Date: 6/12/19 6:42 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] lower Eastern Shore, VA mostly, June 6-9, 2019.

JUNE 6, THURSDAY, arrive at Rigby’s Folly at 6:15 P.M. do chores until 7:26. finish installing my collection of Delaware, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia books and have also brought down from Philadelphia 2 chairs and various fireplace gear. Am on the dock 7:30-8:35: pileated woodpecker 1, northern flicker 2, great egret 2, great blue heron 3, bald eagle 1 immature, black vulture 1, cedar waxwing 4, blue jay 1.

eastern cottontail 5, gray squirrel 1, deer 3 (1 wading and in the marsh at the head of Poplar Cove, apparently drinking brackish water). Cope’s gray tree frog 2. No rain in gauge since June 3. has dried up considerable. lawn and drive were mowed Tuesday. hot & humid, fair, calm or SW5 or <5, mid-low 80s. no terrapin. The ospreys on the platform at the head of the cove seem closer, are together more, than “our” couple.

JUNE 7, FRIDAY. eastern cottontail 1. 12 cattle egrets in Field 1. George believes they feed on crickets there. mostly overcast, E15, 74. 1 painted turtle in Frog Hollow.

EGYPT ROAD, DORCHESTER COUNTY, MD. 10:15-11, 77-79, mostly overcast. A little subdued but see or hear: northern bobwhite 2, field sparrow 1, blue grosbeak 3, indigo bunting 2, chipping sparrow 6, great blue heron 1, bald eagle 1, great crested flycatcher 2, common yellowthroat 6, white-eyed vireo 1, yellow-breasted chat 4, eastern bluebird 1, prothonotary warbler 1, and a spectacularly colorful male American goldfinch bathing in a puddle plus 1 painted turtle. Here and at the refuge 3 areas/ponds have good growths of what I think are lotuses, dramatic aquatic vegetation.

BLACKWATER N.W.R., 11-1:30, overcast, E15, 79-81. fresh water impoundments mostly drained and low, tidal waters high. bald eagle 13 (4 nests I’m able to see have 5 young total), osprey 10, orchard oriole 7, common yellowthroat 2, great egret 11, great blue heron 7 (and the young in the woods around Marsh Edge Trail keep up a constant, clapper rail-like clatter), black vulture 1, red-headed woodpecker 1, blue grosbeak 1, indigo bunting 1.

NON-AVIAN CRITTERS: Cope’s gray tree frog 3, painted turtle 11, monarch 1, viceroy 1, tiger swallowtail 1, red-bellied cooter 3.

JUNE 8, SATURDAY, ACCOMAC COUNTY, Virginia, Hallwood NW atlas block. This is in nearly extreme NW Eastern Shore of Virginia and includes such entities (no towns) as Bullbegger Creek, Pitts Creek, Miona, Tunnels Mill, Sawyer Airport (a mowed field area), Holland Road, Neal Palmer Road, Farlow Road, and Miles Road. It has no areas of bay or big open water and includes conventional Eastern Shore forest, some attractive Pocomoke-like bottomland forest/stream (upper Pitts Creek) and, at Bullbegger Creek, brackish marsh.

It’s a quite beautiful, undeveloped area. The upper portions of some of the creeks have lovely, rank freshwater vegetation such as arrow arum, pickerel weed, and other water plants I don’t know. The fields are mostly solar farms, or else have corn (some more than 4 feet high already), Hayman potatoes, no-till soy beans, and wheat. There is some cypress. The swamp magnolias are blooming. This is the 4th year of atlas coverage here. To my shame I have not entered my data (2 days for each year) for 2017-2018. The brackish marsh has a lot of three-square, cattails, and marsh mallow.

7:54 A.M. - 3:24 P.M. and 7 - 8:30 P.M. Not feeling so hot, so I do not rise at 4 A.M. as I’d originally planned. I drive 20.5 miles the first segment, covering all paved roads in the block. That total includes unavoidable backtracking. The evening segment is spent sitting in a chair at the Bullbegger Creek bridge. fair becoming mostly overcast, NE15-10-20, the wind something of a hindrance, 69-80. 61 species (I’ve had as high as 71). winds up to 25 in the evening, when it is 72 dropping to 69 and heavily overcast, auguring for a poor day tomorrow.

