Voice of the Naturalist

Date:  April 24, 2018
Coverage:  MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle
Reports/Comments/Questions(Email):  voice@anshome.org
Compiler(s):  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, April 17 and was completed on Tuesday, April 24 at 9:45 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 a WESTERN TANAGER in VA.



A WESTERN TANAGER visited backyard feeders in a yard in Pine Cv, Middlesex Co, VA throughout the week.


A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE WAS SEEN April 18 at the Nazarene Church Rd Wetlands, Rockingham Co, VA.

The TRUMPETER SWAN at Lake Albemarle, Albemarle Co, VA was seen again on April 17. Two TRUMPETER SWANS were seen April 22 in the Shenandoah River from River Rd, Clarke Co, VA.

Five SURF SCOTERS were seen April 19 in Deep Creek Lake, Garrett Co, MD. A continuing WHITE-WINGED SCOTER at Rocky Gap SP in Allegany Co, MD was seen most recently on April 22.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was reported on Belvoir Pond, Fauquier Co, VA on April 19.

A KING RAIL was observed April 22 at Newport News Park, Newport News, VA. A KING RAIL was at Truitts Landing, Worcester Co, MD on April 23. With special written permission a couple of birders visited the Shenandoah Wetland Bank in Stuart’s Draft, Augusta Co, VA on April 21 and found two VIRGINIA RAILS, a SORA, and an AMERICAN BITTERN.

Between April 18 and 21 a continuing SANDHILL CRANE was seen at several locations in Garrett Co, MD at and near a pond along Peat Moss Road.

Three continuing AMERICAN AVOCETS were seen at Swan Creek Wetland-Cox Creek DMCF (restricted access) in Anne Arundel Co, MD April 17-21.

An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was seen April 18 at the private Lowe’s Wharf Farm, Talbot Co, MD. A STILT SANDPIPER was seen April 23 at Truitts Landing, Worcester Co, MD.

A LITTLE GULL was seen April 19 at Violette’s Lock, C&O Canal, Montgomery Co, MD. One was also seen April 19 flying over the ponds on Lowe’s Island, Loudoun Co, VA. Another was seen April 21 at the private Loreley Beach Community Pier, Baltimore Co, MD.

Fourteen SANDWICH TERNS were seen April 17 at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA. Five were at Grandview Nature Preserve, Hampton, VA on April 18.

On April 18 an ANHINGA was again seen flying over the Carson Wetland in Prince George Co, VA. An ANHINGA was seen April 19 at the West Neck Creek Natural Area, Virginia Beach, VA.

Eight AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were seen April 18 – 20 in a private pond along Peat Moss Rd, Garrett Co, MD. AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were also seen at Hog Island WMA, Surry Co, VA on the 19thand 22nd and with a high of 27 on the 21st.

AMERICAN BITTERNS continued to be observed at a number of locations this past week. In VA, AMERICAN BITTERNS were observed at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co on April 19 and at Bles Park, Loudoun Co on April 22 and at King Family Vineyards, Albemarle Co from the 21st through the 23rd.  The birders who were given special permission to visit the Shenandoah Wetland Bank in Stuart’s Draft, Augusta Co, VA on April 21 also found an AMERICAN BITTERN. A LEAST BITTERN was seen April 23 at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, NE DC.

A LITTLE BLUE HERON was at Swan Harbor Farm Park, Harford Co, MD April 20 and 21; at Pennyfield Lock, C&O Canal, Montgomery Co, MD on April 17; at Green Hills Farm Wetland in Montgomery Co, MD on April 18 and 22; and at Tydings Memorial Park, Harford Co, MD on April 22. In VA single LITTLE BLUE HERONS were seen at Occoquan Bay NWR, Prince William Co, on April 22 and at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA on April 17. The YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, was seen again on April 17.

A continuing LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE at the Smith Farm in Lunenburg Co, VA was seen most recently April 22. 

RED CROSSBILLS continue to be seen at Briery Branch Gap, Rockingham Co, VA with a sighting on April 20.

Two AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS were seen at 90 Weaver Rd, Accident, Garrett Co, MD between April 17 and 20. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen April 21, 22, and 23 at the Vet School Pond, VA Tech, Montgomery Co, VA. A VESPER SPARROW was seen April 17 along Grimstead Rd, Virginia Beach, VA. Two VESPER SPARROWS were seen April 18 at Aquasco Farm, Patuxent River Park, Prince George’s Co, MD.  Another VESPER SPARROW was seen April 21 at Point Lookout SP, St. Mary’s Co, MD. A LINCOLN’S SPARROW was seen April 20 and 22 at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD.

A continuing YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was again seen and photographed on April 18 and 19 with a flock of grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds at Factory Point, Accomack Co, VA.


This week's report was based on reports on the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers, and eBird records.

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 applicable state records committee

Thank you for your interest, and enjoy the birds.

*Of interest to the applicable state records committee