Voice of the Naturalist

Date: April 25, 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 http://anshome.org/.

This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting Tuesday, April 18, and was completed on Tuesday, April 25 at 9:15 a.m.

Information on noteworthy birds during this week 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).

TOP BIRD THIS WEEK were BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK* in VA, EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL (COMMON TEAL)* in VA, and SWALLOW-TAILED KITE in VA.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST include waterfowl, NORTHERN BOBWHITE, rails, SANDHILL CRANE, shorebirds including RUFF, LITTLE GULL, ANHINGA, AMERICAN and LEAST BITTERN, SNOWY EGRET, TRICOLORED HERON, CATTLE EGRET, YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, WHITE-FACED IBIS, NORTHERN SHRIKE, RED CROSSBILL, warblers, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, VESPER SPARROW, and LINCOLN SPARROW.                                

TOP BIRDS                                                             

 Two BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS* were found April 22 at the private Bayville Golf Club, Virginia Beach, VA.

A EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL (COMMON TEAL)* was seen April 20 at Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA.

A SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was seen April 22 at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach, VA. Three were seen April 23 flying overhead east of Von Canon Rd, Northampton Co, VA toward Cheriton.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST

A CACKLING GOOSE continued at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Queen Anne’s Co., MD with a sighting on April 20.

On April 18 two NORTHERN BOBWHITES walked across the C&O Canal towpath at about the 26.5 mile point (near Sycamore Landing, Montgomery Co, MD).Two NORTHERN BOBWHITES were heard April 23 along SR628 close to the Hazel River in the Rixeyville/Castleton area of Culpeper Co, VA.      

One and sometimes two KING RAILS were seen April 18, 19, & 20 at Truitt’s Landing, Worcester Co, MD. The VIRGINIA RAIL and SORA were seen again at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co., VA on April 18.

The SANDHILL CRANES in Accident, Garrett Co., MD were seen again on April 20. Four SANDHILL CRANES were seen April 18 at the Ashton Tract, New Castle Co, Augustine Wildlife Area, DE; one was seen there April 22.

An AMERICAN AVOCET was seen throughout the week at Blackwater NWR, Dorchester Co, MD. Among the increasing shorebird sightings during the week was an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER at TRUITT’S LANDING, WORCESTER Co, MD on April 18.

The RUFF at the Port Penn Impoundments, Augustine Wildlife Area, New Castle Co, DE was seen from the 20th through the 23rd with a second also being seen on April 20, 21 and 23.

A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was seen at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA on April 22. A WILLET was the other highlight at the weekly bird walk at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA on April 24.

The LITTLE GULL at Back River, Diamond Point Road, Baltimore Co, MD was last reported on April 19.

The ANHINGA at the Carson Wetland, Prince George’s Co, VA was last seen April 21. ANHINGAS continued to be seen at Stumpy Lake NA, Virginia Beach, VA through April 21.

An AMERICAN BITTERN was found April 22 at Bles Park, Ashburn, Loudoun Co, VA and relocated on April 23 and 24. An AMERICAN BITTERN was the highlight of the weekly bird walk at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA on April 24. A LEAST BITTERN was found April 23 at Hughes Hollow, Montgomery Co, MD, and seen again April 24. A SNOWY EGRET was found April 21 in a tree next to the pond at the parking lot in Occoquan Bay NWR, Woodbridge, Prince William Co, VA. A TRICOLORED HERON flew over Hains Point, SW DC on April 23. Two CATTLE EGRETS were found April 23 on Currioman Rd near Currioman Landing, Westmoreland Co, VA. An adult YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was observed April 22 a little upstream from Fletcher’s Cove (and a little downstream from Chain Bridge, NW DC) hunting along the edge of a small pond across from Gulf Branch on the VA side. YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were observed nest building in Sligo Creek Park, Montgomery Co, MD on April 20, between Piney Branch and Carroll.

The WHITE-FACED IBIS* at Chincoteague NWR, Accomack Co, VA was seen again on April 18. A WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen April 23 at the Ashton Tract, Augustine Wildlife Area, New Castle Co, DE.

The continuing NORTHERN SHRIKE at the Sully Woodlands, Fairfax Co., VA was seen again on April 23 and 24.

Six RED CROSSBILLS were found April 18 at the four-road intersection on the way to Reddish Knob, Augusta Co, VA.

Warbler sightings increased as the week progressed. CERULEAN WARBLERS were reported on April 21 from Henryton Center, Carroll Co, MD and, on the same day, at Patapsco Valley SP, Marriotsville, Howard Co, MD.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW continues to be seen at the Big Water Farm (private), Queen Anne's Co MD, with the most recent report from April 24. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW also continued to be seen at the Driver Rd entrance to the Patapsco Valley SP, Howard Co, MD through April 22. A VESPER SPARROW was seen April 18 at Waterford Farm (restricted), Howard Co, MD; another was seen April 19 along Long Neck Rd, St. Mary’s Co, MD. Two VESPER SPARROWS were seen April 23 in Kenilworth Park, NE DC. A LINCOLN’S SPARROW was seen April 23 in Druid’s Hill Park, Baltimore MD; the same day a LINCOLN’S SPARROW was seen at Hains Point, SW DC.

***

This report was based on reports on the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers via the ABA Internet links, and on eBird records.

The Audubon Sanctuary Shop (301-652-3606, http://anshome.org/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, either e-mail or phone.

Thank you for your interest, and enjoy the birds.

*Of interest to the applicable 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:

Full SPECIES NAME.

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