[va-bird] lower Eastern Shore of VA & MD, Nov. 9-15, part 1

  • From: Henry Armistead <74077.3176@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Virginia Birders <va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 20:10:30 -0500


Part 1 (There's MD & VA observations in both parts).


RIGBY'S FOLLY, Armistead property on Ferry Neck, Talbot County, 25124 West
Ferry Neck Road near Royal Oak but nearer still to Bellevue.  

NOVEMBER 9, 2006, THURSDAY.  Clear, winds NW 5-15-0, temps. 57-68 F.  58
species.  On property all day.  Grass cut today for the last time this
year.  Big rain yesterday, the ground and fields soaked, the ditches and
ponds good and full.  Calm glassy water makes for excellent conditions for
sitting at Lucy Point and scoping the Choptank River mouth.  

Common Loon 80, most of these in one pod.  2 Horned Grebes.  Great Blue
Heron 0.  American Black Duck 10.  Wood Duck 2.  Bufflehead 145.  Ruddy
Duck 3.  Surf Scoter 1 (unusual not to see many).  Bonaparte's Gull 12
(named after Napoleon's nephew, Charles Lucien Bonaparte).  phoebe 2. 
Winter Wren 1.  Brown Creeper 1.  only 1 of each of the kinglets.  Song
Sparrow 25.  Fox Sparrow 1.  junco 45.  Red-winged Blackbird 18 (several of
them in the tops of Loblolly Pines eating pine seeds).  

66 RAPTORS, 9 species: a bit of a flight incl.:  42 Turkey and 7 Black
vultures, 5 Sharp-shinned, 1 Cooper's, 5 Red-tailed & 2 Red-shouldered
hawks, 1 harrier, 1 Osprey, and 2 Bald Eagles.  

Also: 2 Southern Leopard Frogs, a bat, 3 Gray Squirrels, and 2 Buckeyes. 
No Monarchs or deer (!).  Lots of grasshoppers.

COMMERCIAL SEAFOOD HARVEST.  Today there are activities I am not used to
seeing here.  There are 30 workboats scraping: 15 off Wooden Point, 13 off
Holland Point, and 2 out in the Choptank.  They are towing scrapers that
are about the same size as those used at Smith Island (MD) but the boats
are bigger with more freeboard.  I assume they're after Blue Crabs.  Two
men in a skiff are working the cove on a falling tide using an encirclement
method with gill nets, catching a few White Perch: a small camouflage
Tracker boat, MD 5660 BS, with a Tracker outboard.

NOV. 10, FRI.  On the move from Rigby to Kiptopeke, VA, but all birding
done in MARYLAND today.

BLACKWATER N.W.R.  5:30 - 10:15 A.M.  53 species.  4 Eastern Cottontails. 
1 Cloudless Sulphur.  Talk to several artists who are exhibiting at this
weekend's Easton Waterfowl Festival, including Virginia Vaughan:
(www.v-vaughan.com)  They regret having to leave the refuge and "go to
work" in Easton.

13 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANs: not too far away opposite Pool 3c, preening,
resting, 3 of them flying around.  25 Forster's Terns.  400 Mallards.  1
screech and 1 Barred Owl.  2 Pileated Woodpeckers.  2 Winter Wrens,  2
Hermit Thrushes.  6 meadowlarks.  355 Blue & 45 Snow geese.  Green-winged
Teal 325.  pintail 700.  Unusual to see 4 diving ducks here:  8
Buffleheads, 30 Ruddy & 8 Ring-necked ducks and 14 Lesser Scaup.  12 Bald
Eagles.  65 Tundra Swans.  

TUBMAN TRAIL off of Hip Roof Road.  I didn't walk it but drove in out of
curiosity.  The access road goes 0.4 mile in from Hip Roof.  Nice fields
with plantings of young loblollies and hardwoods plus small wet areas.  1
Buckeye and a Cloudless Sulphur.  Trail goes through an area some of which
has been severely damaged by a tornado.

