Date: 4/24/19 9:00 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Ferry Neck, Easter period, April 18-22, 2019.
FERRY NECK, APRIL 18-22, 2019. correction: new address (at the end of this report). Daughters Anne and Mary spend the weekend with us along with their respective children Alexis, and Lucas and David. Loblolly pine pollen covers everything.


Excellent documentary: PATRINOMIO. (described at the end here)


ABBREVIATION: I.S.S. = seen in sight simultaneously.


APRIL 18, THURSDAY. Arrive at Rigby’s Folly 4:15. 81-69 (68 at 10:25 P.M.), S or SW 15+, fair, high tide above normal (due to southerly winds and a minus-one-day full moon). Vegetation advanced 1-2 weeks, looks like it does in a normal early May.


In Field 4 a red fox, 6 deer, a red-tailed hawk, and a gray squirrel. From the dock in Poplar Cove: ruddy duck 5, common loon 1 in full, dazzling breeding plumage (with a fish), 12 n. diamond-backed terrapin.


Out at Lucy Point 5:45-6:30, considerable chop complicating visibility: ruddy duck 1, Forster’s tern 17, double-crested cormorant 1, osprey 3, ring-billed gull 1, n. diamond-backed terrapin 4, turkey vulture 3, bald eagle 1 immature. No boats.


A great blue heron at Frog Hollow. 3 gray squirrels in the yard. A painted turtle in Woods 4. 1.1” in the rain gauge since April 14. Fields still drivable. Liz sees a mourning cloak.


APRIL 19, GOOD FRIDAY. Mostly overcast becoming full overcast, 68-76-68, S or SW 20, then SE 35. white-throated sparrow 4, bald eagle 1 adult. From our dock, 2 hours in the morning: greater yellowlegs 1, common loon 1, horned grebe 1, mallard 2, ruddy duck 7, bald eagle 1 immature, snowy egret 1, great egret 1, great blue heron 1, double-crested cormorant 7, Forster’s tern 2, laughing gull 2, Canada goose 2, osprey 7 incl. a female in brooding attitude on our nesting platform, barn swallow 4, American crow 4, turkey vulture 6, and black vulture 4 plus 1 Cope’s gray tree frog heard.


Lucy Point, 10:50-11:20, purple martin 3, surf scoter 2, osprey 6, double-crested cormorant 1, Forster’s tern 1, red-bellied woodpecker 1 male, tufted titmouse 1, white-throated sparrow 1, northern cardinal 1, and

blue jay 1.


Some rain after 2:30, < 0.1”. red fox on the E side of Field 2. A Cope’s gray tree frog calling on the edge of Field 4 X Woods 2. Six painted turtles basking in Woods 4. four rock pigeons as flybys. 4 gray squirrels. Anne sees an eastern cottontail. From the dock: 6-6:45 P.M.: Forster’s tern 20 I.S.S., cedar waxwing 13, bald eagle 2 adults, and 3 n. diamond-backed terrapin.


Dusk drive, 7-8:30 P.M., 68 degrees F. RISING to 70, overcast, S or SE 20-25, no rain. Fourteen deer in Field 4 and 2 flyby wood ducks. At Bellevue, osprey 3 (2 chasing an adult bald eagle), common loon 1, ruddy duck 2, and turkey vulture 7 plus 4 deer. A great horned owl flushes along the driveway between Woods 2 and Woods 5, then perches right overhead affording an excellent look. There are many spring peeper choruses all along Ferry Neck Road, some of them deafening, plus one southern leopard frog calling from Woods 4.


In the gathering dusk there are many frogs and toads on the still-warm paving, frozen in the high beams of my car, making for a slalom course. Often this is the case in early evening along Elliott Island Road, these creature showing up as quite light-colored, look like leaves. I dismount and am able to touch a peeper that doesn’t move until then. The choruses of Fowler’s toads cut in a little later, from 8:15 onwards. See 2 bats in the gloaming. Curiously NO Cope’s gray tree frogs in this dusk drive. Listen intently for chuck-will’s-widow with no luck, although one year I heard one as early as April 16. This dusk drive a nice crepuscular experience.


APRIL 20, SATURDAY. Mostly overcast, or completely overcast, then becoming fair, 64-73, 0.8” rain most all from last night, LOTS of standing water in the fields, the ditches full, and the runoff from the fields, a real current, is of gratifyingly-clear water, S 15.


