Date: 5/20/19 4:32 pm
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] 103rd Dorchester County spring bird count, May 4, 2019.
103rd DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND, SPRING BIRD COUNT, SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2019. 146 species found by 11 observers working in 8 areas. No rarities either today or May 11.


SYMBOLISM: Canada goose 210 (7, 5-75) means the CG grand total is 210 with 7 parties’ totals ranging from 5 to 75. If a species doesn’t have any such parenthetical material it is “understood” that only one party found that species. With species seen by 3 parties, such as dunlin 397 (3, 45-292) if the range of counts, 45-292 is totaled (45 plus 292 = 337), if that total, 337, is subtracted from the grand total of 397 the number seen by the 3rd party can be determined, = 60.


WATERFOWL: Canada goose 210 (7, 5-75). wood duck 51 (8, 1-16). gadwall 2 (EIR). mallard 104 (6, 2-50). American black duck 26 (4, 1-12). green-winged teal 2 (EIR). surf scoter 1 (Hooper’s I.). long-tailed duck 1 (Hooper’s I.). bufflehead 1 (GR). ruddy duck 209 (3, 18-165).


northern bobwhite 0. wild turkey 22 (6, 1-12). horned grebe 1 (Hooper’s I.). rock pigeon 5 (3, 1-2). mourning dove 104 (6, 8-33). yellow-billed cuckoo 11 (3, 3-4). chuck-will’s-widow 27 (5, 1-9). whip-poor-will 2 (SS). chimney swift 39 (5, 2-11). ruby-throated hummingbird 15 (6, 1-6).


RALLIDS: clapper rail 40 (probably a new county high count; 3, 6-18). king rail 1(Steele Neck Road). Virginia rail 20 (4, 1-11). common gallinule 8 (2, 2-6).

SHOREBIRDS: black-necked stilt 6 (2, 1-5). black-bellied plover 7. semipalmated plover 172 (3, 1-167). killdeer 21 (5, 1-8). ruddy turnstone 7 (Swan Harbor). sanderling 6 (Swan Harbor). dunlin 397 (3, 45-292). least sandpiper 459 (3, 3-360). pectoral sandpiper 1. semipalmated sandpiper 8 (2, 3-5). short-billed dowitcher 9 (EIR). spotted sandpiper 1. solitary sandpiper 4 (4 parties saw 1 each). lesser yellowlegs 68 (5, 1-33). willet 22 (3, 2-11). greater yellowlegs 185 (6, 2-141).


LARIDS: laughing gull 517 (8, 2-144). ring-billed gull 24 (2, 2-22). herring gull 88 (3, 1-78). great black-backed gull 3 (Hooper’s I.). least tern 3 (3, parties with 1 each). Caspian tern 8 (Hooper’s I.). Forster’s tern 113 (4, 7-76). royal tern 2 (2, 1-1).


the PRIMITIVES, if you will: common loon 12 (2, 1-11). double-crested cormorant 341 (4, 1-325). AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN 1 (Blackwater). brown pelican 36 (Hooper’s I.). least bittern 2 (2, 1-1). great blue heron 101 (7, 1-46). great egret 71 (3, 1-35). snowy egret 32 (4, 1-19). green heron 14 (5, 1-9). black-crowned night heron 1. glossy ibis 10 (2, 3-7).


RAPTORS: black vulture 24 (5, 1-10). turkey vulture 172 (8, 3-60). osprey 145 (7, 1-42). northern harrier 7 (3, 1-4). Cooper’s hawk 1. bald eagle 114 (8, 1-46). red-tailed hawk 7 (5, 1-2). eastern screech-owl 19 (3, 4-10). great horned owl 10 (2, 4-6). barred owl 1.


WOODPECKERS: red-headed woodpecker 36 (probably an all-time county high; 5, 2-13). red-bellied woodpecker 29 (6, 1-10). downy woodpecker 16 (5, 1-5). hairy woodpecker 1. northern flicker 18 (6, 1-8). pileated woodpecker 17 (7, 1-4).


FLYCATCHERS: great crested flycatcher 133 (7, 4-36). eastern kingbird 37 (6, 5-13). eastern wood-pewee 17 (6, 1-7). Acadian flycatcher 6 (3 parties found 2 each). eastern phoebe 1 (locally only nest north of Route 50).


white-eyed vireo 29 (5, 1-12). yellow-throated vireo 3 (3 parties found 1 each). red-eyed vireo 68 (8, 3-17). blue jay 57 (8, 2-19). American crow 108 (7, 3-28). fish crow 23 (5, 1-8). crow unIDd 33 (2, 9-24). horned lark 12 (4, 1-7).