SWAN HARBOR ROAD N of Hooper's Island.  Raptor watch, 10:30-Noon.  113
total, mostly vultures:  63 Turkey & 3 Black Vultures, 16 Sharp-shinned, 1
Cooper's, 17 Red-tailed & 5 Red-shouldered hawks, 1 kestrel and 7 Bald
Eagles.  Flight is high and to the N, going INTO the 5-10 m.p.h. NW wind as
is so often the case here.  1 harrier nearby.  Also:  145 Tundra Swans, 140
robins, 25 Tree Swallows, 15 waxwings, and 1 Clapper Rail.  Butterflies:  2
Cloudless Sulphurs and a Monarch.  I can only fantasize on the number of
raptors that would be  seen here if there was a full-time hawk watch. 

EGYPT ROAD.  12:15-12:45 P.M.  Spend half an hour sorting through a huge
blackbird flock but do not find any rare ones.  It consists of c. 1K
starlings, 1.5K red-wings, 3K cowbirds & 4K Common Grackles for a total of
9,500 birds mas o menos (probably mas).  Impressive.  The cowbirds favor
the road shoulders.  3 Bald Eagles feeding on a large dead animal.  An ad.
male Northern Harrier.  2 Cloudless Sulphurs.   

DEAL ISLAND W.M.A.  3-5:30 P.M.  Riley Roberts Road.  The area inside the
big impoundment is pretty lifeless, the water high.  High tide but falling
on the outside.  Best here are 8 American Bitterns, an actual small flight
leaving the impoundment and heading out into the natural saltmarsh at dusk.

Ruddy Duck 105.  American Wigeon 25.  Gadwall 4.  Pied-billed Grebe 4. 
Great Horned Owl 1.  Tree Swallow 185,  Green-winged Teal 30.  Northern
Harrier 8.  Royal Tern 1 (hunting inside the impoundment, a juvenile). 
Black-crowned Night Heron 26.  Great Egret 16.  Glossy Ibis 1.  Clapper
Rail 5.  Greater Yellowlegs 10.  Dunlin 25.  Hooded Merganser 11.  Bald
Eagle 2.  Tricolored Heron 1.  crow 1,310 (both species).  Also:  a bat & a
Cloudless Sulphur.      


ABBREVIATIONS & GAZETTEER:  CVWO, Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory. 
ESVNWR, Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.  KSP, Kiptopeke
State Park.  Oyster, small town and harbor c. 10 mi. NE of most of these
other places.  Ramp Lane, extends SE from ESVNWR to the Intracoastal
Waterway and a staging area for watermen's work boats.    Willis Wharf, a
watermen's community 25 mi. N. of K.S.P. on the seaside. 

CVWO staff: Sharna Tolfree, Monarch tagger, has departed with the end of
the Monarch season, having tagged 625.  Jethro Runco, landbird bander
extraordinaire.  Scott McConnell, obdurate raptor counter with terrific
hearing also for subtle call notes high overhead.  Also on hand is Shannon
Ehlers who is banding Northern Saw-whet Owls for the Center for
Conservation Biology of the College of William & Mary (this is not a big
saw-whet flight year).  

KIPTOPEKE IN THE NEWS.  Journalist John McGonigle was here in October and
has written a good piece about us entitled "A bonanza of raptors" in the
"Sunday News, Lancaster, PA" newspaper, of which he is the Outdoors Editor:
 Sunday, October 15, 2006, p. C13.  It's a full page and has a color
photograph of Joe Medley holding a captured immature (male?) Peregrine
Falcon and one of Hal Wierenga looking through his scope.  Mentioned are
Bill Williams, Laura McKay, Sharna Tolfree, Brian Taber, Scott McConnell,
and Larry Brindza.  My thanks to Abby Odell for giving me a copy.

