Date: 11/2/17 8:14 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] lower Eastern Shore, October 20-30, 2017.
LOWER EASTERN SHORE, OCTOBER 20-30, 2017. Bombay Hook N.W.R., Rigby’s Folly, Tilghman Island, Neck District, Hooper’s Island, Blackwater N.W.R. & environs. Liz & Harry Armistead.


ABBREVIATION: cormorant = double-crested cormorant.


OCTOBER 20, FRIDAY. BOMBAY HOOK N.W.R., DE, with Diane & Thos Leonards, Suze and Earl Segal, 12:45-4:30. Low water in impoundments, high tide becoming low, nice and muddy at end, high 60s, NW15, clear. Good shorebird show. Really rough estimates, not careful at all:


American avocet 300, black-bellied plover 100, dunlin 2,000, snow goose 40 (from the looks of their flying behavior appeared to have JUST arrived), American black duck 80, short-billed dowitcher 40, greater yellowlegs 40, Canada goose 400, northern shoveler 200, lesser yellowlegs 2, mallard 10, laughing gull 60, ring-necked duck 2, glossy ibis 2, green-winged teal 40, northern pintail 100, ruddy duck 4, northern harrier 6, great blue heron 4, great egret 4, bald eagle 7, snowy egret 1, song sparrow 2, cormorant 6, ruby-crowned kinglet 2, house sparrow 6, turkey vulture 14, and eastern bluebird 1.


flutterbys: cloudless sulphur 7, monarch 3, buckeye 3, cabbage white 2. Afterwards we all dine at Out of the Fire in Easton, MD.


OCTOBER 21, SATURDAY. RIGBY’S FOLLY, Ferry Neck, Armistead property in Talbot County, MD. Very dry, Varmint Pool and Waterthrush Pond with no water, a mere 0.4” in rain gauge since October 7, 60-73, clear becoming fair, calm or light & variable. Just take it easy, recover from a lot of driving yesterday. Liz’s shoulder and arm still bothering her from a bad fall earlier in the month.


Canada goose 275, turkey vulture 14, Cooper’s hawk 3, bald eagle 3, laughing gull 71, Forster’s tern 9, ruby-crowned kinglet 2, northern flicker 4, white-throated sparrow 20. Also, 4 gray squirrels, a painted turtle at Frog Hollow, 2 southern leopard frogs at The Pond, and a last black swallowtail caterpillar on the parsley.


OCTOBER 22, SUNDAY. TILGHMAN ISLAND, 11-noon after breakfast at Two If By Sea. fog then mostly clear, low 70s, calm or light & variable. Run into Jeff Effinger and Jan Reese. What I see (they see more, are here before, during & after us):


GREAT CORMORANT 1 ad., cormorant 300, turkey vulture 70, black vulture 4, Cooper’s hawk 3, red-tailed hawk 4, sharp-shinned hawk 2, laughing gull 200, Forster’s tern 30, eastern bluebird 4, northern rough-winged swallow 1 (JE), common nighthawk (JR,JE), surf scoter 55, brown pelican 2, and zero for common loon, osprey & bald eagle. monarch 37, buckeye 2, cloudless sulphur 3.


RIGBY’S FOLLY, from 1 P.M. onwards: common loon (1 with a hogchoker), Canada goose 91 in Poplar Cove, 1 orange-billed and large, pale gray domestic goose capable of flight (seen earlier in summer), 4 bald eagles. 2 great horned owls call 5:45-6:05 P.M. from tiny Woods 8. gray squirrel 10 (to see this many the scampermetric [an Anna Stunkel term] pressure has to be JUST RIGHT). monarch only 3. 2 deer at bend of driveway and in Field 4.


BELLEVUE, just after sunset 360 laughing gulls roosting out in the middle of the Tred Avon with 2 common loons, one of which utters the start of the yodel call.


OCTOBER 23, MONDAY. Mostly chores and errands. bald eagle 2, royal tern 1, Forster’s tern 3, gray squirrel 3, 2 does and a 4-point buck. mostly overcast, SE10-15, up to 77 degrees F.


OCTOBER 24, TUESDAY. NECK DISTRICT (mostly Hills Point, Ragged Point, Cassons Neck & Ross Neck roads). 12:15-3:15, low 70s, SW10-15, clear of fair, high tide > 1’ above normal. This is a lovely, rural area with nice forests, many fallow fields, tasteful 2nd homes, and big farms. I need to go here more often.


A lost cause (the best kind) hoping for the 3 adult BROWN BOOBIES, reported seen October 2, by Sheryl & Wes McNair, who I interviewed briefly about this on October 4. No such luck for me at this late date, but do see:


bald eagle 10, osprey 1, eastern bluebird 19, Forster’s tern 5, royal tern 1, American kestrel 1, killdeer 2, cormorant 8, great blue heron 1, myrtle warbler 3, palm warbler 1, chipping sparrow 1, turkey vulture 11, black vulture 1, blue jay 3, laughing gull 85, American crow 12, European starling 40, northern mockingbird 3, and common grackle 1 plus 3 monarchs and 3 buckeyes.


