Date: 9/23/19 6:07 pm
From: Meredith Bell via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [VA-bird] VSO Chincoteague field trip September 20-22
Hi VA-Birders,

The weather was magnificent for the VSO field trip to Chincoteague on
September 20-22, and we tallied 122 species (see complete list below). It
was exciting to return after missing last year due to the mandatory
evacuation related to the hurricane. We had many first-timers among the 85
participants, and several people got at least one life bird.

Many thanks to field trip leaders Jerry Via, Bill Akers, Andrew Rapp and
Meredith Bell, who worked hard to ensure everyone had a great
experience. Friday
evening we met to overview the weekend, and we enjoyed a very informative
presentation by Jerry Via on migration paths and how birds are affected by

We made adjustments to the itinerary due to drastic change in habitat at
the Woodland Trail and the Wildlife Loop. Also, mosquitoes were brutal, as
usual, on Assateague. We changed the Warbler Walk to the Island Nature
Trail in Chincoteague, where mosquitoes were not a problem. We cancelled
the birding and biking trip around the loop, and those participants joined
the trail walk. Thanks to Larry Meade for enhancing Saturday with
identification of butterflies and dragonflies, and to Andrew Rapp for
co-leading this trip on Sunday. While the southerly winds did not bring in
the hoped-for woodland birds, we still had some nice species over the two
mornings – a family of Red-headed Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches,
several American Redstarts and Northern Parula, a Black-throated Blue
Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

On the popular Saturday AM boat trip, led by Bill Akers with excellent
assistance from Andrew Rapp and Mike Schultz, the 60 participants enjoyed
close-up views of many species. Highlights were: Seaside Sparrow, Marbled
Godwit, Least Sandpiper, Clapper Rail, Bald Eagles, a Merlin sitting on
driftwood at eye level, and a variety of herons, egrets and terns.

Jerry Via led the two bus trips to Wash Flats, assisted by Andrew Rapp
(again!) and Doug and Sally Pfeiffer. The 25 passengers on each trip
enjoyed some of the best sightings we’ve had there in several years,
including: Gull-billed Tern, Whimbrel, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt,
Short-billed Dowitcher, and White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers.

Ducks were in short supply this year, but we did have an interesting
Black Duck Hybrid on the Wildlife Loop.

At sunrise on Sunday, two dozen participants gathered at the beach to
celebrate the lives of two very special people we’ve lost in the past two
years: “Nultie” Wiseman, mother of Mary Foster, and Bob Livingston, husband
of Lucinda Jennings. Those who knew these individuals shared memories of
their experiences. We began this in 2015 to honor Ruth Beck and Peggy
Opengari, who always loved to watch the sun rise at the beach during the
Chincoteague trip.

We’ve already locked in the 2020 dates, September 18-20. Mark your calendar
now and plan to join us for spectacular birding at a remarkable place!

Meredith Bell

VSO Field Trips Co-chair

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Blue-winged Teal


American Black Duck

Wild Turkey

Rock Pigeon

Eurasian Collard-Dove

Mourning Dove

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Clapper Rail

Virginia Rail

Black-necked Stilt

American Avocet

American Oystercatcher

Black-bellied Plover

American Golden Plover

Semipalmated Plover



Marbled Godwit

Ruddy Turnstone

Red Knot

Stilt Sandpiper



Least Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher

Spotted Sandpiper

Lesser Yellowlegs


Greater Yellowlegs

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Gull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern

Common Tern

Forster's Tern

Royal Tern

Black Skimmer

Double-crested Cormorant

Brown Pelican

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Tricolored Heron

Cattle Egret

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

White Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture


Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Bald Eagle

Great Horned Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker


Peregrine Falcon

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Phoebe

White-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown-headed Nuthatch

House Wren

Carolina Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

House Sparrow

House Finch

American Goldfinch

Chipping Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Seaside Sparrow


Eastern Meadowlark

Baltimore Oriole

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle

Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart

Northern Parula

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Pine Warbler

Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal

Blue Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting
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