2007 Christmas Count Highlights

I have the best of news to report. We finally broke 100 for the Denton Xmas Count! I didn't think it was possible. We got 101 species!! Unbelievable! The planets or whatever must have all been in the proper alignment or something. The weather was certainly better than what had been forecast earlier in the week and with a lot of effort we had a great day.

What made this new record possible is not missing any of the birds that we should get if conditions were good. It's so easy to miss Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Snipe, Woodcock, and that sort of thing. We didn't see a Great Black-backed Gull and that was the biggest disappointment that comes to mind--we didn't have them last year either. We had a Mute Swan, a Pied-billed Grebe, and a Goldeneye in the count period and with just a tad more good fortune we could have added them to the total.

Here are the good birds we did see: Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, L. Scaup, Hooded Merganser, (missed C. Merganser but they showed up on Tuesday) Golden Eagle (a first for the count), Saw-whet Owl, Pine Siskin, Rusty Blackbird, Red Crossbill, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, Vesper Sparrow, Black-headed Gull and Ross's Goose.

Thanks again to all our counters!

Steve Westre


Possible Important Bird Areas in Caroline County

Wayne Bell reports that Adkins Arboretum and Tuckahoe State Park will qualify as an Audubon IBA due to the number of Prononotary Warblers found there.

I checked in with David Curson, Maryland Audubon Society's Director of Bird Conservation responsible for the Maryland-DC Important Bird Areas Programs. David said he thinks it will.

As for Idyllwild Wildlife Management Area, he thinks that site will also qualify, thanks to the efforts of the Bird Blitzers. Prothonotary warblers and Whip-poor-wills will be the species for which it qualifies. David did a nightjar survey in June and heard 7 whips in one evening so he's sure the actual population would be about twice that.

Species totals from the Bird Blitz done on 27 May2007 at Idyllwild
Primary targets - At-risk species
Prairie Warbler 2
Prothonotary Warbler 11 (also a FIDS)
Worm-eating Warbler 6 (also a FIDS)
Louisiana Waterthrush 4 (also a FIDS)
Wood Thrush 2 (also a FIDS)

Secondary targets - species assemblages
a) Forest interior dwelling species (FIDS)
Red-eyed Vireo 5
Ovenbird 6
Acadian Flycatcher 10
Summer Tanager 2
Pileated Woodpecker 2
(So we saw 9 species of FIDS altogether because 4 of the at-risk species are also FIDS)

b) Shrubland species assemblage
Field Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 2
Brown Thrasher 2
White-eyed Vireo 7
(So we saw 5 species of shrub land birds because Prairie Warbler is also in the shrub land assemblage)

They will be reviewing the IBA nomination for Idyllwild at the next IBA Technical Review Committee meeting in a couple of weeks.

What's an IBA? Go to: http://www.audubonmddc.org/SciCon_IBAs.html


Fox Sparrows

Karen Harris of the Talbot Bird Club reported seeing three Fox sparrows in among the White-throated and Song sparrows in the North Meadows field at Adkins Arboretum recently.


Here is a photo of a pair of Pine Siskins taken at my feeder in Queenstown a few weeks ago . I thought folks might enjoy seeing it .

Danny Poet

Fox Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds and Lark Sparrow sighted

This afternoon as I returned from the morning of birding with the Talbot Bird Club, I found two Fox Sparrows beside my driveway, feasting on the seed that I had tossed there earlier in the day. Other species there included many Juncos and White Throats, several Cardinals and a Blue Jay. While watching them, I heard some high pitched squeeky calls, and on looking up found four Rusty Blackbirds in a tree above the feeding site.
Yesterday the Purple Finches had found my place - one adult male, and one "brownie". Good numbers of Goldfinches were around this afternoon, but I could not find any siskins.
A message from Blackwater today on MDOSPREY indicated that several people successfully re-located the Lark Sparrow that has been hanging around the visitor center for at least the past week. The bird was pretty well hidden in trees beside the parking lot, but after it was found it stayed around for great views. It seemed to not be bothered at all by the presence of the birders.
Les Roslund
Talbot County
Easton MD 21601


Whooping Cranes

The speaker at the Talbot Bird Club's November Bird Club meeting was Kathy O’Malley, who for many years managed the Crane chick flock at Patuxent Research Refuge. She showed short videos and described her work as part of the program to reestablish a strong population of Whooping Cranes. In 1941 the world’s population of Whoopers was 41 birds. The flock was well known in the winter at Aransas NWR in Texas, but the birds’ destination as they migrated north was unknown until about 1960 when the breeding grounds were found in northern Alberta. The US-Canadian effort to save the species started at Patuxent in 1966 with one bird. The total population is now about 500. A non-migratory flock has been building in Florida since the early 1990s with birds raised at Patuxent. A new migratory flock is building now with chicks hatched at Patuxent and reared in northern Wisconsin. The birds follow an ultralight aircraft to Florida where they winter. These birds now successfully return to Wisconsin’s Necedah NWR. This year’s cohort of young Whoopers left Necedah in mid-October with ETA in Florida of early December. Check their progress plus learn more on: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/crane/index.html


Message from former Caroline County resident

Now living south of the border - Charlotte Hignutt reports on the recent flooding near where she lives and recent bird sightings in her neighborhood of Palenque, Mexico.