NON-AVIAN STUFF: raccoon 1, muskrat 1, 1 unIDd shrew (roadkill), white-tailed deer 6. disappointing not to see any gray squirrels this time (last year on Farlow Road I saw a group of 3 [a triumFURate] cavorting there.) BUTTERFLIES: tiger swallowtail 4, cabbage white 7, black swallowtail 2, unIDd sulphur 4, snout 2 (come right into the car and sit on the dashboard), silver-spotted skipper 1, unIDd lady 1, monarch 2, red-spotted purple 1, unIDd skipper 3, unIDd blackish swallowtails 3. As you can surmise my expertise on butterflies is limited. diamond-backed terrapin 1, red-bellied cooter 1, painted turtle 16. 70 or so of the amber-colored dragonflies (can someone please guess what these might be?).

COMPLETE BIRD LIST: (asterisk, *, indicates all or almost all are singing males on territory) of most interest: bald eagle 17 (incl. 2 young in a nest), red-shouldered hawk 2, Virginia rail 1 (calling spontaneously), all 6 woodpeckers, white-eyed vireo 14*, prothonotary warbler 3*, cedar waxwing 1, blue grosbeak 12*, indigo bunting 25*. odd to miss blue jay and Carolina chickadee. The rest:

Canada goose 139 (incl. 23 goslings), wood duck 8, great blue heron 2, snowy egret 3, great egret 3, cattle egret 3 (consorting with a group of 130 goats), green heron 2, black vulture 4, turkey vulture 45, osprey 3, red-tailed hawk 2, laughing gull 80, Forster’s tern 1, rock pigeon 1, mourning dove 8, chimney swift 2, ruby-throated hummingbird 4, red-headed woodpecker 1, red-bellied woodpecker 2, downy woodpecker 4, hairy woodpecker 1, northern flicker 2, pileated woodpecker 1,

eastern wood-pewee 1*, great-crested flycatcher 6*, eastern kingbird 5, red-eyed vireo 8*, American crow 10, fish crow 3, purple martin 24, tree swallow 1, barn swallow 14, tufted titmouse 5*, Carolina wren 7, eastern bluebird 12 (incl. 6 juveniles), American robin 6, northern mockingbird 5, European starling 55, ovenbird 4*, worm-eating warbler 1*, common yellowthroat 4*, pine warbler 3*, yellow-throated warbler 1*, yellow-breasted chat 2*, eastern towhee 1, chipping sparrow 9*, field sparrow 1*, summer tanager 6*, northern cardinal 7*, red-winged blackbird 40*, common grackle 90, brown-headed cowbird 7, orchard oriole 3*.

JUNE 9, SUNDAY. cool, steady rain, easterly winds at 20 m.p.h. or more, not conducive to great atlassing. After a nice breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express in Pocomoke City (good cheese omelets, turkey sausage, bracing coffee) mosey off to the Chincoteague causeway, which has to be one of the great spectacles in our region at this time of year. I don’t see how the saltmarsh there, of great fecundity, can support so many thousands of birds. A cursory visit so probably miss some.

whimbrel 1, laughing gull 1000s, bald eagle 7 (like to sit on the blinds), black-necked stilt 3, and these species: osprey, willet, double-crested cormorant, great and snowy egrets, little blue and tricolored herons (incl. 1 d.o.r.), glossy and white ibises in big numbers, black skimmer (20), common tern (small colony in sight from the Queen Sound turnoff), American oystercatcher (2 seem to be incubating at Queen Sound), royal and Forster’s terns, boat-tailed grackle, barn swallow, herring and great black-backed gulls, clapper rail (3 seen, 2 others heard), and fish crow. Surprised to see no brown pelicans. Off to the north in an area with dense Baccharis halimifolia is where many of the heron types seem to be nesting.

Best to all. - Harry Armistead, Philadelphia.

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