Date: 3/20/17 6:54 pm
From: Joelle Buffa <clyde_joelle...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Chincoteague NWR Shorebird/Gull Survey March 20
 Below are the results of our weekly shorebird/gull survey conducted at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Monday March 20, 2017. All water areas (impoundments and beach areas) were covered in the 6 hour survey. All individuals are counted for the target species; other birds seen or heard on the survey are followed by a dash.   
 It was a beautiful day on the Refuge. Winds were strong on the beach but water levels on the ponds were perfect for shorebirds. We counted 2,535 shorebirds of 12 species. The most common was Dunlin 1,436 followed by Willet 411, Sanderling 362 and Black-bellied Plover at 144. We found 16 Piping Plovers (PIPL), which is a big increase over the 1 we saw two weeks ago, which was a first-of-the-year sighting. Interestingly, the first PIPL of 2016 and 2017 were both seen on the same date - March 6th!
American Oystercatchers (AMOY) are ramping up their breeding hormones, with 34 counted - mostly pairs using the Hook and Overwash south of the parking lots. One banded AMOY (MM - Black with White letters) was seen cavorting with an un-banded  AMOY; the pair was 0.1 mile south of the tip of the Hook. We will log our sighting into the on-line database. Eighteen Lesser Yellowlegs is also an increase over the winter population, which may be a sign of the start of their spring migration.
The non shorebird highlights were the following: The first of the year Tree Swallow was near one of their nesting boxes on the Wildlife Loop. A breeding plumage Black-headed Gull was on South Wash Flats. An individual in non-breeding plumage has been seen off and on throughout the winter but this is the first one we have seen in breeding plumage at the Refuge.
The Over Sand Driving area is now closed south of the Coast Guard Lifesaving Station.
Our next survey will be Monday, April 3rd which starts the weekly survey protocol until migration is over in June.
Clyde Morris and Joelle Buffa
| Snow Goose | -- |
| Canada Goose | -- |
| Tundra Swan | -- |
| Gadwall | -- |
| American Wigeon | -- |
| American Black Duck | -- |
| Mallard | -- |
| Northern Shoveler | -- |
| Northern Pintail | -- |
| Green-winged Teal | -- |
| Surf Scoter | -- |
| Black Scoter | -- |
| Long-tailed Duck | -- |
| Bufflehead | -- |
| Hooded Merganser | -- |
| Red-breasted Merganser | -- |
| Red-throated Loon | 3 |
| Common Loon | 16 |
| Horned Grebe | 55 |
| Northern Gannet | 2 |
| Double-crested Cormorant | 2 |
| Great Blue Heron | -- |
| Great Egret | -- |
| White Ibis | -- |
| Black Vulture | -- |
| Turkey Vulture | -- |
| Northern Harrier | -- |
| Sharp-shinned Hawk | -- |
| Bald Eagle | -- |
| American Oystercatcher | 34 |
| Black-bellied Plover | 144 |
| Semipalmated Plover | 1 |
| Piping Plover | 16 |
| Killdeer | 9 |
| Marbled Godwit | 33 |
| Ruddy Turnstone | 3 |
| Sanderling | 362 |
| Dunlin | 1,436 |
| Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher | 42 |
| Greater Yellowlegs | 60 |
| Willet | 411 |
| Lesser Yellowlegs | 18 |
| Black-headed Gull | 1 |
| Ring-billed Gull | 109 |
| Herring Gull | 241 |
| Lesser Black-backed Gull | 42 |
| Great Black-backed Gull | 84 |
| Forster's Tern | 1 |
| Mourning Dove | -- |
| Northern Flicker | -- |
| Merlin | 1 |
| Eastern Phoebe | 1 |
| American Crow | -- |
| Tree Swallow | -- |
| Carolina Chickadee | 1 |
| Eastern Bluebird | -- |
| American Robin | -- |
| Pine Warbler | -- |
| Yellow-rumped Warbler | -- |
| Song Sparrow | -- |
| Northern Cardinal | -- |
| Red-winged Blackbird | -- |
| Eastern Meadowlark | -- |
| Common Grackle | -- |
| Boat-tailed Grackle | -- |

  
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