All safe and semi-sound for 83 years old - actually we didn't have an unusual am't of rain - Villahermosa had problems because it is like New Orleans - built in a swamp where no city should be. Also it, like New Orleans, had become used to a little flooding so it just sat there without realizing that this time the water would be 12 feet deep throughout most of the city. There are 4 dams on the Grijalva River that runs thru the city but there had been so much rain up in the mountains that all dams had to be open or collapse - this flooded Villahermosa because they had also had a lot of rain. Villahermosa is only 70 miles from Palenque but rain can be in spots here - a flood in one place and nothing in a place 50 miles away.
The Denton [Caroline] bird people should really get together and visit me while I am still mobile. I have so many birds just on my property. A group of oropendulas have arrived - also a lot of small birds - blackheaded siskins and such - plus various flycatchers and hawks. There are always melodious blackbirds and Zenaida and ruddy ground doves - I feed about 50 each AM - they like raw rice. The other day I watched an ani sitting in the top of a tree drying its wings with a large yellow leaf in its beak - I think the beak was to disguise its presence - it was hiding under it. There is a Continental flight fr. BWI each day about 1:00 PM to Houston and a Houston flight direct to Villahermosa that arrives at 9 PM - cost is about $600 round trip - I could meet you at the airport - which is now above water!!! My house sleeps 4 or 5 guests - it is quite large.


MOS asks us to check out the following to see how MOS and our chapter might best be represented on this public resource:




please send comments to Wayne Bell at wbell2@washcoll.edu


An almost great day in Del

Went to Delaware on a birding trip today, the 6th, with Mike Framptom-Price. The first stop was Jimmy’s, but it was raining so we didn’t really lose any time. Between Denton and Port Mahon we saw Crows, TVs, Starlings, Rock Doves, Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards, Mockingbirds, Cormorants, a Red-tailed Hawk, Song Sparrows, Horned Larks, Herring Gulls, Mourning Doves, Canada Geese, Robins, Cedar Waxwings ,Northern Harriers ( saw 13 all day), and G. Yellowlegs.

At Port Mahon we saw this really big flock of goldfinches. We estimated there were a 100 in the flock and neither of us recalling seeing a flock that big. We saw these right where you can walk into the photography blind, not far from where the road takes a sharp left to follow the water. We jumped an American Bittern there, a bird neither of us had seen for a long time.

Moving on the Port Mahon Rd we saw: Ruddy Ducks, a Laughing Gull (looked like it was sick), a one-legged Sandpiper, lots of Dunlins, maybe 1000 all day, Great Blue Herons, Tree Swallows, Coot, Bald Eagles and a flock of Tundra Swans, the first either of us had seen this year.

Driving through Leipsic we saw a police car waiting for prey. We drove by at a reasonable speed, but saw that he was pulling out and catching up to us. Then his light went on. I thought maybe I was going 26 in a 25 but when he got to us he noted that Mike wasn’t wearing his seat belt when we went by him. We were in and out of the car so much it was a miracle that I had mine on. While he was back writing out the ticket 4 Bald Eagles flew over and we got out to watch them. He came back and gave me the ticket but said that it would be normal for the person who didn’t have the seat belt on to pay the fine. $51, pretty steep. I’d just made a contribution to the State of Delaware about a month before for speeding so I’m doing my part to keep Delaware afloat. Apart from the good birding there must be other good things to say about Delaware, but we couldn’t think of any at the time.

Heading toward Bombay Hook we saw a Kestrel grab a praying mantis and fly off with it. As soon as we got to Bombay Hook the mosquitoes were after us. We went up to that first observation platform and were bitten several times. From the tower there were about 1000 Snow Geese in front of us. Mixed in were about 20 Blue Geese and two that were completely dark. Nether of us had seen or heard of one before. I took a picture of one and hope I can download it here. From the tower we saw flock of Avocets, lots of Pintails, and a pair of Shovelers.

Before leaving the refuge we also saw: Buffleheads, Kingfishers, GW Teal, White-throated Sparrows, a Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jays, and Bluebirds. We stopped at the headquarters building and asked if mosquitoes were ever this bad this late in the year. There was one flying around her head when she said that they have never had them this bad this late.

Neither of us had been to Woodland Beach so we drove there and saw House Sparrows, a Junco, a Cardinal, and a Forster’s Tern. We walked out on the new and first-class fishing pier there. You never saw such humble houses with such good views of the water—there is nothing like it in MD.

We birded on the way home and stopped off at Red Bridges. We saw a Cooper’s Hawk, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Pileated Woodpecker, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Chickadees, Field Sparrows and Towhees.

What a great day! It’s just hard to go out and spend a day birding like that and not see something you’ve never seen before. I can’t remember ever having a bad day birding.

Best, Steve

Christmas Counts

If you want to look at what we've seen on the Denton Count in past years you can go to http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/hr/index.html and then click on "historical results" and use our count code of "MDDE" to view the years you want to see.



