||Sunday, October 14, 2007
Pond, Upper Marlboro, MD
2nd Annual Schoolhouse Pond Big Sit
platform at the rear of the pond)
The Marlboro Flaming County
Seaters consisted of a total of 16 observers throughout the day, with
some birders present from 6:30 AM until almost 7 PM. It was a
good day with spectacular weather, and a nice variety of birds were
seen. The total number of species seen during the Big Sit was 65,
one higher than our total in 2006. The morning was fairly active,
but the afternoon was quiet until there was a flurry of bird activity
just before dark.
passed overhead. The rear observation platform can also be a good
place to view flying raptors, and a variety of species were seen during
the day, including a beautiful juvenile Highlights included large
numbers of flyover gulls in the morning, including 1 flyover Bonaparte's Gull. As usual, the
gulls were making their early morning trip to the nearby Brown Station
Road landfill, and hundreds of Laughing,
Ring-billed, and Northern
Harrier, two Bald Eagles,
several Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, good views a
several Red-shouldered Hawks,
two Red-tailed Hawks, both vultures, and a late Osprey.
Also of note were the first Northern
Shovelers of the season, joining the local Mallards and Wood Ducks. Huge flocks of European Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds,
and Common Grackles passed
overhead and one Rusty Blackbird
was heard. Other highlights included a late flyover Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and the
arrival of three Spotted Sandpipers
just as the Flaming County Seaters were calling it a day and packing up
for the evening. These late arrivals brought the species total
for the day to 65.
Another nice find was the Wilson's
Snipe which Jeff Shenot saw flying into the vegetation along the
pond's edge. Other birds seen at or over the pond included a
group of high Double-crested
Cormorants, one Great Egret,
all three mimids,
two small groups of Tree Swallows,
a small group of Barn Swallows, a small group of Eastern Bluebirds, and Trumpeter Swan #962.
otable misses included most warbler species, both kinglets, Eastern
Towhee, and most migrant passerines. The only warblers Common Yellowthroat and Yellow-rumped. Perhaps most
noticeable was the almost complete absence of birds working the trees
at the rear of the pond. This tree line was busy off and on all
day during the 2006 Big Sit, and usually there are Chickadees, Titmice,
Cardinals, and woodpeckers foraging in the trees or sparrows chipping
in the grass. But, during the 2007 Big Sit the woods were largely
silent and no mixed-species flocks moved through.
The 2007 Big Sit at Schoolhouse Pond turned out to be a fun day with
spectacular weather, and a lot of birders were able to come out for
most of the day or a few hours. With two fairly successful sits
under their belt, I look forward to what the Flaming County Seaters see
next year. Perhaps with the right combination of weather and
migrants, the Flaming County Seaters will top 70 species.
-reported by Fred Shaffer
||Sunday, October 28, 2007
|Cape Henlopen, DE
||While it was still dark, 6 hardy birders set out for
Cape Henlopen and surrounding areas. We stopped first at Gordon Pond, a
large pond in the south of Cape Henlopen Park, in the hopes of finding
waterfowl. Here, spectacular skeins of Snow Geese flashed as they caught
the sun in the clear blue sky. In the distance a flock seemingly of
gulls at anchor turned into Avocets,
while Snowy and Great
Egrets filled out the picture. But aside from Mallards, of ducks there were none.
Stiff winds kept passerines at bay but were congenial to hundreds of
late Tree Swallows.
At the Visitor Center - inexplicably closed for the day - we enjoyed
the antics of Brown-headed and
Red-breasted Nuthatches, some of us obtaining good pictures. We
turned next to the hawk watch platform atop one of the gun
emplacements. As we were going up we met the official counters coming
down - a sign that hawks might not be plentiful today. And in fact,
while many vultures were up being buffetted about, the only hawk to fly
past was a lone Sharp-shinned.
Well, so far, not a spectacular day.
Things picked up in the parking lot with a late Blue-headed Vireo. At the Cape,
heavy wind deterred us from walking around to the end of the cape in
search of Snow(y) Owls or Buntings, but a group of Brown Pelicans was a nice surprise.
At nearby Prime Hook Refuge, a walk along the trail yielded a late Blue Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting, some Rusty Blackbirds among hundreds of Robins, a White-crowned Sparrow, and a Northern Harrier and Bald Eagle aloft, providing a nice finish
to the day.
-reported by Fred Fallon
||Friday, September 21, 2007
|Jug Bay Natural Area
||A full load of birders embarked on this evening boat
ride on the Patuxent River, captained by the incomparable Greg Kearns,
resuming a one-time PGAS tradition. The date had been chosen to
coincide with maximum low tide so as to bring Soras into view on the exposed mud,
and we were not disappointed.. Many Soras were heard, some in response
to hand-clapping; others calling spontaneously. Several were well seen,
a life bird for many. Our tidal timing was almost too good, hanging up
as we did on the mud, but only momentarily, in the low water.
We were also treated to flocks of Blue-winged
and Green-winged Teal, come across suddenly as the boat rounded
bends in the river; a Solitary
Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs; a late Marsh Wren; and as night advanced, Soras
taking off on their migratory flights. No less impressive were the vast
stands of wild rice now restored as a result of the pioneering work of
Greg Kearns and USGS biologist Mike Haramis. We docked quite after dark
after this most pleasant excursion, thankful for the beautiful mild
weather, and for the wilderness of Jug Bay Park preserved as it is so
-reported by Fred Fallon