SWALLOWS: purple martin 72 (6, 3-40). tree swallow 118 (6, 5-36). bank swallow 4 (SS; Brookview). barn swallow 231 (7, 8-65).


LI’L SPRITES: Carolina chickadee 49 (7, 2-16). tufted titmouse 95 (8, 2-21). red-breasted nuthatch 1 (SS). brown-headed nuthatch 24 of the little things (6, 2-6). house wren 27 (6, 1-10). marsh wren 28 (4, 2-20). Carolina wren 81 (8, 1-22). blue-gray gnatcatcher 66 (7, 1-27).


THRUSH TYPES: eastern bluebird 51 (7, 1-21). veery 2. wood thrush 28 (6, 2-7). American robin 187 (6, 15-50). gray catbird 24 (5, 2-11). brown thrasher 25 (5, 1-11). northern mockingbird 99 (7, 1-25).


European starling 412 (7, 2-149). house sparrow 29 (4, 3-17). house finch 10 (3, 2-5). American goldfinch 41 (6, 2-14).


SPARROWS: eastern towhee 37 (8, 1-11). chipping sparrow 162 (8, 2-53; all of them utterly harmless and inoffensive). field sparrow 6 (3 parties found 2 each). Savannah sparrow 6 (3, 1-3). grasshopper sparrow 22 (6, 1-14). seaside sparrow 86 (4, 15-30). song sparrow 9 (1-4). swamp sparrow 9 (2, 1-8; locally breeding singers). white-throated sparrow 4 (2, 2-2). white-crowned sparrow 3 (2, 1-2). sparrow unIDd 3.


BLACKBIRD TYPES: eastern meadowlark 7 (declining). orchard oriole 47 (5, 5-22). red-winged blackbird 1,297 (7, 18-669). brown-headed cowbird 179 (7, 2-118). common grackle 798 (8, 5-295). boat-tailed grackle 18 (2, 2-16).


WARBLERS: yellow-breasted chat 6, (3 parties each with 2; I know, I know, I know … not considered a warbler anymore, but listed here just for old times’ sake). ovenbird 70 (8, 1-25). worm-eating warbler 18 (6, 1-6). black-and-white warbler 18 (3, 4-9). prothonotary warbler 6 (2, 1-5). common yellowthroat 182 (7, 8-58). American redstart 2 (2, 1-1). northern parula 7 (4, 1-3). magnolia warbler 1. yellow warbler 4 (3, 1-2). blackpoll warbler 1. black-throated blue warbler 1. pine warbler 60 (8, 2-13). myrtle warbler 15 (3, 1-12). yellow-throated warbler 7 (3, 1-5). prairie warbler 20 (4, 1-10).


the PRETTY ONES: summer tanager 38 (7, 1-10). scarlet tanager 3 (2, 1-2). northern cardinal 184 (7, 3-51). rose-breasted grosbeak 1. blue grosbeak 63 (7, 1-16). indigo bunting 55 (7, 3-25).


DRAMATIS PERSONAE: Sue & Wes Earp, Egypt Road, Blackwater N.W.R., Maple Dam Road (Shorter’s Wharf), Crocheron & associated nearby areas. Harry Armistead, Elliott Island Road in its entirety, Bestpitch, Steele Neck, Kraft Neck, and Lewis Wharf roads. Jeff Effinger & John Lowery, greater Hooper’s I. area, incl. Meekins Neck Rd. Ron Ketter, Madison area. Carl & Lee McCollough, greater Town Point Road area in the Neck District. George Radcliffe, 12 areas in the Neck District, incl. Ross Neck, Spocott Farm, and Horn Point. Suzanne Stitely, county north of Route 50, (Hurlock, N. Tara Rd., Brookview Bridge, Brookview borrow pit, Shiloh Turf Farm, Boy Scout Camp ,Galestown Newhart Mill, and Wesley Church roads). Matt Whitbeck, several restricted areas of Blackwater N.W.R. (Kentuck Swamp, Hayes Farm, McGraws Island & the refuge HQ). Major areas lacking coverage: Taylor’s Island and Cambridge.


APPRECIATION: Every compiler should be favored with participants such as on this count (and that of May 11). All submitted prompt and neat reports, the results of good efforts. Consequently, I was able to get the report of May 11 in very soon to the state coordinator, who indicated our report was the first in the state she had received.


