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.


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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.

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