Voice of the Naturalist

Date: June 20, 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

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 https://anshome.org/.

This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting Tuesday, Jun 13 and was completed on Tuesday, Jun 20 at 8:45 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 birds this week were LITTLE EGRET in DE, WHITE-FACED IBIS in DE and MD, and FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER* in VA.



A LITTLE EGRET found at Raymond Pool, Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE on Jun 8 was most recently reported from there Jun 17.

A WHITE-FACED IBIS found Jun 13 along Green Dumpster Rd in the Deal Island State WMA, Somerset Co, MD continued to be seen this week with the most recent report from Jun 19. The one at Bombay Hook NWR was also still present through Jun 19.

A FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER* was found and photographed Jun 15 at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA and has been seen every day this week since then. It has been seen on the wires along the refuge entrance road near the Visitor Center, but has also been seen from the Boardwalk Trail and in the sand dunes between the entrance road and the ocean.


The SNOW GOOSE at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, De continued to be seen throughout the week. A SNOW GOOSE was also seen Jun 16 at Cranberry Reservoir, Carroll Co, MD.

Scoters continued to be seen in the area this past week. The SURF SCOTERS at Big Water Farm (private), Queen Anne’s Co, MD, continued throughout the week with eleven there Jun 16. Twenty-one WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were reported from the Tom’s Cove Visitor Center, Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on Jun 19. There were BLACK SCOTERS at the Ocean City (MD) Inlet on Jun 14 and both a BLACK SCOTER and LONG-TAILED DUCK at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on Jun 14. A single RED-BREASTED MERGANSER was at Big Water Farm (private) on Jun 19.                                                                                                                                                                        
A KING RAIL was observed at Piscataway Park, Prince George’s Co, MD, on Jun 16.

The COMMON GALLINULE at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co, VA was seen again as recently as Jun 17. Two COMMON GALLINULES were seen Jun 15 at Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore, MD. An AMERICAN COOT was at McCune's in the Fishersville area of Augusta Co, VA on Jun 15. Two AMERICAN COOTS were at Craney Island Disposal Area (restricted access), Portsmouth, VA on Jun 15.

Seven BLACK-NECKED STILTS were seen Jun 14 at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD; seven were also at hart-Miller Island, Baltimore, MD on Jun 15.

The shorebirds at Craney Island on Jun 15 included a RED KNOT and a DUNLIN.

The LITTLE GULL continued to be seen at Raymond Pool, Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE this past week.

A LEAST TERN was found Jun 15 at a private fishing lake near Mint Springs, Augusta Co, VA. A LEAST TERN was seen from Hains Point, SW DC on Jun 18. A GULL-BILLED TERN was reported from Fort Story, Virginia Beach, VA on Jun 14 and two were seen Jun 18 in the North Bay at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA. Two GULL-BILLED TERNS were seen Jun 17 at Shearness Pool, Bombay Hook NWR.

Four BLACK SKIMMERS were seen Jun 16 at the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, James City Co, VA.

A trip on a fishing charter in Worcester, MD pelagic waters on Jun 13 found a possible BLACK-CAPPED PETREL, 5 CORY’S SHEARWATERS, and 12 GREAT SHEARWATERS near Poor Man’s Canyon. On Jun 17 two CORY’S SHEARWATERS and 5 GREAT SHEARWATERS were seen in the Atlantic off of Assateague Island National Seashore, Worcester Co, MD. GREAT SHEARWATERS were also reported off of Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on Jun 17, 18, and 19.

A LEAST BITTERN was at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co, VA on Jun 14.

A MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen on Jun 14 along Rte 730 less than a mile west of Steel Bridge Rd, Greensville Co, VA and one flew high over Huntsman Lake, Springfield, Fairfax Co, VA on Jun 19.

A NORTHERN HARRIER was seen Jun 18 at Oaks Landfill (private), Montgomery Co, MD.

An ALDER FLYCATCHER was at the power line cut on the Norris Run Trail, Liberty Reservoir, Baltimore Co, MD on Jun 15. 

A continuing LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE at Burwells Bay Rd at Purvis Ln, Isle of Wight Co, VA was seen again on Jun 17.

A SWAMP SPARROW was seen and heard on Jun 14 at the upper pond near Fairfax County’s Government Center, Fairfax, VA. A few WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS continued to linger at feeders in the area.

DICKCISSELS and BOBOLINKS continued to be seen at a number of locations this past week.


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 Sanctuary Shop (301-652-3606, https://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, e-mail or phone.

Thank you for your interest, and enjoy the birds.

*Of interest to the 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:


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