Voice of the Naturalist

Date:  September 18, 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, Sept.11 and was completed on Tuesday, Sept.18 at 11:00 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 59th Supplement (June 2018).

The top birds this week were SABINE'S GULL* in VA, SOOTY TERN* in VA, SANDWICH TERN* in VA; and SWALLOW-TAILED KITE* in VA. 



A SABINE'S GULL* was found at the John H. Kerr Reservoir, Mecklenburg Co, VA on Sept.15 near the dam; it was seen from various other close-by locations such as the Lower Lake Overlook the same day and on the 16th and from Palmer Point the 16th and 17th and also from the parking lot next to the dam on the 17th. 

A SOOTY TERN* was seen Sept.14 at Little Island Park, Virginia Beach, VA. Two SOOTY TERNS* were seen on the John H. Kerr Reservoir from Palmer Point on Sept.17.

Seven SANDWICH TERNS* were seen at the Occoquan Sewage Plant, Fairfax Co, VA on Sept.15. As many as 3 SANDWICH TERNS* were seen at the John H. Kerr Reservoir, Mecklenburg Co, VA from Palmer Point on Sept.17. Two SANDWICH TERNS were also seen Sept.14 at the King-Lincoln Park, Newport News, VA.

The SWALLOW-TAILED KITE* seen from a private location on Far Hills Rd in Albemarle Co, VA, was seen again the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 17th. 


A resident injured TUNDRA SWAN continues at Kinder Farm Park in Anne Arundel Co, MD with the most recent sighting from Sept.16. The continuing male REDHEAD on the John. H. Kerr Reservoir near Tailrace Park, Mecklenburg Co, VA was seen throughout the week. Out-of-season diving ducks included two continuing RING-NECKED DUCKS at Loch Raven Reservoir Point, Baltimore Co, MD, and one at the Broadway WWTF, New Market Rd, Rockingham Co, VA. Another RING-NECKED DUCK was seen on Sept.16 at the Duvall Farm Ponds, Talbot Co, MD. 

A HORNED GREBE was seen throughout the week from the Lower Lake Overlook of the John H. Kerr Reservoir, Mecklenburg Co, VA.

A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was seen Sept.13 in a yard in Taylorstown, Loudoun Co, VA. A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was also seen Sept.15 in East King George, King George Co, VA; and another was reported at Theodore Roosevelt Island, NW DC on Sept.12.

Three SANDHILL CRANES were found Sept.14 at 24461-24499 Old River Rd and seen there and near the Patton Turf Farm on River Rd, Poolesville, Montgomery Co, MD that day and on the 15th.

This past week was a good one for finding numerous shorebirds throughout the area: 

AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were seen in a number of locations including two continuing birds at the sod farm (check-in at office required) next to the Aldino Airpark, Harford Co, MD; 7 AMERICAN-GOLDEN PLOVERS on the 14th and 15th along Gregg Rd, Frederick Co, MD and 4 there on the 16th and 17th; 4 on the 14th and one on the 16th along Captain Yancey Rd, Rockingham Co, VA; at Mt Pony Farm, Culpeper Co, VA on Sept. 15; one on Sept.15 and 17 at Woodbury Rd turf field just east of Walkerton Rd. in King William Co, VA; 3 at the Turner Sod Farm, Rockingham Co, VA on Sept.12; 7 on the 16th at the Woodward Turf Farm,
Culpeper Co, VA and smaller numbers there much of the rest of the week.

A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was seen along Hibler Rd, Loudoun Co VA on Sept. 11, 12, and 13.

The Hughes Rd (Montgomery Co, MD) Polo Fields were an excellent place to see a variety of shorebirds with a report of an UPLAND SANDPIPER there on the 15th, as many as 20 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS there on the 14th and 10 on Sept.15, and 2 WESTERN SANDPIPERS there on the 13th and one on the 14th.

Two HUDSONIAN GODWITS were seen Sept.16 at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE. Two MARBLED GODWITS were seen Sept.16 and 17 at Skimmer Island, Ocean City, Worcester Co, MD. 

Numerous shorebird species were found in the vicinity of the Shenandoah Valley Produce, Dayton, Rockingham Co, VA including a RUDDY TURNSTONE on Sept.11, 12, and 15; and 4 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on Sept.12 and 2 on the 16th. 

Among the shorebirds seen along Captain Yancey Rd in Rockingham Co, VA were STILT SANDPIPERS with two there on the 11th; six SANDERLINGS on the 11th; three BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS on the 14th; and a WILSON'S PHALAROPE on the 11th and 12th.

A STILT SANDPIPER was seen at Leonard's Pond, Rockingham Co, VA on Sept.13 and 14.

The following were found at Stuarts Draft along and near Patton Farm Rd, Rockingham Co, VA: a RUDDY TURNSTONE on Sept.13; a STILT SANDPIPER on Sept.16; 9 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on the 13th, 13 on the 14th, 8 on the 15th; 13 on the 16th, and 10 on the 17th; and a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on Sept.13, 14, and 15 and three on the 17th.

A SANDERLING was seen Sept.12 at Chris Green Lake, Albemarle Co, VA.

A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER and a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER were seen Sept.16 feeding in a flooded field at the corner of Ennalls and Palmer Mill Rds, Dorchester Co, VA. A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was seen Sept.15 along Wright Rd across from Guard Rd, Caroline Co, MD; the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was seen again on Sept. 16.