2 sessions on the dock. First, a couple of hours in the morning, to wit 9:30-11:30: bufflehead 4, ruddy duck 9 at anchor (4 males), red-breasted merganser 1 female-plumaged, white-eyed vireo heard singing, pine warbler 1, mallard 1, bald eagle 1, a sharp-shinned hawk harassing a Cooper’s hawk (THAT is playing with fire), black vulture 4, common loon 2, great blue heron 1, double-crested cormorant 4, common grackle 30, osprey 6, Canada goose 2, barn swallow 3, purple martin 2, eastern bluebird 1 (singing), and snowy egret 2 plus a Cope’s gray tree frog.

Later in the morning: Forster’s tern 7, horned grebe 1, and n. diamond-backed terrapin 1.


2nd session from the dock, 4-5:30, fish crow 2 (both carrying nesting material up somewhere to the head of the cove, the little saltmarsh gut), great egret 1, an additional sharp-shinned hawk, cedar waxwing 3, a male osprey with a filefish (needlefish, or whatever they’re called, c. 1.5’ in length, Forster’s tern 11, chimney swift 1 and 4 n. diamond-backed terrapin.


Elsewhere on the old place. Mary finds a sluggish LUNA MOTH on the grass at the base of the tulip tree (yellow poplar), only the 4th record for here), pale green, a striking insect. 2 eastern cottontails. One of the 5 gray squirrels a “snowshoes variant”.


On the driveway by Field 4 a c. 10 lb. snapping turtle and in the ditch nearby a spotted turtle. 4 deer in Field 4, 2 in Field 6. Cut the lower limbs of 3 loblolly pines to afford a better view of Field 4.


APRIL 21, EASTER SUNDAY, fair to clear then fair again, 56-65, SW or S 10-15. It’s been years since I played the role of the Easter bunny, this time for the 3 grandchildren. It’s good to be back. Family leave at 1:30.


northern rough-winged swallow 2, tree swallow 1, barn swallow 4, purple martin 4, greater yellowlegs 1, bald eagle 3, chipping sparrow 1 (sings a lot), white-eyed vireo (another singer), lots of white-throated sparrow song, horned grebe 2, ruddy duck 6, and red-tailed hawk 2 plus, in late morning, 15 n. diamond-backed terrapin and a Cope’s gray tree frog.


Lucy Point, 3:50-5:35, fair, visibility good, 69-74, SW5, not QUITE the dead calm I like to have here. Forster’s tern 17 I.S.S., common loon 6, horned grebe 2, double-crested cormorant 16, osprey 5, bald eagle 2, mallard 7, turkey vulture 7, bufflehead 15, surf scoter 47, purple martin 4 (over Holland Point, where there are 2 martin houses), ring-billed gull 1, laughing gull 2, tufted titmouse 1, fish crow 1, great blue heron 2, Carolina wren 1, and northern cardinal 1 plus 74 n. diamond-backed terrapin I.S.S. and a Cope’s gray tree frog.


The Choptank River mouth as seen from Lucy Point continues to be disappointing. Look at the anemic (pathetic, even) numbers above. Below are some historical maxima from there, demonstrating how things have gone down hill since then, even considering that many birds departed early this spring for septentrionalian climes:


common loon 38 on April 24, 1982 and 40 on April 20, 1984. horned grebe, never recovered, 383 on April 19, 1980, 350 on April 17, 1966, and 185 on April 24,1982. surf scoter, 2,560 on April 13, 1990, 2,250 on April 15, 1990, and 270 as late as April 27, 1996, and April 24, 1999, and, finally, 190 as late as May 6, 1990. bufflehead, 400 as late as April 20, 1984, 47 in Poplar Cove April 28, 1996, and 20 on May 1, 1978.


A large fish jumps twice, only c. 25 foot offshore. 3 sailboats, 3 power boats, and 1 workboat (the ‘Otter’). From Lucy Point go right back to the dock where I see 57 more terrapin at 6:15, I.S.S., for a grand total of 131 today.


APRIL 22, MONDAY. Leave at 9:06 A.M. A wild turkey at Frog Hollow. The usual getaway breakfast at Denny’s in Easton, the best hash browns on the planet.


PATRIMONIO. www.patrimoniofilm.com

A film by Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale, PATRIMONIO tells the story of a small coastal town in Mexico and its 2½-year battle against an American mega-development.


An excellent documentary Liz and I saw in company with Sarah and her husband, Gordon Chaplin, an old school friend. Gordon has been a part-time resident of Baja California for over 30 years. The developers were unethical and unscrupulous, threatening to completely disenfranchise the local fishermen at Todos Santos in Baja California. Film has a largely triumphant, successful ending. Highly recommend. Not sure of how it gets distributed but worth the effort to find it. As I best understand it “patrimonio” means: legacy.


Best to all. - Harry Armistead, 8-10 S. Letitia St., Apt. 202, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

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