Voice of the Naturalist

Date: May 16, 2017
Coverage: MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle
Reports/Comments/Questions(Email): voice@anshome.org
Compiler: Bob Hartman
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, May 9, and was completed on Tuesday, May 16 at about 10 AM.

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 and COMMON REDSHANK, both in DE.



Slightly outside our normal reporting area, a LITTLE EGRET was seen and photographed May 15 at the Ashton Tract, Port Penn DE (New Castle Co).

Also on May 15 in DE, at the Ted Harvey WMA (Kent Co), a flying shorebird was identified as a COMMON REDSHANK by two experienced British birders, one a shorebird ornithologist. Unfortunately, the bird wasn't found again.


On May 14, some late GREATER SCAUP were found in MD. Four were seen at Poplar Island (Talbot Co). Probably more surprising was the single GREATER SCAUP reported in Prince George's Co at Lake Artemesia.

Two MISSISSIPPI KITEs were reported. On May 14, one was at Westmoreland VA (Westmoreland Co), near Westmoreland St Pk. At Fort Smallwood MD (Anne Arundel Co), another MISSISSIPPI KITE was reported on May 15.

Near Bridgewater VA, around the intersection of routes 11 & 704 (Rockingham Co), a WILSON'S PHALAROPE was seen May 9.

On May 10, an out-ot-season RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH was spotted at Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Supplee Pk (Prince George's Co).

A few DICKCISSELs showed up a little early in MD. On May 13, two were seen at Aquasco Farm Pk (Prince George's Co). On May 15, Frederick Co hosted two at widely separated locations: one along Harney Rd between Bullfrog and Shriver Rds, the other in an overgrown field in Tuscarora Creek development.

A likely BREWER'S BLACKBIRD was reported along the C&O Canal near Pennyfield Lock (Montgomery Co MD). Although the phone photos weren't very helpful, the description was pretty convincing.

A subjective evaluation suggests that we are having a good year for warblers. Many locations had species counts of 15 to 20+, including a few MOURNING WARBLERs in the last few days.


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, 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

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