Voice of the Naturalist

Date:  June 12, 2018
Coverage:  MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle
Reports/Comments/Questions(Email):  voice@anshome.org
Compiler(s):  Gerry Hawkins
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, June 5 and was completed on Tuesday, June 12 at 9:00 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 58th Supplement (July 2017).

The top birds this week were BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCK* in DE and ROSEATTE SPOONBILL* in VA.  

Other birds of interest this week included SNOW GOOSE, TUNDRA SWAN, CANVASBACK, SURF and BLACK SCOTERS, LONG-TAILED DUCK, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, RUDDY DUCK, HORNED GREBE, KING and VIRGINIA RAILS, COMMON GALLINULE, AMERICAN AVOCET, WILSON’S and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, RED KNOT, STILT SANDPIPER, WHIMBREL, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, WILLET, WILSON’S and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, BONAPARTE’S GULL, GULL-BILLED and BLACK TERNS, RED-THROATED and COMMON LOONS, ANHINGA, BROWN PELICAN*, AMERICAN BITTERN, LITTLE BLUE HERON, CATTLE EGRET, YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, WHITE and GLOSSY IBIS, MISSISSIPPI KITE, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, COMMON RAVEN, AMERICAN PIPIT, RED CROSSBILL, NELSON’S SPARROW, EASTERN MEADOWLARK and DICKCISSEL.

TOP BIRDS

On June 7 several BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCKS* were photographed on private property off Kenton Road between Dover and Cheswold in Kent Co, DE. 

A ROSEATTE SPOONBILL* stayed two days at Old Mill Park in Fredericksburg, VA after arriving there on June 4. On June 8 and 9 two ROSEATE SPOONBILLS* visited Stonehouse Lake Park in Amherst Co, VA. A ROSEATE SPOONBILL* also was reported at a pond on private property in Christiansburg, Montgomery Co, VA on June 8 and 11.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST

Out-of-season waterfowl included a continuing SNOW GOOSE at Bay Forest at Bethany Beach in Sussex Co, DE that was most recently seen on June 10 and a continuing TUNDRA SWAN at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA on June 5 and 8 and Kinder Farm Park in Anne Arundel Co, MD on June 8.

Many species of out-of-season migratory ducks were observed at various locations in the reporting area during the week. Noteworthy sightings included a CANVASBACK in the creek along Remington Drive in Rock Hall, Kent Co, MD on June 5 and at Hart-Miller Island in Baltimore Co, MD on June 8; four continuing SURF SCOTERS at Big Water Farm (private) in Queen Anne’s Co, MD on June 5; a single SURF SCOTER at the 85th Street Beach in Virginia Beach, VA on June 8; and a BLACK SCOTER at King-Lincoln Park in Newport News, VA on June 9. LONG-TAILED DUCK sightings consisted of 1-2 individuals on Poplar Island in Talbot Co, MD on June 5 and 7; a single individual at Swan Creek Wetland-Cox Creek DMCF in Anne Arundel Co, MD on June 7; and a continuing individual at Lake Holiday (restricted access) in Frederick Co, VA on June 9. RED-BREASTED MERGANSER also was seen at several locations, including a single individual inland at C. M. Crockett Park in Fauquier Co, VA on June 10 and 11. A RUDDY DUCK was seen at Aquia Creek in Stafford Co, VA on June 10 and reported at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on June 11.

Late HORNED GREBES included a continuing individual inland at a pond near the intersection of Atwater Drive and Freedom Boulevard in Loudoun Co, VA, which was seen most recently on June 6.

A KING RAIL was encountered at two locations in Queen Anne’s Co, MD: the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (Horsehead) on June 6 and 8 and Pemberton Manor on June 9. An incubating VIRGINIA RAIL was observed at the Shenandoah Wetlands Camp (private) in Augusta Co, VA on June 8, a first for this county. On June 8 a pair of COMMON GALLINULES were observed again on Hart-Miller Island in Baltimore Co, MD.

During the week a high of 60 AMERICAN AVOCETS were reported at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE and six or less AMERICAN AVOCETS were observed at two other coastal locations in Delaware and on Poplar Island in Talbot Co, MD, presumed migrants as this species no longer breeds in eastern North America. On June 9 two WILSON’S PLOVERS were photographed on Metompkin Island in Accomack Co, VA, which is one of the few locations at which this species breeds in the reporting area. Three late SEMIPLAMATED PLOVERS were seen at Aquia Landing Park in Stafford Co, VA on June 5. Highlights of a shorebird survey at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on June 7 included 162 RED KNOTS and seven STILT SANDPIPERS. Highlights of a survey of Poplar Island in Talbot Co, MD on June 5 included three WHIMBRELS and 11 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS. A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER also was reported at the same on June 7, Swan Creek Wetland-Cox Creek DMCF in Anne Arundel Co, MD on June 7 and Hart-Miller Island in Baltimore Co, MD on June 8. Two WILLETS were observed in flight at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (Horsehead) in Queen Anne’s Co, MD on June 6. Noteworthy shorebirds during the week also included a WILSON’S PHALAROPE spotted along Prime Hook Beach Road in Sussex Co, DE on June 9 and two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES found during the survey of Poplar Island in Talbot Co, MD on June 5.

