Date: 3/25/20 8:58 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Quarantine Chronicles, Ferry Neck, March 13-20, 2019.
QUARANTINE CHRONICLES, part 1, Ferry Neck, Talbot County, Maryland, MARCH 13-20, 2020. These sightings from most days am only outside an hour or so. Mostly we just sit around, rest, sleep in, read, take naps, eat.


QUARANTINE is just to be safe. I think we’re both O.K.


Visit for several days by daughter Anne, SIL Derek Ayres, and grand daughter Alexis. Derek is very talented and good with tech stuff, sets us up with e-mail here for the 1st time.


Much of the time winds are calm or nearly so. I am concerned about the low numbers of buffleheads. Silence of the frogs: not much in the way of froggie vocalizations this month either, another concern.


MARCH 13, FRIDAY the 13th. 2 d.o.r. baby striped skunks Route 301, Queen Annes County. Arrive 3:30, mostly overcast, calm, up to 72 degrees F. An active first day or partial day. From the dock: ruddy duck 660, ring-billed gull 167 (only 1 sub-adult), horned grebe 7, red-breasted merganser 21 (4 adult males), bald eagle 2, great blue heron 2 (breeding plumage), mallard 2, common grackle 4, Canada goose 15. The Ayres arrive for an expande weekend.


Lucy Point, 5-6:15, mostly overcast, 67, NW<5, visibility fair: surf scoter 70, bufflehead 75, horned grebe 4 (1 with a tiny fish), gray squirrel 1, FOX SQUIRREL 1 (1st record for Lucy Point), deer 5 does, easter towhee 1 male. 1 boat, 1 ship, 1 barge.


At 6:17 an American woodcock flushes from Field 2 X the driveway, lands, and afford a very good view. Only see this species about once a year hereabouts. Watch the bald eagle nest 6:20-6:33, at 6:27 an adult comes in from the SE and lands carrying a fish, takes off at 6:30 and flies E. 3 wild turkeys seen in the nest area.


MARCH 14, SATURDAY. In Field 1 ring-billed gulls build in from 290 to 445. Don’t know what they’re eating - most all of the sorghum spillage is gone (thanks to Canada geese earlier) - but the ringbills are finding plenty to pick off the field ground. tuna hoagies? meatball shorties? Also 2 wood ducks, an unIDd sulphur, 35 American robins. Anne finds a roadkill baby snapping turtle on Ferry Neck Road, awfully early for a youngster.



Lucy Point, still dry enough to be able to drive out there. 4:55-5:55, calm, overcast, 54-53, viz excellent: surf scoter 1,060 (nice, but in previous years up to 9,000+; cf. 4,000 on March 14, 2002; 3,730 on March 18, 1997), bufflehead 85, long-tailed duck 30 (continue to be very far offshore), common loon 3, horned grebe 7 (1 or 2 of both of these last 2 species starting to show pretty good breeding plumage), black scoter 11, northern gannet 1, double-crested cormorant 3, common goldeneye 6 (scarce this winter), ring-billed gull 1, lesser scaup 3 (scarce this spring), ruddy duck 2, and red-breasted merganser 21 (3 adult males). 1 boat.


Years ago there were thousands of long-tailed ducks here, 9,125 once (March 17, 1995), but they have become scarcer and are now farther offshore. Also: 6,700 on April 1, 1988 and 6,480 on March 28, 1987. 3,000 on March 14, 2002. Where are they now? The huge counts formerly on the Nantucket Christmas Bird Count are also now much diminished.


MARCH 15, SUNDAY. Am inactive. At Lucy Point, northern gannet 3, northern harrier 1 female. Drive across Field 1 to the point slippery after a little rain. Liz counts 190 ring-billed gulls in Poplar Cove. Do a short vigil again at the bald eagle nest, 3:26-3:46, at 3:39 an adult comes in and lands, takes off at 3:42, a female, I think.


