BLACKBIRDS, if you will: bobolink 212 (7: 2-121), red-winged blackbird 1,027 (7: 5-700), eastern meadowlark 1 (in flight over Gadwall Bend, EIR; sometimes miss the EAME), common grackle 157 (3: 1-151), brown-headed cowbird, if you will excuse the expression, 634 (8: 2-330), Baltimore oriole 5.
SECTORS with their participants:
Marcia Balestri, north of Route 50 incl. Hurlock, the Shiloh Church Turf Farm, North Tara Road, Brookview, Rhodesdale, Indiantown Road, Reid Road, Rhodesdale.
Matt Whitbeck, restricted areas of Blackwater N.W.R. (Howard Tract, Greenbriar Swamp)
George Radcliffe, Wayne Bell & M.O.S. youth birders: Taylor's I., Slaughter & Parsons creeks, Smithville Road S to Moneystump
Swamp. Christine & Jasper Merry, Lisa & Patrick Newcombe, Daniel & Jonathan Irons, Jerald Reb.
Jeff Effinger, Hooper's I., Hip Roof Road, Meekins Neck, Swan Harbor.
Steve & Robin Ford, east-central county S of Rt. 50, including Kraft Neck Rd., some of Steele Neck Rd., areas W of Elliott I. Rd.
Dave Palmer, greater Blackwater N.W.R. and on S to Lakesville, Crapo, Wingate, Shorter's Wharf, Cedar Creek Rd., Crocheron, et al.
Harry Armistead, Elliott I. Rd., Lewis Wharf Rd., BNWR Kuehnle Tract & adjacent Griffith Neck Rd., Bestpitch, and Transquaking River.
Colin McAllister, Neck District (west of Cambridge).
Frank Morgan, roads off of Rt. 16 from Cambridge city limits to Woolford & Madison. Maple Dam Rd. from its intersection with Key Wallace Drive N to Cambridge city limits, but not Key Wallace Drive. Also, Route 335 from Rt. 16 to but not including Key Wallace Drive.
Suzette Stitely, the greater Cambridge city limits.
TOP TEN: SPECIES WITH THE HIGHEST COUNTS: European starling 1,478; red-winged blackbird 1,027; laughing gull 884; Forster’s tern 644; brown-headed cowbird 634; double-crested cormorant 617; mallard 597; herring gull 478; Canada goose 418; brown pelican 387.
THE ORDER OF THINGS: here is unorthodox based on the official, erratic, M.O.S. fall list, that I have rearranged slightly.
SEEN IN ALL 10 SECTORS (8 species only): mourning dove, turkey vulture, bald eagle, blue jay, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, gray catbird. Why there aren’t more: some sectors were only covered for a few hours. Some lacked saltmarsh or open bay areas. Coverage varied from 3-4 hours hours to 16. One area was covered entirely on foot. The 4 areas with the combined longest hours with most varied and/or favorable habitat recorded species totals of 90, 88, 88 & 99.
SYMBOLISM, NUMBERS MUMBO JUMBO. Canada goose 418 (8: 1-120) represents that CGs had a grand total of 418 seen in 8 sectors with high and low counts of 1 and 120 respectively. If there’s just a # after a species name, no parenthetical stuff, that means the birds were seen by just 1 party. Semipalmated sandpiper 34 (3: 8-15) represents same data types as under Canada goose above, but when just 3 parties found the bird by totaling the low and high (8 + 15 = 23) and subtracting that from the grand total of 34 the total seen by the 3rd party, 11, can be determined. I think indicating these numbers helps to understand the status of a species in this area.
EFFORT: 19 observers (some of them non-birding parents) in 10 sectors, as good coverage as it ever gets hereabouts. Miles by car 397, by foot 28. Hours by car 32, by foot 56. Owling miles 83, owling hours 15. 2:30 A.M. - 7:15 P.M.
MISTAKES: Please let me know if you see any. They’re here probably. Trying to get this report out before I go to Kiptopeke for 16 days on September 25.
SEPTEMBER ODDITIES: Missing boat-tailed grackle a surprise, although I do think they’re declining here. Notice the puny numbers, at least compared to those in the spring, of yellowthroat, crested flycatcher, kingbird, Osprey, towhee, meadowlark, all sparrows except chippie, robins, and blackbirds to some extent. This is normal, happens every September.
WEATHER: A lovely late summer day. clear or fair all day, 62-84 degrees F., winds calm or NE 5-10. Late in the afternoon it became mostly overcast with intermittent rain for c. 15 minutes, occasionally heavy for a few minutes, yet with concomitant sunshine resulting in a nice rainbow off to the east from c. 5:15 P.M. on for the rest of the day.
UN-EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: About the best coverage ever. There was a nice fallout of migrants at Taylor’s Island but not much anywhere else. All 10 sectors contributed unique species. Of the 8 unIDd empidonax it is almost certain some were Traill’s Flycatchers, but none were ID’d as such, so, we’ll just have to let them go unIDd.
ABRREVIATIONS: BNWR, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, EIR, Elliott Island Road. others are some of the observers’ initials.
EFFORT: 19 observers in 10 sectors.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Many thanks to Eric Barnhart for granting access to Hurlock Wastewater Treatment Plant on a day when that facility is closed. Thanks to Matt Whitbeck for facilitating access to BNWR’s Kuehnle Tract. Biggest thanks go to the participants. I received all of their neat, complete lists in less than 3 days after the day of the count.
Best to all. - Harry Armistead, Philadelphia.
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