Date: 9/1/20 11:14 am
From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: [MDBirding] lower Eastern Shore (& Brigantine, NJ), August 21-30, 2020 + some German tongue twisters)
LOWER EASTERN SHORE (& Brigantine, NJ), AUGUST 21-30, 2020. some German tongue twisters.


AUGUST 21, FRIDAY. 8 lesser yellowlegs in the Field 4 wet area, one of the highest counts here for a species seldom seen, see them 3X in the course of the day. An adult bald eagle flushes them 2X. After the 2nd time they leave.. yellow-billed cuckoo 1.


A small flight across the cove to the north 6:45-7:45 P.M.: 2 mourning doves, a goldfinch, 5 robins, an indigo bunting, a spotted sandpiper, a belted kingfisher, 4 bluebirds, 5 starlings, and 7 northern mockingbirds.


Curious what the mockers are doing. Seven ties the 3rd largest count for here: 7 on November 10, 1973. During the time I banded, a 25-year period, this revealed there was actually a small flight or influx of mockers in late August and early September, when I would catch more than I would have expected. I banded 22 in the fall of 1969. Highest count: 13 on September 14, 1973. By 2003 I’d heard them imitate 31 species.


Another nice day this Friday but humid, 74-83, light winds, sunny, mosquitos get worse each day. Becomes overcast late. 3 spotted turtles. 1 monarch. 2 cloudless sulphurs. In Field 4, the BACHELOR COTILLION, group of 4 bucks, including what seems to be the same wall-hanger seen August 18.


AUGUST 22, SATURDAY. In the good old Field 4 wet area, Rigby’s Folly’s answer to the Cheyenne Bottoms, 6 least sandpipers and, perhaps the same 8 lesser yellowlegs as yesterday. In the yard a female-plumaged black-and-white warbler. 23 Canada geese in Field 1.


Out in Field 1, Rigby’s Folly’s answer to the Serengeti, 2 fawns, 4 does, and 2 bucks as well as 23 Canada geese.


AUGUST 23, SUNDAY. Dorchester County boating trip, posted earlier.


AUGUST 24, MONDAY. Starting a garbage run, as I walk out to the car at at 9:29 A.M. a great horned owl flushes at close range, prompting a gray squirrel to scold. Who would blame him/her for not wanting to end up as Brunswick stew (poo stew)?


In the Field 1 low area are 22 Canada geese (the number builds to 47 in late afternoon) and a greater yellowlegs. Off a ways from the lawn another gray squirrel utters its mewing call, reminiscent of that of a yellow-bellied sapsucker.


Everyone into the pool. Last one in’s a dirty brood parasite. bird bath action. the one under the cedar: 3 or so each of chickadee, titmouse, 2 cardinals, a thrasher, an adult male American redstart, and a yellow warbler.


And this with abundant natural surface water all over the place. Normally in the course of a full day usually see just 1 or 2 birds in the bath, sometimes none. The yellow warbler is brilliant. Under any circumstance a chickadee is adorable. One bathing even more so.


Nearby in the yard: 4 pine warblers, a chipping sparrow, 3 indigo buntings, a hairy woodpecker, a black-and-white warbler, a rose-breasted grosbeak, a crested flycatcher, and 2 bluebirds.


Other goodies today: 16 Forster’s and a royal tern, a spotted sandpiper, 2 cattle egrets. Up to 86, SW10, increased humidity, sunny, very brief period of light rain.


AUGUST 25, TUESDAY. a chestnut-sided warbler, 2 blue-gray gnatcatchers, a male pine warbler, a yellow-billed cuckoo, a great horned owl besieged by American crows. fair, SW 15-20, 77-88, humidity not too bad.


“Sittin’ on a dock by the Bay”, 6:40-7:45 P.M. 2 adult bald eagles apparently going to overnight in the pines at the head of the cove. 1 adult & 1 immature little blue heron, 1 snowy egret, 3 green herons, 1 great blue, a kingfisher, 3 cattle egrets, 2 barn swallows, 1 royal & 2 Forster’s terns, 10 laughing gulls, 1 yellow-billed cuckoo.. At 7:42 a great horned owl flies across the cove. Nice look. Thunder and lightning at the end. better go in.


AUGUST 26, WEDNESDAY. migrants: eastern wood-pewee 1, Swainson’s thrush 1, white-eyed vireo 1, red-eyed vireo 1, solitary sandpiper 1, blue-gray gnatcatcher 3, black-and-white 2, magnolia 1, and yellow 2 warblers, American redstart 1 adult male, and Baltimore oriole 1.


53 species including also: little blue heron 1, cedar waxwing 9 (3 flocks), yellow-billed cuckoo 1, royal tern 6, ruby-throated hummingbird 4, European starling 300 juveniles (the flock flushed by an adult bald eagle), field sparrow 1, chipping sparrow 3, and indigo bunting 2.


On the way out to the dock there is a big luna moth on the ground. Half an hour later it starts to fly across the cove, lands in the water 100 feet out. A few minutes later an adult laughing gull eats it.


74-83, NW15-10, then SW 10, clear. A beauty. There is a cloud that looks A LOT like a gangly osprey, wings extended but partially bent. Stays that way for about 10 minutes. Sitting on our chairs under the big willow oak we see, simultaneously, 3 gray squirrels feasting on toadstools.


flutterbys: hackberry emperor 2, red-spotted purple 3, cloudless sulphur 3, cabbage white 30, and monarch 3 plus a few small skippers I don’t know how to ID.


