recently as Oct 14. A single REDHEAD was seen Oct 11 and 12 at Havre de Grace, Harford Co, MD.

Two SANDHILL CRANES were photographed in a corn field along MD Rte 560 (Gorman Rd) between Oakland and Gormania, Garrett Co, MD on Oct 15.

Shorebird highlights at Swan Creek Wetland-Cox Creek DMCF (restricted access), Anne Arundel Co, MD included an AMERICAN AVOCET on Oct 10 and 13; three AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS on Oct 13 and two on the 10th and 12th; and one WESTERN SANDPIPER on Oct 13. A trip to HART-MILLER Island, Baltimore Co, MD on Oct 13 found several species of shorebirds including five AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, one HUDSONIAN GODWIT, and one RUDDY TURNSTONE. Shorebird sightings in DC included as many as five continuing SANDERLINGS on the hydrilla mats in the Potomac River (DC waters) off Tide Lock Park in Alexandria, VA on Oct 10 and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER on the hydrilla mats on the 13th.

A POMARINE JAEGER was seen Oct 14 at Cape Charles Beach, Northampton Co, VA. On Oct 10 a PARASITIC JAEGER, perhaps the same one seen the day before, was observed at the Cape Charles Coastal Habitat Natural Area Preserve, Northampton Co, VA; it was seen again on Oct 13 and 15. A PARASITIC JAEGER was also seen at Rudee Inlet, Virginia Beach, VA on Oct 11.  A single PARASITIC JAEGER flew by the Cape Henlopen Hawkwatch, Sussex Co, DE on Oct 13 and two passed by it on the 14th.

Two SANDWICH TERNS were seen Oct 11 at Rudee Inlet, Virginia Beach, VA; two were also seen Oct 12 at First Landing SP, Virginia Beach, VA. A SANDWICH TERN was seen Oct 14 at Cape Charles Beach, Northampton Co, VA.

A BLACK SKIMMER was found Oct 14 at Chesapeake Beach, Calvert Co, MD; it was relocated and photographed at the North Beach Pier later that day.

During the regular weekly bird walk at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA on Oct 16 an AMERICAN BITTERN burst from its hiding place and flew over the group. A LEAST BITTERN was heard Oct 14 at Jackson Landing, Patuxent River Park, Prince George’s Co, MD; another was heard and seen the same day as it circled over the Hotel Cape Charles, Northampton Co, VA for several minutes.

Some of the highlights at the various hawk watches this past week occurred on Oct 16 when the Harvey’s Knob Hawkwatch (Roanoke, VA) counted its first NORTHERN GOSHAWK and 228 AMERICAN KESTRELS and over 400 Monarch butterflies flew by the Kiptopeke SP Hawkwatch, Northampton Co, VA. Two PEREGRINE FALCONS, possibly a mated pair, were flying together on the 16th over Silver Spring, Montgomery MD.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was seen Oct 15 at Mill Creek, Northampton Co, VA.

The three continuing LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES were seen at the Smith Farm in Lunenburg Co, VA on Oct 11. A LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was seen Oct 14 and 15 at Burwell Bay Rd and Purvis Ln, Isle of Wight Co, VA.

A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen Oct 11 and 15 at Bayside Point, Assateague Island NS, Worcester Co, MD. On Oct 12 a PHILADELPHIA VIREO was again seen in the Nature Center area of Rock Creek Park, NW DC. On Oct 14. 15, and 16 a PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen at Back Bay, NWR, Virginia Beach, VA.

A SEDGE WREN was seen Oct 13, 14, 15, and 16 at Mount Pleasant Farm, Howard Co (MD) Conservancy. A SEDGE WREN was also seen Oct 14 along the Wilson Mill Trail, Little Bennett RP, Montgomery Co, MD.

A PINE SISKIN turned up at a feeder in Virginia Beach, VA on Oct 16.

Sparrow migration continued to grow in the area with many reports from numerous locations. Highlights included reports of CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS at several locations, including one on Oct 10 at Masonville Cove, Baltimore, MD; one at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD throughout the week; one on Oct 11 at Swan Harbor Farm Park, Harford Co, MD; one at the First St Lot in Ocean City (MD) on Oct 12 and 13; and another Oct 11 at Sunset Park, Ocean City, Worcester Co, MD. In VA CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were seen Oct 13 and 14 at the Old Trail Golf Course, Albemarle Co, VA; on Oct 14 at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA; on Oct 13, 14 and 15 at Pandapas Pond Day Use Area, Montgomery Co, VA; one on the Hike/Bike Trail on Oct 14 at Huntley Meadows SP, Fauquier Co, VA; and on Oct 14 at Sky Meadows SP, Fauquier Co, VA. On Oct 10 a LARK SPARROW was seen at the Kiptopeke Hawk Watch, Northampton Co, VA. Single NELSON’S and SALTMARSH SPARROWS were seen at North Beach marsh, Calvert Co, MD on Oct 15 with the latter also seen there on Oct 14. NELSON’S SPARROWS were also seen on Oct 14 at Ragged Island WMA, Isle of Wight Co, VA; on Oct 15 along the Western Front Civil War Trail, Petersburg National Battlefield, Dinwiddie Co, VA and at the Eastern Neck NWR, Kent Co, MD. SALTMARSH SPARROWS were also seen at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Queen Anne’s Co, MD on Oct 14. LINCOLN SPARROW sightings included one at Sunset Park, Ocean City, MD throughout the week; two on Oct 13 at Sky Meadows SP, Fauquier Co, VA; two on Oct 15 at the Laurel Hill Equestrian Area, Fairfax Co, VA; and one at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA, Oct 14, 15, and 16.

Several warbler species were seen this past week with as many as 11 species at Monticello Park, Alexandria, VA on Oct 14 and 19 species in the mountains of Augusta Co (VA), on Oct 11. There were a number of sightings of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS including one Oct 12, 13, 14, and 15 at the Nature Center, Rock Creek Park, NW DC; one Oct 13 at Wheaton Regional Park, Montgomery Co, MD; one at Sandy Point SP, Anne Arundel Co, MD on Oct 13 and 15; two at the First St Lot, Ocean City, Worcester Co, MD, on Oct 11; and one on Oct 14 at the Rickman/Woodstock Equestrian Park, Montgomery Co, MD. A CONNECTICUT WARBLER was seen Oct 10 at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Prince George’s Co, MD. A CONNECTICUT WARBLER was also seen Oct 15 at Mount Pleasant Farm, Howard Co (MD) Conservancy and another on Oct 16 at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore, MD.

Two DICKCISSELS were seen Oct 12 at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch, Northampton Co, VA.

This week's report was based on reports on the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers, eBird records and various birding pages on Facebook.
The Audubon Naturalist Shop (301-652-3606, anshome.org/naturalist-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