Shorebirds found at Woodward Turf Farm this past week included BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS (3 on the 16th); multiple WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on the 15th and 16th; and two BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS on the 15th.

In addition to the several locations already mentioned WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS also turned up at a number of other locations in VA.

Three BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS were seen Sept.16 at Mt. Pony Farm, Culpeper Co, VA. 

A WILSON'S PHALAROPE was seen Sept.15 and 16 at the Hurlock WWTP, Dorchester Co, MD. Two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were at the Broadway WWTP, Rockingham Co, MD on Sept.17. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was at Botetourt Center, Greenfield, Botetourt Co, VA on Sept.17 and two were seen Sept.17 at Shiloh Church Turf Farm, Dorchester Co, MD.

A PARASITIC JAEGER was reported flying off the coast at Assateague SP, Worchester Co, MD on Sept.14. A PARASITIC JAEGER flew by the Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch, Sussex Co, DE on Sept.11. 

Sightings of BLACK TERNS included one on Sept.13 and 16 and 5 on Sept. 17 at Big Water Farm (private), and over the Chesapeake Bay on the 13th and 15th, both locations in Queen Anne's Co, MD; throughout the week at John H. Kerr Reservoir, Mecklenburg Co, VA; at Sandybottom Turf Farm, Charles City, VA on Sept.14; and at Willow Lake, Rockbridge Co, VA on Sept.17. A high count of 70 COMMON TERNS were seen in DC waters on the 15th with lesser numbers other days this week. COMMON TERNS were also seen from Violette's Lock, C&O Canal, Montgomery Co, MD on the 14th and 15th with a high of 37 there on the 17th as well as 27 from Fort Washington National Park, PG Co, MD on the 16th. High counts of COMMON TERNS were also seen in VA at a number of locations including 45 on the 17th at Carvins Cove Recreation Area, Botetourt Co, VA; 52 on the 15th at Lake Merriweather (private), Rockbridge Co, VA; and 29 on the 15th at Swift Creek Reservoir, Chesterfield Co, VA.

A BLACK SKIMMER was seen Sept.14 from the Lowe Dam Overlook at the John H. Kerr Dam, Mecklenburg Co, VA.

Both a CORY'S and a GREAT SHEARWATER were reported flying over the ocean at Assateague SP, Worchester Co, MD on Sept.14.

An ANHINGA was reported at Newport News Park, Newport News, VA on Sept. 16.

An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was seen flying over the John H. Kerr Reservoir, Mecklenburg Co, VA throughout the week.

An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen Sept.17 at Fort C. F. Smith Park, Arlington. 

The TRICOLORED HERON at Oxbow Lake, Anne Arundel Co, MD was seen again on Sept.13. A TRICOLORED HERON was also seen Sept.15 at Lowe's Point (private), Talbot Co, MD. 

A GLOSSY IBIS was seen and photographed at the Georgetown Reservoir on Sept.12.

The Snicker's Gap Hawkwatch on the Loudoun/Clarke Co, VA line reported its first GOLDEN EAGLE of the season on Sept.16.
Single OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were seen Sept.15 at West Friendship Park, Howard Co, MD and at Schooley Mill Park, Howard Co, MD; and on the 16th at Pennyfield Lock, C&O Canal, Montgomery Co, MD. Others were seen at Merkle WMA, Prince George's Co, MD, on Sept.16 and at Schoolhouse Pond, Upper Marlboro, Prince George's Co, MD on Sept.17. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was reported Sept.15 at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD. One was also seen Sept.16 at Black Walnut Point, Talbot Co, MD. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was also seen Sept. 16 at Leesylvania SP, Prince William Co, VA. Another was reported from the Switzer lake Area, Rockingham Co, VA on Sept.15 and one at Forestgate, Prince George's Co, MD on Sept.17. An ALDER FLYCATCHER was seen and heard Sept.11 at Lickinghole Creek, Albemarle Co, VA.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was seen Sept.16 at the Woodward Turf Farm, Culpeper Co, VA. One was also seen the same day at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co, VA.

A LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was seen Sept.14 at Smith Farm, Lunenburg Co, VA.

A few PURPLE FINCHES were reported this past week with one on Sept.11 along Old Forge Rd, Washington Co, MD; one on Sept.15 along E Wallace Ave, North East, Cecil Co, MD; and on Sept.16 at Lake Roland, Baltimore Co, MD.

Migratory warblers were seen in decent numbers the few times the weather cooperated. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was reported at Milford Mill Park, Baltimore Co, MD on Sept.15. Another GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was seen Sept.16 at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD. An immature CONNECTICUT WARBLER in Woodbine, Carroll Co, MD on Sept.16 was a great yard bird. A CONNECTICUT WARBLER was also seen the same day from a house in Herndon, Fairfax Co, VA and at Patterson Park, Baltimore Co, MD. A MOURNING WARBLER was seen Sept.13 at Greenbury Pt, Anne Arundel Co, MD. Another MOURNING WARBLER was seen at the Irvine Nature Center, Baltimore Co, MD on Sept.15. On Sept.17 a MOURNING WARBLER was seen at Cromwell Valley Park, Baltimore Co, MD.

A SUMMER TANAGER was seen Sept.11 at Monticello Park, Alexandria, VA. One was also seen Sept.15 at Schaeffer farm, Seneca Creek Park, Montgomery Co, MD.

A DICKCISSEL was seen Sept.13 at Schoolhouse Pond, Prince George's Co, MD.


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 applicable state records committee