 Bob Ake and I are here 6:30-2:30 as part of Kurt Gaskill's rarities
roundup weekend.  During the course of the day Bob Anderson, Thuy Tran,
Brian Taber, Kurt, and some of Kurt's retinue also visit.  70 species. 
Fair, S 10-15, 55-72 degrees. Since persons from various agencies and
organizations involved with this property have expressed interest in what
is seen here, here is the complete, bloomin' list with approximate numbers:

Canada Goose 30.  Tundra Swan 35.  Wood Duck 2.  Gadwall 10.  American
Wigeon 35.  American Black Duck 10.  Mallard 30.  Northern Pintail 3. 
Green-winged Teal 15.  Ring-necked Duck 8 (a total surprise to see them
sitting in the salt water of Magothy Bay).  (presumed) Lesser Scaup 400 (a
nice flight; they kept going).  Surf Scoter 45.  White-winged Scoter 2. 
Bufflehead 115.  Hooded Merganser 6.  Red-breasted Merganser 10. 
Red-throated Loon 3.  Common Loon 35.  Pied-billed Grebe 3.  Horned Grebe
6.  Brown Pelican 5.  Double-crested Cormorant 125.  Great Blue Heron 3. 
Great Egret 4.  Snowy Egret 1.  White Ibis 30.  

Black Vulture 25.  Turkey Vulture 30.  Osprey 3.  Bald Eagle 4.  Northern
Harrier 7.  Sharp-shinned Hawk 35.  Cooper's Hawk 3.  Red-tailed Hawk 7. 
American Kestrel 1.  Merlin 2 (1 eating a Yellow-rumped Warbler right in
front of us in a dead snag that had washed up onto the marsh).  Clapper
Rail 6.  Black-bellied Plover 1.  Killdeer 4.  American Oystercatcher 2. 
Greater Yellowlegs 10.  Dunlin 20.  unID'd peep 1.  Laughing Gull 125. 
Bonaparte's Gull 7.  Ring-billed Gull 10.  Herring Gull 40.  Great
Black-backed Gul 15.  Royal Tern 10.  Forster's Tern 12.  

Northern Flicker 3.  Blue Jay 1.  American Crow 15.  Fish Crow 10.  Tree
Swallow 35.  American Robin 425.  Northern Mockingbird 2.  European
Starling 35.  American Pipit 2.  Cedar Waxwing 40.  Yellow-rumped Warbler
10.  Savannah Sparrow 10 (includes 1 IPSWICH SPARROW, unusual to see on the
mainland, that several of us watch for 10 minutes at point blank range as
it fed almost underfoot;  in my experience Ipswich is not only bigger and
much paler than other Savannah Sparrows but also notably tamer).  Seaside
Sparrow 1.  unID'd sharp-tailed sparrow 3.  Song Sparrow 6 (some singing). 
Swamp Sparrow 2.  Red-winged Blackbird 80.  Eastern Meadowlark 5. 
Boat-tailed Grackle 95.  Common Grackle 60.  American Goldfinch 4.  

Our raptor totals today are slightly higher than those at KSP, even if you
throw out the vultures and eagles, with a similar number of sharpies but
fewer harriers, to wit:  31 sharpies, 4 Cooper's, 1 Osprey, 1 Bald Eagle,
13 harriers and 1 Red-tailed Hawk = 51 raptors vs. our 62.   

Also: 20 Cloudless Sulphurs & 2 Monarchs.  Many of us see the 2 WESTERN
KINGBIRDS on the wires on the W side of Rt. 13 just N of Sunset Beach
Resort.  Last weekend Bob Anderson saw 178 White Ibis from Bull's Drive. 
Bob uses his video camera a lot, enabling him to secure exact counts such
as this. 

The N side of Bull's Drive consists of high saltmarsh with low vegetation
(Spartina alterniflora).  The footing is good.  On the other side is more
Salicornia and Sea Lavender and some tidal guts.  I eat a little
Salicornia; it's pithy and salty but good.  We spend most of the day out on
the end a good half mile from the mainland.

From 3-6 P.M. we attend the annual meeting of CVWO at Sunset Beach Resort. 

Best to all.-Henry ("Harry") T. Armistead, 523 E. Durham St., Philadelphia,
PA 19119-1225.  215-248-4120.  Please, any off-list replies to: 
harryarmistead at hotmail dot com  (never, please, to 74077.3176 ....)
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  • » [va-bird] lower Eastern Shore of VA & MD, Nov. 9-15, part 1