Saw Whet owl migration

Saw whet owl banding by Project Owlnet at Adkins Arboretum has been very active the last few weeks! The first owl was caught on Oct. 27 and as of Saturday, 75 owls had been caught and 73 banded. 2 owls had been banded before at another station. This year was expected to be an "irruption" year which happens about every 4 years timed with small rodent abundance in the boreal forests of Canada where the owls breed.


Our Jessica in Spain

Our member, Jessica Vooris is having the most wonderful experience in Spain for a semester of college. Here she is sitting on an edge of a cliff in Cabo de Gata. She did report not having much time to bird, however.

Pine Siskin spotted by Les Roslund

This afternoon the first Pine Siskin in two years showed up at my feeder. Feisty little fellow! The reason I saw him was that he was the only one on the thistle feeder that did not fly away when I walked past the window. (All the Goldfinches scattered frantically.)
Yesterday morning my driveway birds included Chipping Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrow, Towhee, Purple Finch (2), and Blue-headed Vireo. Red-breasted Nuthatches have been here all month.
At the Easton WWTP yesterday the "new-arrival" ducks included Ruddies (90), Greater Scaup (5) and Bufflehead (1). Along the trail to the river the highlights were G-C and R-C Kinglets, Swamp Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Brown Thrasher and Marsh Wren (2).
Les Roslund
Talbot County
Easton MD 21601


Red-breasted Nuthatch year?

Seems like this could be a big R-B Nuthatch year. I heard a lot of them in Mass. a couple of weeks ago. Just got back from Janes Island down by Crisfield and they were all over the place. Speaking of birds from the north, I sure would like to see an Evening Grosbeak at my feeder again. I take back everything I said about them back in the 70's when there seemed to be too many of them around.


Tuckahoe State Park Bird Walk Sept 9, 2007

Hi all on Sunday Sept 9 , 07 Danny Poet lead a a Bird walk
combined with both Talbot and Caroline County Bird clubs with a total of 10 members and Guests of both chapters enjoyed the outing to Tuckahoe State Park in Caroline County . We met at the caroline side of the lake and birded the trail along the lake to the campground . We even went to veiw the remains of the champion Overcup oak its been down since the late 1980s or early 1990s . We found 43 species including a few migrants . Birds Seen and heard:

Canada Geese
Green Heron
Mourning Dove
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher called a couple of times
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
White Eyed Vireo several around
Red Eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red Breasted Nuthatch
White Breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird heard only
Veery 1- 2 around we watched one eat a berry
Wood Thrush
Cedar Waxwing several small flocks around
Pine Warbler several
Black and White Warbler 1
Redstart 2
Prothonotary Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat
Summer Tanager 1
Scarlet Tanager 2
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow
Balimore Oriole 1

Happy Birding
Danny Poet
Queenstown , Md

Tilghman Island bird walk Sept 2 List

Hi all - 19 birders members and guests braved the wilds of
Tilghman Island in Talbot County for the sunday morning walk on sept 2 ,
07. Led by Jan Reese, we ended the morning with 56 species by my count.
We found 6 species of Warblers; No swallows - it seems all went through
last week. It was the best outing so far this fall for the club.


Brown Pelican 15 (rough estimate) several groups of them flew down
Great Blue Heron many one with a big fish
Green Heron 1
Osprey still lots around
Bald Eagle
Merlin 1
Spotted Sandpiper 1 on the riprap at black walnut point
Common Tern several
Forster's Tern several
Chimney Swift 2
Pileated woodpecker 1 on the mainland near Tilghman
Empid Flycatcher several - one of which looked like a Yellow Bellied

Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird 1
Red-eyed vireo at least 5
Blue Jay 2
Crows both species
Red-breasted Nuthatch 5
Brown-headed Nuthatch several
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher several
Eastern Bluebird 1
Veery 8 Jan Reese commented on the hundreds they caught in
the nets while banding there one day many years ago - in the 1960s I think
Chestnut - sided Warbler 2
Yellow - throated Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Black and White Warbler 3
American Redstart 1 adult male 3 immature or female type
Canada Warbler 1
Blue Grosbeak 2
Baltimore Oriole several seen by part ot the group

Happy Birding
Danny Poet
Queenstown , Md


West Nile Virus close to home

Gary French of Marydel, DE reports that last summer he had a positive tested West Nile Virus crow in his yard, and this spring he had a positive tested immature cardinal outside his back door.

Anyone else have any birds tested?


New Nature Trail soon in Denton

The Denton Development Corporation, a non-profit community development enterprise committed to redevelopment in the Denton Central Business District asked the Caroline County Bird Club to assist them with a nature trail project, which is part of their very exciting Crouse Park-Wharves at Choptank Crossing project.

Thanks to Steve Westre, who is going to help them identify specific birds that can be seen along this new nature trail.


Fall Schedule

The Fall 2007 schedule for both Caroline and Talbot Bird clubs are on our wiki.


The Caroline County Bird Club is the oldest Eastern Shore chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society

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