AUGUST 27, THURSDAY. Sittin’ on the dock before din-dins: wood duck 1, cattle 10, great 2 & snowy 1 egret, little blue heron 1. weather? I forget, but while on the dock there are complex cloud formations with distant thunder (celestial tympani) and lightning to the north and northwest.


fields treated today with liquid fertilizer, ammonium nitrate? 9 deer in Field 1: a fawn, 5 does, and 3 bucks, one with a big, 8-pt. rack. 1 spotted turtle in the Woods 4 vernal pool, where I seldom see turtles.


AUGUST 28, FRIDAY. up to 88 degrees F., SW10-15, clear or fair becoming overcast. American redstart 1, black-and-white warbler 1, blue-gray gnatcatcher 1, red-tailed hawk 1. Same deer in Field 1, I think, as yesterday, but with the addition of another fawn = 10 animals.


gray squirrel 8. Liz found a lovely clump of cardinal flower a few days ago. About 8 days back there were 4 black swallowtail caterpillars eating up our parsley. One of today’s gray squirrels, 15’ up in a black walnut, takes a good 15 minutes to “render” one of the nuts, a prissy eater.


One doozie of a storm from 8 P.M. until at least 3 A.M., last night, (insomnia at least enables me to enjoy the great weather) with big lightning every second or so initially and not as much thunder as one might expect. 3.4” of rain, none of which we need. Fortunately not that much wind.


AUGUST 29, SATURDAY. Stop at the John Brown Road turf farm in Queen Annes County. Dan Haas is there and right away puts us on the 2 buff-breasted sandpipers; this takes the sting out of leaving the Eastern Shore. Charles Hopkins is also there.


AUGUST 30, SUNDAY. George treats me to a morning at Brigantine (Forsythe N,W.R.) NJ that is loaded with birds. Two young peregrines are on the observation tower and do not flush when we get out of the car right underneath them. George catches an eastern box turtle. We see c. 82 species, incl.:


sora 1 (out in the open), clapper rail 7 (2 well-seen), yellow-crowned night heron 2, tree swallow c. 4,000, seaside sparrow 6, saltmarsh sparrow 1, bobolink 300, American avocet 14, whimbrel 2, white-rumped sandpiper 4, western sandpiper 7, laughing gull 2,400, black skimmer 1, snowy egret 80, bald eagle 3, peregrine falcon 3, marsh wren 2, semipalmated sandpiper many 100s, least sandpiper dozens, and Canada goose 95.


ADDENDA. In my recent posting on a boating foray I neglected to indicate how many oystercatchers we saw at Adam Island. Well, here is that total you’ve been, breathlessly, waiting for: 4.


ALL RISE. well, quite a few rise. white perch, esp. in the late afternoon, hit the surface, often quite close to the dock and the rip rap.


THOSE RABBITS. SO tame. Going out to the dock I pass within 4 feet of 2 who are totally unconcerned. As I pass one I look it in the eye and say: “Don’t mind me, I just live here.” To the other look in its eye and I intone: “Are you a scampering wee wump?” No reaction. Just keep on nibbling the grass.


Coming up the drive they are loath to give way. One, car so close the hood obscures it, so I back up, do this 5 times, variously blow the horn, turn on the hazard lights, rev the engine, cut loose with the high beams = no reaction, finally just ease the car forward and I can’t see it but if finally hops off into the honeysuckle. Cute, but low SAT scores. It’s a good thing for them I’m not a red-tailed hawk.


On August 25, watching the action at the feeders, I see a gray squirrel chase away a cottontail, both of them on the ground underneath a feeder. Never seen that before. So much for a “peaceable kingdom”.


CONSONANT KINGS. JAWBUSTERS. Absent-mindedly thumbin’ through Vogel in Afrika by Rainer Christian Ertel (Fauna Verlag, 2009, 399 pages) one comes across the nightjars, species that sport 7 consonants in a row. These are the Nachtschwalben.


There are 10 species of nightjars here, the 2 with the longest names - good examples of German compound words - are: Schleppennachtschwalbe (Long-tailed Nightjar) and Welwitschnachtschwalbe (Square-tailed Nightjar), with 22 letters each. However, they are outclassed by Schwarzbrustschlangenadler (Bare-chested Snake-Eagle), that tips the scales at 26.


And you thought Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Yellow-crowned Night Heron were long names. However, if one counts the spaces between those English words, and the hyphens, there’s not much difference in their lengths and those of the nightjars. Be thankful for Sora, Dunlin (Alpenstrandlaufer), and Osprey (Fischadler). There are 107 entries in Ertel’s index that begin with Sch.


In all fairness it should be pointed out that, to one’s relief, there are many German names for birds that are either, sometimes dramatically, shorter than those in English, or even the same, such as Merlin, Saker, Lanner, Ortolan, Skua (Great Skua), Kormoran (Great Cormorant), Star (Common Starling), Fitis (Willow Warbler), Marabu (Marabou Stork), Knutt (Red Knot), Noddi (Brown Noddy), and Amsel (Common Blackbird). More importantly, Ertel’s book comprises an astounding collection of many 100s of helpful photographs, 5 of them by George.


A favorite name for me is flycatcher (Schnapper). This is all very well, but it doesn’t get me off the hook for not knowing how to put unlauts over the 3 words above that need them. Perhaps it is just as well that some of my ancestors emigrated from Hesse-Darmstadt 400 years ago. Mein Gott in Himmel!


Best to all. - Harry Armistead, Bellevue, MD, and Philadelphia, PA.

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