Lingering BONAPARTE’S GULLS included two individuals at Gordon’s Pond in Cape Henlopen SP, Sussex Co, DE and one individual at Swan Creek Wetland-Cox Creek DMCF in Anne Arundel Co, MD on June 7.

On June 7 and 8 a single GULL-BILLED TERN was reported at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA and Hart-Miller Island in Baltimore Co, MD, respectively, which were the only reports of this species in the reporting area during the week. Two actively foraging COMMON TERNS were at Rocky Gap SP in Allegany Co, MD on June 11. On June 5 three BLACK TERNS were spotted with a flock of FORSTER’S TERNS at Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford and Franklin Counties, VA.

A RED-THROATED LOON was photographed at Black Hill RP in Montgomery Co, MD on June 10 and 11. Migrating COMMON LOONS were observed at several locations, including 1-2 individuals at Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford Co, VA on June 5 and 8 and two individuals at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia on June 11.  

On June 6 an ANHINGA flew over a private residence on Dockyard Landing in Chesapeake, VA.

A high of four BROWN PELICANS* were seen inland at Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford Co, VA on June 5 and 8.

The only report of an AMERICAN BITTERN during the week was an individual in brief flight at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE on June 5.

On June 5 a continuing adult LITTLE BLUE HERON was seen on Poplar Island in Talbot Co, MD. On June 10 a single CATTLE EGRET visited a field at George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon in Fairfax Co, VA. In Maryland six CATTLE EGRETS were seen along Route 21 just before the town limits of Rock Hall in Kent Co on June 9. On June 9 or 10 a single YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was seen at each of Fletcher’s Cove, Hains Point and the Chain Bridge area in Washington, DC.

On June 8 a single WHITE IBIS was photographed at the West Ocean City Pond in Worcester Co, MD. On June 5 a high of 22 GLOSSY IBIS were observed in overhead flight at Big Water Farm (private) and other nearby locations in Queen Anne’s Co, MD.

MISSISSIPPI KITE highlights during the week included six individuals in flight over Seaside Road in Cape Charles, Northampton Co, VA on June 9. In addition, on June 10 a MISSISSIPPI KITE was observed at close range at Wheaton Regional Park in Montgomery Co, MD.

A continuing RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was seen along Big Stone Beach Road in the Milford Neck Wildlife Area in Kent Co, DE on June 9, and on June 7 a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was photographed in marshes at White Oak Creek in Sussex Co, DE. On June 7 a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER made an uncommon appearance in Green Ridge SF, Allegany Co, MD.

Flycatcher highlights included a second-site record ALDER FLYCATCHER seen and heard calling on Poplar Island in Talbot Co, MD on June 7.

On June 5 a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was reported at two locations in Craig Co, VA. A continuing LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was observed at a stakeout location along Ramble Road in Halifax Co, VA on June 7.

Lowland COMMON RAVENS included a couple of continuing individuals at Terrapin Nature Park and nearby locations in Queen Anne’s Co, MD.

On June 5 a couple of AMERICAN PIPITS briefly visited pine trees in a residential yard in Virginia Beach, VA.

On June 9 eight continuing RED CROSSBILLS were counted at Briery Branch Gap in Rockingham Co, VA and two disparate groups containing a total of nine RED CROSSBILLS were encountered in Augusta Co, VA. On June 10 a single RED CROSSBILL was recorded calling in overhead flight along the Maryland High Point Trail in Garrett Co, MD.

Sparrow highlights were few during the week but included a high of eight NELSON’S SPARROWS at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (Horsehead) in Queen Anne’s Co, MD on June 5, 6 and 8. Warbler highlights also were few during the week as small numbers of several migratory species continued to move through the area.

On June 9 an EASTERN MEADOWLARK was again seen at Kenilworth Park in Washington, DC.

DICKCISSELS continued at numerous locations in the reporting area, with multiple (three or more) individuals encountered along Passwaters Farm Road in Sussex Co, DE on June 5 and 10; Underwood Road in Howard Co, MD on June 6, 10 and 11; Brookfield Road in Nokesville, Prince William Co, VA on June 11; and near the junction of Swan and Silo Roads in Appomattox Co, VA on June 6.   

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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