Date: 5/1/19 7:31 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Blackwater & Ferry Neck, April 27-28, 2019.
FERRY NECK & BLACKWATER N.W.R., APRIL 27-28, 2019.


APRIL 27, SATURDAY. Lots of laughing gulls seen from Route 309. a wild turkey singleton opposite Town & Country, Route 33 near Easton. RIGBY’S FOLLY. Arrive at 5:15. 70-65, fair but with clouds overspreading from the northwest, SW 25+ becoming NW5+. 0.35” in the rain gauge since April 22. bothersome (is there any other kind?) mosquitos for the 1st time this year.


bufflehead 1. snowy egret 2. great blue heron 4. osprey 6 (a nest has been constructed on a neighbor’s boat lift; if it were my boat lift I’m not certain WHAT I’d do). 1 adult bald eagle over the house. Forster’s tern 3. barn swallow 1.


mammals: gray squirrel 3, eastern cottontail 3, red fox 1, 19 deer (10 in Field 4, 3 in Field 2, 6 in Field 1).


The “wheat” in field 1 is high enough now so that when I drive across to get to Lucy Point it brushes the car undercarriage. Today I bring down from our Philadelphia house: 2 big aluminum barrels, bird food, all the remaining tools (13) that have long handles, a goat skull, bird feeders & a “shepherd’s crook” from which to hang them, a pair of Scimitar Oryx horns, 2 watering cans, and several deer skulls with impressive antlers plus some unimpressive single antlers. That helps, but our move to Old City in Philadelphia will not be complete until way into the summer. 10 S. Letitia St., Apt. 202, Philadelphia, PA 19106.


APRIL 28, SUNDAY. BLACKWATER, guided birding tour, 6:45-2:20 (the tour per se 8-1). 56-72, overcast then mostly overcast then fair, SW15 then NW10, tidal water average height, fresh water very high (except for Pool 1 that has been drained some). Nice to run into Tom Horton and his Salisbury University students at the Route 335 bridge kayak launch site. They have a marvelous person as their mentor and teacher.


19 participants: Bill & Sarah Adams, Harry Armistead, Ellen & Tom Cimino, Heather & Martin Ford, J. D. Foster, Thomas Kelly, Eliane Kim, Ellie Ludvigsen, Tom Miller, Brian & Jennie Reidy, Julie Schoch, Doug Schuetz, David Singer, Erin Tague, Michele Whitbeck. A most congenial crew.


As usual the list below includes some birds seen before or after the official tour as well as elsewhere (along Egypt Road or in Cambridge), but not all of those designated as so.


complete list (65 species): AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN 1 (we assume it is the disabled bird, but shortly afterwards it is nowhere in sight, perhaps, to our astonishment, having flown the coup. ?). double-crested cormorant 2. great blue heron 12. great egret 8. green heron 1. mallard 6, Canada goose 6. northern shoveler 3. American black duck 2. wood duck 3 (Egypt Road).


turkey vulture 16. black vulture 1. Cooper’s hawk 1 (being mobbed by smaller birds). osprey 12. bald eagle 22. northern bobwhite 0. COMMON GALLINULE 2 (killer looks at close range looking down from the observation site platform; striking red and yellow frontal shields). Virginia rail 2 (TC).


greater yellowlegs 12. lesser yellowlegs 26. solitary sandpiper 1. least sandpiper 50. killdeer 2. dunlin 1. laughing gull 315 (most all from Egypt Road). Forster’s tern 3. barred owl 1 (good view at the “prothonotary spot”, Egypt Road).


rock pigeon 1. mourning dove 4. red-headed woodpecker 4. eastern kingbird 7. great crested flycatcher 4. fish crow 1. American crow 6. blue jay 4. Carolina chickadee 2. tufted titmouse 3. brown-headed nuthatch 2. tree swallow 14 (2 seen copulating). barn swallow 6. purple martin 0.


Carolina wren 8. house wren 2. northern mockingbird 5. American robin 12. eastern bluebird 9. wood thrush 0. European starling 40. red-eyed vireo 0. prothonotary warbler 0. myrtle warbler 4. pine warbler 2. yellow-breasted chat 1 (Egypt Road). common yellowthroat 4. ovenbird 1. worm-eating warbler 1.


summer tanager 1. field sparrow 3 (Egypt Road). white-crowned sparrow 1 (at the Visitor Center feeder; I think this is a bird in its 2nd year, an immature coming into adult plumage; not QUITE full fig yet, but getting there). white-throated sparrow 1. chipping sparrow 8. Savannah sparrow 1. blue grosbeak 5. northern cardinal 4.


orchard oriole 3. brown-headed cowbird 1 female. red-winged blackbird, who knows?, maybe 80, constant RWBL song; constant, already. common grackle 75. eastern meadowlark 0. house sparrow 6. American goldfinch 2.


NON-AVIAN TAXA: eastern cottontail 1. painted turtle 5 (2 on Key Wallace Drive). northern red-bellied cooter 1 (Pool 5). common watersnake 1. tiger swallowtail 1. black swallowtail 3. 1 red-banded hairstreak.


RIGBY’S FOLLY. most of the day is in Dorchester County but I get in a few hours here. NON-AVIAN TAXA: diamond-backed terrapin 144 in sight simultaneously out at Lucy Point, 8 seen from our dock in Poplar Cove for a total of 154 of these fine chelonians. painted turtle 4 at the vernal pool in Woods 4. 3 gray squirrels. 3 bunny wabbits. 2 little baby red fox kits on the driveway (cute, but will grow up to be a pain-in-the-neck, especially if you nest on the ground). 2 Fowler’s toads (almost underfoot, also cute, fat and pudgy with beautiful black and gold eyes). 3 Cope’s gray tree frogs heard at widely-separated spots. question mark 1.


birdies: chuck-will’s-widow 1, surf scoter 9, snowy egret 1, bald eagle 2, common loon 4, great blue heron 3. Forster’s tern 7. At Lucy Point it is dead calm around 4 P.M. with visibility as good as it gets, overcast. Considering the excellent conditions, the Choptank River mouth continues to be pretty bleak. Only an hour later it gets totally clear and sunny with scary winds of 30+ m.p.h. Looking out my bedroom window after a nap and watching the branches swirling around wildly it is one of those times when you wonder if a tree is going to fall on the house.


No nuthatches this time. Guess they headed north. Gone are the days when I could intone: “there’s a nutty nuthatch and a screwy squirrel.” But the squirrels remain.


DORCHESTER COUNTY bird counts of May 4 & 11, Saturdays. Still some areas that need coverage. If interested please call 410.745.2764 (landline). Liz and I will be there from late May 2 until early May 13.


Best to all. - Harry Armistead, Philadelphia.

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