MARCH 16, MONDAY. Am inactive … again. 48-55, E5+, then SE5+, fair becoming mostly overcast. At Lucy Point, 12:43-1:45, 1 northern gannet, 1 osprey, 1 Forster’s tern, 1 immature bald eagle and see 5 dredgers and 2 boats. There’s an 8” diamondback terrapin carapace in Field 1 about 100 feet from the water. Liz sees a great blue heron in the cove. At 6:51 P.M. when it is still pretty light an eastern screech-owl, for reasons best known to itself, calls spontaneously, just once (overcast, 46, E10-15).


MARCH 17, TUESDAY. up to 61, calm mostly, clear or partly overcast EASTON, a crow attending its nest high in a sycamore at Aurora X Goldsborough streets near Trinity Cathedral. wild turkey 11, Route 33 across from Town & Country, where most days we purchase the Washington Post. New Jersey chorus frogs calling along Route 329 east.


Lucy Point, 12:20-1:20, viz good, 51-55, calm or SE5, fair: surf scoter 670, horned grebe 3, common loon 3, bufflehead 200, black scoter 2, great blue heron 1, long-tailed duck 6, Bonaparte’s gull 3, ring-billed gull 1, and osprey 1.


Around the yard it’s good, too, with 1,220 of the little ruddy ducks massed out on Irish Creek, Foster’s tern 3, bald eagle 3, red-tailed hawk 2, black vulture 7, tree swallow 1, red-breasted merganser 27 (3 adult males), horned grebe 5, common loon 2, osprey 2, and belted kingfisher 1 male. See a spring azure and a cabbage white. Liz hears a pine warbler sing in the loblollies at the head of the cove. Most days from now on see a spring azure or 2.


I take a dusk drive and see an eastern cottontail, 21 wild turkeys, and 7 does.


MARCH 18, WEDNESDAY. New Jersey chorus frogs calling at 3 places along Route 329 E of Royal Oak. A painted turtle in the Woods 4 vernal pool. In Field 1 c. 330 blackbirds: 265 common grackles, 20 European starlings, and 45 red-winged blackbirds, as with the ring-billed gulls a few days ago, apparently finding much to eat.


Also 34 American robins there. 2 wood ducks. Out at Lucy Point briefly at 6 P.M. a new season high of 9 northern gannets, one of them plunge-diving, and that means, of course, there are fish out there. At 6:30 P.M.: 21 wild turkeys again in Field 5 going across the driveway to Field 4 (only 1 a displaying tom). 52, raw, overcast, SW5.


MARCH 19, THURSDAY. From our dock, 11-12:30. overcast, calm, 52-62. ruddy duck 1,220 (with biggish flocks I TRY to estimate carefully counting by tens; even so this estimate identical to that of March 17, getting the same # a matter of luck; probably low since some birds are around the corners, farther up Irish Creek or farther out towards its mouth.


with the ruddies 2 canvasbacks. red-breasted merganser 22. bufflehead 30. common loon 3. horned grebe 6. Canada goose 3. double-crested cormorant 1. osprey 1. belted kingfisher the male again. Forster’s tern 1. bald eagle 1. pine warbler 1.


rain last night. A 3-turtle day, in March !!: spotted turtle 2 in the ditch driveway X Field 4, a favored locale, 1:30 P.M. diamondback terrapin 3 at the mouth of Poplar Cove, 3 P.M. painted turtle 6 in the Woods 4 vernal pool at 3:45 P.M.


Good view of a pileated woodpecker flying across the driveway and into Woods 2. At dusk 17 white-throated sparrows and 3 northern cardinals at the feed at the start of the driveway. The Ayres family arrives for a 2nd visit. Forster’s tern 7 at head of the cove.


MARCH 20, FRIDAY. Temperature up to 67. Fun to watch the 25 red-breasted mergansers very actively feeding, diving, and courting in the cove. Very active, covering a lot of “ground”. Elegant fowl. Never see them with fish; they must swallow them while underwater. Five deer (does) gambling from Woods 6 across the driveway into Woods 2.


19th CENTURY PISHING, a 2nd instance. I’ve misplaced the book, American Birds, ed. by Terry Tempest Williams, an anthology, but in it is a selection by Frank Chapman describing the art of pishing to attract birds, c. 1895.


Best to all, best health to all. - Harry Armistead, Philadelphia (eventually. again).

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