Right where Hills Point Road skirts Brannock Bay is a nice little tidal gut, heading straight back into the mainland southeast 100 yards or so. Here there are several patches of Salicornia, the brightest I’ve ever seen, brilliant vermillion.


Back at RIGBY’S FOLLY: 4 bald eagles (incl. 2 immatures calling and low over head), 2 sharp-shinned hawks, 13 Forster’s terns, 1 royal tern, and 2 common loons low and over the house. 0.2” of rain last night. Mostly overcast, SW10, 67 at the start. At moon set, or close to, at c. 9:40 P.M. the sky is astoundingly clear and the moon a very bright, almost blinding pale gold, perhaps only 5 degrees above the horizon, looking for all the world as if it is going to set right on Field 1. “ … And pluck till time and times are done,/ The silver apples of the moon,/ the golden apples of the sun … “ Yeats, ‘The song of wandering Aengus’.


OCTOBER 25, WEDNESDAY. RIGBY’S FOLLY, conduct a “big sit” out on the lawn at the edge of Field 1, 9:30-12. 58-62, mostly overcast, NW15. complete list:


rusty blackbird 16, myrtle warbler 16, American crow 3, eastern bluebird 45, turkey vulture 22, bald eagle 4, black vulture 1, cedar waxwing 38 (in groupings of 5, 16 & 17), American robin 4, Cooper’s hawk 1, sharp-shinned hawk 2, laughing gull 9, common grackle 2, Canada goose 120, American goldfinch 6, red-winged blackbird 16, tree swallow 4, Carolina wren 1, brown-headed cowbird 4, blue jay 3, white-throated sparrow 1, and European starling 20 plus 2 monarchs, a cabbage white, a painted lady, and a buckeye.


Also today: 4 gray squirrels and a great horned owl calling from the west side of Field 1.


OCTOBER 26, THURSDAY. Another big sit, this one longer and more interesting, 8-1:15, NW15-20, 52-59, mostly overcast becoming fair, then clear. 30 species, complete list:


bald eagle 24 (most all slowly circling overhead, high, then disappearing to the south; this count the result of several hundred scans of c. 180 degrees to the south; 2nd highest property count), cormorant 102 (highest fall count for here), eastern bluebird 70, cedar waxwing 54 (groupings of 16, 9, 3, 3, 11, 2 & 10), American robin 32, American crow 9, blue jay 5, black vulture 1, turkey vulture 65, sharp-shinned hawk 3, northern harrier 1,


eastern phoebe 1, eastern meadowlark 4, red-winged blackbird 30, Canada goose 36, common loon 2, laughing gull 11, herring gull 3, myrtle warbler 8, unIDd ducks 30 (3 distant flocks), European starling 40, northern flicker 1, tree swallow 40, American goldfinch 6, chipping sparrow 1, yellow-bellied sapsucker 1, brown-headed cowbird 2, mourning dove 1, Cooper’s hawk 2, Carolina wren 1, ruby-crowned kinglet 1, American kestrel 1, and merlin 2.


And these flutterbys: monarch 11 (a good fall for them), buckeye 2, question mark 1, and American lady 1.


Elsewhere in the yard Liz sees 15 ruby-crowned kinglets, a white-breasted nuthatch, a chipping sparrow at a feeder, a snowy egret (also seen Oct. 22 & 23), and a white-throated sparrow.


OCTOBER 27, FRIDAY. Liz & I hit several spots in DORCHESTER COUNTY. EGYPT ROAD: 1 American kestrel. Most of Wildlife Drive at BLACKWATER is closed for the deer hunt but we do see a fat woodchuck and 4 great egrets. SWAN HARBOR, 11:50-12:30, clear, SW10+, low 60s, high tide lowering. sanderling 11, dunlin 55, black-bellied plover 1, bald eagle 5, brown pelican 20, cormorant 55, merlin 1, herring gull 45, black vulture 4, Canada goose 375, turkey vulture 6, killdeer 1, golden-crowned kinglet 1, Forster’s tern 8, eastern bluebird 4, song sparrow 2, and killdeer 1 plus 3 monarchs.


UPPER HOOPER’S ISLAND. 1-2:30 & 3:10-3:30. lunch at Old Salty’s. brown pelican 60 (at Opossum Island), herring gull 255, great black-backed gull 60, Forster’s tern 135, bald eagle 5, cormorant 125, turkey vulture 20, belted kingfisher 1, great egret 2, great blue heron 1, laughing gull 80, European starling 85, royal tern 7, and brown-headed cowbird 450 plus 5 monarchs and 2 buckeyes.


