Date: 11/5/19 8:13 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Ferry Neck, Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2019.
FERRY NECK, TALBOT COUNTY, MD, October 31-November 4, 2019.


OCTOBER 31, THURSDAY. near routes 301 X 481 2 bald eagles. At the little square pond on the west side of Route 309 near Route 404, 2 great egrets, seen here also on Oct. 28 (and 1 on Oct. 26). 22 wild turkeys at Bellevue X Ferry Neck roads at 2:06 P.M.


RIGBY’S FOLLY, Armistead property, Ferry Neck, Talbot County, arrive at 2:13, mostly overcast, south 20-35, 74 degrees F., tide 1+ foot above normal high tide. only a trace of rain in the gauge since Oct. 28. A lot of higher-than-normal tides this fall. has dried up much. few birds around:


bald eagle 4, sharp-shinned hawk 1, common loon 1, mallard 20, eastern bluebird 20, Canada goose all of 16,


laughing gull 310 at 6:19 P.M., a most impressive, dense, low, wheeling mass, swirling, seemingly confused by the weather, over and to the west of Edwards Point, as if trying to decide where to roost, then streaming in a compact line out of Irish Creek to the mouth of Choptank River, an impressive spectacle and one of the higher counts for here (but cf. c. 890 Oct. 29, 1999), reminiscent of how tree swallows act in the fall just before roosting.


also: Fowler’s toad 1, gray squirrel 1. Very many of what I refer to as mosquito hawks today and during the previous visit, too. Some get in the house.


NOVEMBER 1, FRIDAY. clear, cool, 45-54, NW20-15. 0.5” of rain fell last night. Lots of standing water again in the fields. An adult bald eagle RIGHT OVER Graul’s supermarket in St. Michaels and an imm. over our Field 4. No food in the feeder for a couple of months but 2 titmice, a chickadee, and a gray squirrel turn up within an hour after I fill the feeders today. tree swallow 20. eastern bluebird 2. one buckeye. A perfect sunset over the western shore. Daughter Mary arrives with her boys, Lucas and David.


NOVEMBER 2, SATURDAY. clear, a gem, 40-51, SE5 becoming calm. another perfect sunset. common loon 97, 86 of these, most in small pods, seen by scoping from Lucy Point just before sunset. On Nov. 2, 1996, we saw 104, 91 of those flyovers, but no flyovers seen today. Make 3 visits to Lucy Point today.


An influx of landbirds: hermit thrush 6 (record is 20 on Oct. 13, 1991), white-throated sparrow 38, bufflehead 30, surf scoter 26, laughing gull 300 (mostly well offshore, miles, in groups, feeding frenzies), flicker 2, black vulture 9, horned grebe 4, Forster’s tern 5, Canada goose 70, great blue heron 3, American black duck 3, great black-backed gull 2 adults, herring gull 3, ring-billed gull 6, gray catbird 2, American robin 8, red-winged blackbird 28, tundra swan 2, bald eagle 3, and turkey vulture 12. Some of these totals notable for being low. Unusual to see no hawks.


NON-AVIAN TAXA: deer - 3 does and a fine 8-point buck in Field 4 (all tines at least 5 inches), eastern cottontail 1, gray squirrel 6 (plus 1 at Fox Harbor drive), buckeye 2, red admiral 1 (a large one with beautiful markings on the boxwood). Daughter Anne and her daughter Alexis arrive.


NOVEMBER 3, SUNDAY. clear, NW15-20, 38-53, cold. Finally a good migrant landbird showing. MIDDLE DISTANCE MIGRANT JAMBOREE:


Do a “little sit” on the lawn by the edge of Field 1, 9-11:45, and from 9 until 9:30 next to a small copse, of less than an acre, mostly persimmons, but also a couple of oaks, a crab apple/hawthorn, and a honey locust with Virginia creeper, poison ivy, and English ivy, sit with an ice pack on my still-ailing right quadriceps and under these constraints nevertheless see a splendid mixed species foraging guild. This little area is in the lee and bathed by the morning sun. Good, close views of all of these:


yellow palm warbler 4, pine warbler 2, myrtle warbler 4, hermit thrush 1, slate-colored junco 3, ruby-crowned kinglet 3, golden-crowned kinglet 1, eastern bluebird 6, eastern phoebe 2, Carolina chickadee 2, tufted titmouse 2, eastern screech-owl 1, house finch 5, and northern mockingbird 1. Feeding on poison ivy berries: chickadee and myrtle warbler. On a hawthorn/crab apple fruit: hermit thrush.


Also today: bald eagle 2, black duck 3, black vulture 9, tree swallow 2, cowbird 18, and sharp-shinned hawk 1. There are single gray squirrels here, at Benoni Point, Anderby Hall Road (+ a hermit thrush), and 2 at Bellevue.


NOVEMBER 4, MONDAY. 2 gray squirrels, another farther down Ferry Neck Road. Leave at 8:36 A.M., EST.


4-LETTER NAMES. In view of the recent brouhaha, if Butter But had a Banding Lab 4-letter abbreviation it would be BUBU, what my children, and now grandchildren, call a small bruise or cut.


The proper abbreviations are easily found by Googling “Bird Banding Laboratory abbreviations”. Certainly shouldn’t use them on MDBIRDING. I use them a lot when I’m out in the middle of nowhere stumbling around with pencil and small notebook.


To avoid carpal tunnel syndrome it’s much easier for me to jot down YCNH (yellow-crowned night heron), BCNH (black-crowned night heron), NRWS (northern rough-winged swallow), DCCO (double-crested cormorant), etc., than the birds’ full names.


My own abbrevs. ignore duplication with western species not found in the places I haunt. CAWR (Carolina wren) works in MD and VA where canyon wren and cactus wren would be accidental. A day or so later when keyboarding reports I’m sometimes confused by my own abbreviations.


I use the 4-letter ones for plants and animals, too. People sometimes. RIOT is river otter. FICR is fiddler crab, but, watch out, could be fish crow! BAHA is Baccharis halimifolia. CGTF is Cope’s gray tree frog. BTBW is black-throated blue warbler, but, watch out again, BTGW is black-throated green warbler, but could be construed as black-throated gray warbler, HEGU as herring gull could be Heermann’s gull, CEWA as cedar waxwing could be cerulean warbler, TRSW as tree swallow, or, trumpeter swan. BASW could be barn or bank swallow.


There are pitfalls. Thank Heaven for SORA, WILL (willet), BRAN (brant), OSPR (osprey), WHIM (whimbrel), etc. Best use a printed checklist in the field with the full name.


Recent criticisms on MDBIRD, sometimes personal, even mentioning names, are a shame.


Best to all. - Harry Armistead (HAAR), Philadelphia.

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