EFFORT: 11 observers in 8 areas. 3:30 A.M. - 8 P.M. miles - 378 by car, 25 on foot. hours - 32 by car, 41 on foot. owling: 5 hours, 39 miles.


COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: a more successful count compared with the official M.O.S. count of May 11 by virtue of their being 11 observers in 8 areas as opposed to 6 persons in 6 areas on May 11. On neither day was there much of a landbird flight as is so often the case here in spring, most of the neotrops and other migrant landbirds going along the Piedmont or in the mountains. Some term this the “coastal hiatus”. Still there were some very satisfying counts of common landbirds, especially breeding species.


In contrast to our “coastal hiatus, if that is what it was, on May 4 George Armistead birded 6 hours in Philadelphia at J.F.K. Park, right next to the sports complex, finding 76 species, a sora and 20 warbler species incl. 6 northern waterthrushes, 25 common yellowthroats, 26 northern parulas, 36 black-and-white warblers, 22 black-throated blue warblers, and a singing orange-crowned warbler. Many of these species were photographed, incl. the OCWA. Last year about the same date he had similar luck there. This park is not too far from the edge of the Piedmont. I think a lot of migrants in spring get somewhat dammed up on the west side of Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay.


There is a suite of birds here that are much easier to find on the 2nd weekend of May than on the first. These include yellow-billed cuckoo, Acadian flycatcher, eastern wood pewee, and indigo bunting. The buntings showed up earlier this spring than usual.


NON-AVIAN TAXA (27 species): reported from the Blackwater, Hooper’s Island, and Elliott Island sectors, in no special order:


white-tailed deer 12, sika deer 31, diamond-backed terrapin 17, Virginia opossum 2, red fox 3, muskrat 4, black racer 1, green frog 6, bullfrog 4, Fowler’s toad 4, southern leopard frog 7, gray squirrel 12 (6 in Vienna), fox squirrel 2 (1 Kraft Neck Road, the other near Savanna Lake), red-spotted purple 4, black swallowtail 1, tiger swallowtail 5, painted turtle 2, raccoon 1, cricket frog several choruses, cabbage white 3, black rat snake 2 (1 of them d.o.r.), tick unIDd 1 (on me; my F.O.Y.), carp 1 (caught by an angler), rough green snake 1, monarch 1, mourning cloak 1, hackberry emperor 1.


WEATHER, pretty good: temperature 69-83. winds calm or E5, then SE or S5, then SW15+, SW10, S10, then calm at finish. skies: fair, then mostly overcast and hazy, then fair for the duration. tides mostly high. Practically no tidal water on any of the roads.


10 SPECIES WITH THE HIGHEST COUNTS: red-winged blackbird 1,297. common grackle 798. laughing gull 517. least sandpiper 459. European starling 412. dunlin 397. double-crested cormorant 341. barn swallow 231. Canada goose 210. ruddy duck 191. bald eagle with 114 comes in 20th.


SPECIES SEEN BY 7 OR 8 PARTIES (31 species). several parties were limited by time and/or were in areas lacking in habitat diversity. So it is not surprising there were not more species shared by the majority of the areas. Those seen in 7 or 8 areas:


Canada goose, wood duck, laughing gull, great blue heron, turkey vulture, osprey, bald eagle (all 8 areas), pileated woodpecker, red-eyed vireo, blue jay, American crow, purple martin, barn swallow, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, northern mockingbird, eastern towhee, chipping sparrow, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, common grackle, ovenbird, common yellowthroat, pine warbler, summer tanager, northern cardinal, blue grosbeak, and indigo bunting.


FAMILY GROUP SPECIES TOTALS: waterfowl 9. shorebirds 16. gulls & terns 4 each. heron types 9. owls 3. raptors 7. flycatchers 5. vireos 3. swallows 4. woodpeckers 6. warblers 15. sparrows 10. none of these especially outstanding but nevertheless respectable.


CORRIGENDUM for my report on the count of May 11. Being only human, I made a mistake in that report: “BIRDS SEEN BY ALL 6 PARTIES 924 species)”. That would be unusual, even in Colombia or Peru. I didn’t hit the upper case, that would have given me a parenthesis instead of the 9, so it should be “(24 species)”. That document is 1865 words or c. 10,000 key strokes (I type with just my 2 index fingers). Hunt and peck, or, as my first sergeant used to say, the biblical method (“seek and ye shall find”). That said, there may be other mistakes in the May 11 report, or in this one. If you notice any please let me know. Thanks.


Best to all. - Harry Armistead, Philadelphia.

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