MIDDLE HOOPER’S ISLAND, 2:30-3:10, low tide. Forster’s tern 8, great black-backed gull 20, herring gull 55, great egret 2, bald eagle 2, cormorant 7, turkey vulture 3, royal tern 2, and great blue heron 1 plus one monarch. Back in TLABOT COUNTY 500 Canada Geese in one of John Swaine’s fields. Four gray squirrels at Rigby’s Folly plus 3 deer.


OCTOBER 28, SATURDAY. home cookin’; just take it easy. RIGBY’S FOLLY. 60-71, SE10-15 then SW15, clear then fair. fish crow 2 (only ones seen [and heard] during this entire period), Forster’s tern 13, bald eagle 6, laughing gull 165 (best one-time count; hawking over Anderby Hall Road area), white-breasted nuthatch 1, and 3 each of: Cooper’s, sharp-shinned & red-tailed hawks, and black vulture. In Poplar Cove: 160 Canada geese. butterflies: just 1 monarch, 2 buckeyes. Seen from the dock: 7 medium-sized sea nettles, as many as I’ve seen all year. Seems late. An eastern cottontail along Gunner’s Range driveway.


OCTOBER 29, SUNDAY. Guided birding tour at BLACKWATER N.W.R., 7:30-11:30, rain, sometimes heavy at start, calm becoming windy SE15+, rain stops, overcast, all water levels high. Considering the heavy rain early on I expect no one to show for the tour, but Youna Vandaele and Lionel Fernandes show, from France (Bordeaux).


Complete list (some seen before or after the official tour, or else elsewhere, such as in Cambridge): cormorant 21 immatures (Sewards), great egret 7, great blue heron 6, Canada goose 500, mallard 250, American black duck 7, northern shoveler 14, northern pintail 60, green-winged teal 10, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN 9 (in groupings of 3, 2 & 4; 3 fly right overhead and low along the drive), turkey vulture 8, sharp-shinned hawk 1, northern harrier 5, bald eagle 18, Wilson’s snipe 1, laughing gull 150, ring-billed gull 15, herring gull 6 (Cambridge), great black-backed gull 6 (Cambridge),


Forster’s tern 22, mourning dove 2, northern mockingbird 4, European starling 125, yellow-rumped (myrtle) warbler 20, red-winged blackbird 500 (5 of them singing), common grackle 12, house sparrow 6, song sparrow 7 (2 of them sining), American crow 8, blue jay 2, eastern bluebird 12, belted kingfisher 1, ruddy duck 6, American coot 1, dunlin 6, and wild turkey 16 (Egypt Road).


NON-AVIAN TAXA: a tiny green tree frog (at the Visitor Center), 1 fox squirrel (seen by Lionel), 1 large snapping turtle (loafing in the ditch on the north side of Wildlife Drive just past the end of Pool 1).


RIGBY’S FOLLY: 0.95” in the rain gauge as of 12:30 P.M. Badly-needed rain. overcast, low 60s, more rain, SE15+. No sightings except 20 tree swallows.


OCTOBER 30, MONDAY. RIGBY’S FOLLY. 0.6” more in the rain gauge since 12:30 P.M. yesterday. Our ponds and ditches, bone dry 2 days ago, now brimming over. Good. NW25-30+, Choptank River a mass of seething whitecaps, fair, 48 degrees F. A mess of fallen black locust branches and 1 large trunk near the Pumphouse. I’ll deal with that later. Leave at 9:15 A.M.


On the way home to Pennsylvania: Cordova, 300 brown-headed cowbirds. Ruthsburg, 1 bald eagle. Route 301 milepost 107 a bald eagle, milepost 123 perhaps 1,000 cowbirds. Middletown, DE, 2 bald eagles plus 300 Canada geese in a storm drain SW of town. Cabela’s S of Wilmington, an adult Bald Eagle.


ADAK ADDICTION. My audiologist, Barbara Haas, and her husband, Franklin (Frank), of Churchtown, PA, are top Pennsylvania birders. I asked Barbara how many times they have been to Adak in the Aleutians. 21, some of these in the fall !!!. Barbara designed the hearing aids I use for birding.


GAIL MACKIERNAN. Noticed a letter this prominent Maryland birder wrote in the Washington Post, October 25, Wednesday, page A18, “letters to the Editor”, concerning our President’s condolence call to Myeshia Johnson. Well put, Gail.


TANGIER ISLAND CORRIGENDUM: In the list for there, September 25, there is a confusing passage: … “ brown pelican 80, 125, great black-backed gull 40 … “ It’s about that “125”, sports fans: those 125 were cormorants, of the double-crested persuasion.


Best to all. - Harry Armistead, Philadelphia.

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