[va-bird] Eastern Shore notes

  • From: Phoebetria@xxxxxxx
  • To: va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003 22:53:29 EDT

Northampton County is right on schedule with bird movements this fall, and 
last night's cold front appears to have brought some new birds down the coast.  
Slowly, more American Kestrels, Eastern Kingbirds, Bobolinks and other early 
migrants have put in appearances; though kestrels (2 pairs in the county this 
year) and kingbirds nest locally, migrants are obvious when they begin to show 
up in coastal spots such as Oyster (where there were 15 kingbirds at dusk 
today) or at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.  Bobolinks 
numbered only about 450 at Oyster this evening, but in a week or two, their 
numbers will begin to approach those of Common Grackles (low flights of about 
15,000 this evening), European Starlings (3000), Brown-headed Cowbirds (500+), 
other "blackbirds" here, peaking in the 20,000 to 30,000 range some time in 
the first week of September, hopefully.  Eastern Kingbirds' numbers should also 
max out in that period, with hundreds likely here in the evening, as all 
these birds go to roost in the trees and marshes around Oyster.

Farm fields today and yesterday in southern Northampton County have held a 
nice variety of waders and terns.  Three Gull-billed Terns today pursued an 
adult Bald Eagle over Arlington Road (west turn just north of Sting-Ray's), 
over a 
field that had an adult Caspian Tern, 34 Black-bellied and 20 Semipalmated 
Plovers, an Upland Sandpiper (scarce here anymore), and 23 Pectoral Sandpipers. 
The most productive stretch of fields was between Custis Tomb Road and 
Capeville Road, where potato fields have been plowed recently.  To the north, 
Eastville (just south of Willow Oak Road), wet farm fields held 73 
and 13 Semipalmated Plovers, 1 Killdeer, 10 Short-billed Dowitchers, 2 Glossy 
Ibis (there had been 100s here earlier), and numerous peep, including 
Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers.  Oyster yesterday at falling tide had 
Marbled Godwit, close Whimbrel, and many of the typical saltmarsh shorebirds 
(Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers).  Juvenile 
Forster's Terns (3) continue to beg from adults at the harbor mouth, and a 
Tern and a Sandwich Tern were present yesterday.  

At Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR, 4 immature White Ibis, 2 immature 
Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, and singles of Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, 
Green Heron, 
and Snowy Egret were in the Ramp Road pond in the evening, along with the 
first Blue-winged Teal of the season there.  At Cedar Grove, one Eurasian 
Collared-Dove was out on the wires in the late afternoon (this is due east of 
Kiptopeke State Park).  

Ned Brinkley
Cape Charles, VA
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