Date: 9/3/20 11:32 am
From: Phil Davis <pdavis...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Golden Hill, 17 Sep 1960
Hi Harry, et al.

FYI ... Your 17 Sep 1960 record of Red-cockaded Woodpecker at Golden
Hill was accepted as MD record MD/2009-062 and is shown in the MD/DC
Records Committee database, here ...

(see page 111 - large PDF document - DON'T PRINT!)

A copy of your 27 Jun 2009 email, which provided the details for this
record, is shown below, in blue.

As you noted, your sighting was recorded in The Season report (Jul-Sep
1960), edited by Chan Robbins in Maryland Birdlife 16(4):92-97: "a
Red-cockaded Woodpecker was still in its nesting area near Golden Hill
on Sept. 17 (Armistead)." (page 96).

Hope this helps and thanks for your continued support!


From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
To: Maryland & DC Birding <mdbirding...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Eastern Shore, September 16-18, 1960.
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2020 19:11:59 +0000

OLD CHECKLIST CARDS UNEARTHED, Eastern Shore, September 16-18,
1960. Hadn't seen these in many years. Many.

September 16, a 13-hour effort working Hooper's Island, Blackwater
N.W.R., and ending at Elliott Island Road. That was a GOOD day.
I'll enter it in eBird soon. Highlights among the 115 species


September 17, Hooper's & Taylor's islands and Golden Hill.
Red-cockaded woodpecker 1, Golden Hill, a the site where an
occupied nesting cavity had recently been found (but the Maryland
Birdlife article on this breeding record is not cited in either MD
breeding bird atlas; I don't have these atlases here today in
Pennsylvania; they are in Maryland; I will 2X check this assertion
over Labor Day Weekend; if it is incorrect I will say so, and
apologize, in a later posting.).

Soon afterwards the woods at Golden Hill were lumbered. I go past
there several times a year and always think of the woodpeckers.
cf. Maryland Birdlife, v. 14, no. 3, pp. 63-68, 1958, "Nesting of
the Red-cockaded Woodpecker in Maryland", by Robert E. Stewart,
the nest site visited by Stewart, Chan Robbins, Brooke Meanley,
Sam Dyke, and Paul Springer in June 1958. Golden Hill is at Route
335 only a few miles south of where Blackwater refuge's Wildlife
Drive ends at Route 335


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

From: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
To: Phil Davis <pdavis...>
CC: Harry Armistead <harryarmistead...>
Subject: Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Golden Hill, MD, September 17,
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2009 16:44:24 +0000


For what it is worth, nearly a half-century after the fact, here
is information on this sighting. In connection with preparing a
tribute to the late M. Brooke Meanley, which I will submit to
Maryland Birdlife, I obtained RCWO information from Phil Davis
(for MD) and some from VA from Bill Williams. This prompted me,
for the first time in many years, to review my old checklists and
notes to determine when I had seen one of the Golden Hill RCWOs.

I saw a Red-cockaded Woodpecker here on the morning of September
17, 1960.* My field notes indicate I was in the area (Taylor’s
Island, Hoopers Island, and Golden Hill) between 6:15 and 11 A.M.,
finding 62 species, after which I left for Ocean City, MD. I do
remember distinctly seeing a black-and-white barred woodpecker in
between the size of a Downy and a Hairy with the large, clear
white patch on the sides of its head. There was no conspicuous
red patch above the nape such as a male Downy or Hairy would
have. I did not see the red cockade, and made no effort to, being
satisfied with the view I had (c. 100 yards in good light with 8X
binoculars), but I understand this is hard to see even under ideal
circumstances. I have no record on whether this RCWO made any
vocalizations. I think not.

* Maryland Birdlife, vol. 16, no. 4, December 1960, p. 96,
“the Season,” [July, August, September 1960] Chandler S.
Robbins: “As many as 3 adult Red-headed Woodpeckers,
probably transients, were found at Hoopers Island on Sept. 16,
and a Red-cockaded Woodpecker was still in its nesting area
near Golden Hill on Sept. 17 (Armistead).”

My only previous experience (then) with RCWO was seeing several
individuals in Florida on a motor trip in late summer 1959 with
Gordon W. Chaplin, a high school friend. Short of age-regression
hypnosis (!?), that is all I remember at this time (June 27,
2009). But because of the uniqueness of this species in Maryland
this made a lasting impression on me.

Earlier I had obtained precise information on the location of the
1958 RCWO active nest cavity (MDDCRC MD/1997-606). I don’t
remember who gave me this. It may have been Dick Kleen (who
probably would have gotten it from Chan Robbins) or else I may
have gotten it directly from Chan. I finally got around to
visiting this site on Sept. 17, 1960, parked, and walked in a
short way west of Route 335 (a few 100 yards north of the junction
of Routes 335 & 336) through the Loblolly Pine forest that is just
southwest of the South Dorchester Elementary and Middle School
(Dorchester County ADC Atlas, Map 28, coordinates F11 & F12). I
think this was called the Spicer Tract. Soon after 1960, or
perhaps even later in that year, this forest was logged.
Occasionally I lead field trips through here and when driving
through tell the participants to observe the appropriate
solemnities as we pass slowly by with our 4-way blinkers

CONTEXT: I was actively birding on the lower Eastern Shore during
this period, when I was a junior at the U. of Pennsylvania. On
Sept. 16, 1960, my 20th birthday, I did a full-day in Dorchester
County, 6:45 A.M-7:15 P.M., finding 115 species. The route then
conforms with routes I have done in the previous 14 consecutive
years (1995-2008) and it will be nice to add that day’s numbers
to my fall bird count database. On Sept. 18 I spent the day at
the north Ocean City banding station, benefiting from associating
with Gladys Cole, Gordon and Jim Meade, and Jack and Renee

As one can surmise from my writeup, this is a cherished memory,
but about all I can furnish to a records committee 49 years after
the fact. For what it’s worth … here it is. At the very
least it will place this “report” on the record.

Henry (“Harry”) T. Armistead, 523 E. Durham St., Philadelphia,
PA 19119-1225. 215-248-4120. <harryarmistead...>

Phil Davis, Secretary
MD/DC Records Committee
2549 Vale Court
Davidsonville, Maryland 21035 USA

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