2009 Caroline County Christmas Bird Count Results

Steve Westre, our Christmas Count compiler reports the following:

We're going to cut down the number of snow geese since there is most certainly double counting. Looks like we got 92 species--a normal year. The one number that was really exceptional was the number of Robins we saw--3290. We've been in the 400's before but never broke 500.
Great Blue Heron 24
Tundra Swan 901
Snow Goose 43368
*Snow Goose (Blue) 103
Ross's Goose 3
Canada Goose 9306
Wood Duck 6
Mallard 279
Am. Black Duck 77
N Pintail 7
Canvasback 14
Lesser Scaup 6
Greater Scaup 1
Ring-necked Duck 89
Bufflelhead 14
Hooded Merganser 3
Common Merganser 6
Ruddy Duck 2
Black Vulture 31
Turkey Vulture 280
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4
Cooper's Hawk 6
*Accipiter sp. 1
N Harrier 15
Red-shouldered Hawk 3
Red-tailed Hawk 20
*Bald Eagle Adult 31
*Bald Eagle Immature 6
Am Kestrel 19
*Falcon sp. 1
Wild Turkey 33
N Bobwhite 6
Virginia Rail 1
Killdeer 67
Am. Woodcock 9
Ring-billed Gull 803
Herring Gull 27
Gr Black-backed Gull 1
Rock Dove 239
Mourning Dove 519
Eastern Screech Owl 18
Great Horned Owl 17
Barred Owl 14
Belted Kingfisher 8
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 16
Red-bellied Woodpecker 80
Downy Woodpecker 50
Hairy Woodpecker 19
N Flicker 127
Pileated Woodpecker 23
E Phoebe 7
Blue Jay 191
Am. Crow 389
Fish Crow 7
Horned Lark 485
Carolina Chickadee 217
Brown Creeper 15
Tufted Titmouse 99
White-breasted Nuthatch 14
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Caroline Wren 125
Winter Wren 21
Golden-crowned Kinglet 51
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 14
Eastern Bluebird 240
Hermit Thrush 71
Am Robin 3290
Gray Catbird 1
N Mockingbird 105
Brown Thrasher 4
Am Pipit 205
Cedar Waxwing 114
Eur Starling 1196
Myrtle Warbler 53
Pine Warbler 7
Palm Warbler 6
N Cardinal 277
Eastern Towhee 27
Chipping Sparrow 75
Field Sparrow 28
Savannah Sparrow 32
Song Sparrow 113
Swamp Sparrow 17
Fox Sparrow 6
White-crowned Sparrow 9
White-throated Sparrow 1011
Slate-colored Junco 913
E Meadowlark 64
Red-winged Blackbird 1123
Common Grackle 183
Brown-headed Cowbird 17
*Blackbird sp. 60
House Sparrow 139
Am Goldfinch 171
Pine Siskin 2
House Finch 24
Purple Finch 21



Hi to all from New Mexico! I arrived home a couple nights ago to find this bird sitting right by the front door in Santa Fe. Seemed like an old friend from the eastern shore, although seldom actually seen. The bird book I have here says woodcock range as far west as Texas, but I guess this one didn't read the guides.


Great Egret

Taken By Danny Poet at Chinoteague National Wildlife Refuge in VA

Caroline County Bird Club vists Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuage in VA

On sat Nov 29,2008 3 members of the Caroline County bird club visted Chincoteague National wildlife Refuge in Va , Dawn Brownlee Tomaso her husband Rob joined Danny Poet for a great outing at a great place Dawn ended up with several life birds . bird list below

Common Loon
Northern Gannet
Double crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret quite a few for this late date
Snowy Egret 3 late for them
Black Crowned Night Heron 4
Tundra Swan
Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Green Winged Teal
Black Duck
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Scoter [species ]
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle several
Sharp Shinned Hawk
Red Tailed Hawk
American Coot
American Oystercatcher
American Avocet 1
Greater Yellowlegs
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring Billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black Backed Gull
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Belted kingfisher 1
Tree Swallow
American Crow
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow Rumped warbler lots of them
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Dark eyed Junco
Eastern Meadowlark 2
House finch


Have a great December

And don't forget to feed our feathered friends during these cold winter months!


October 16 meeting highlights

If you ever think you might want to go birding in Costa Rica, talk to Gary Van Velsir of the Anne Arundel Bird Club. He will definitely talk you into going and give you great tips on where to go and how to get the best birding tour guides.

Gary presented an electronic slide show of incredibly beautiful landscapes, birds and other wildlife of several areas of Costa Rica he and his wife visited in 2006.

I think all who attended the meeting would agree the BEST bird of Gary's trip was the stunningly beautiful Resplendent Quetzal as seen just above.

Source of photograph: http://www.birdsasart.com/Ralph-Resplendent_Quetzal.jpg


Terns nesting on Giant store in Easton

I know some of us have been wondering about the terns that nest on the roof of the Giant Grocery Store in Easton. Wayne Bell was able to answer my questions, so I though I'd share it here. Thanks, Wayne!

The birds that nest on the roof of the Easton Giant are Least Tern. This species has taken to nesting on several flat-roofed buildings in the Chesapeake region due to a lack of sandy beaches undisturbed by people and predators. Despite what must be intense heat during the summer, nesting is quite successful and the colony is growing. The original Least Tern colony in Easton nested on the roof of the High School. Nesting was disrupted when a new roof was put on the school but I understand that the contractor took some pains to restore the original gravel design. As far as I know, the colony did not return but apparently "migrated" to the newly built Giant. I know of smaller but also successful colonies atop Queen Anne's County High in Centreville and Rose's in Chestertown. These colonies are monitored by DNR and access to the rooftops during the nesting season is generally denied. I don't know who has oversight, but you might contact Glenn Therres at DNR for more information. I have his office phone as (410) 260-8572 and his email as <gtherres@dnr.state.md.us>.

Some sites to visit to learn more about the Least Tern:


Chincoteague pony with feathered rider

Injured osprey rescued in Harmony

I saw some vultures flying around my horse lot. When I went to check it out, I found a hurt osprey.
The bird looked good but I think he had a broken leg or was shot.

After many phone calls....
Maryland Natural Resources Police came and got the bird . The officer said the bird was in good shape and they would try to get it to Newark [Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research]. The osprey didn't try to fight Bruce when he picked him up. I think the bird knew we were trying to help it. I hope he makes it.

Jane and Bruce Clendaniel


Blackwater Wildlife Refuge reports migrating Canada Geese arriving

On Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., Steve Stack and Tod Adams observed the first flock of Canada Geese moving into the area. Geese were very high in altitude and moving south. Conditions are right for the first movement of birds due to the recent frontal passage with north and west winds as well as a full moon. This is right on schedule for our traditional arrival
dates. Keep a lookout for additional birds now on each cold front.

Message sent 9-18-08 by

Maggie Briggs
Visitor Services Manager
Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
2145 Key Wallace Drive
Cambridge, MD 21613


Bird Banding observation great fun

Eight of us visited the Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory Banding Station Sept 14, 2008.
Due to the high heat of the day, the bird count was lower than usual. That meant that Jim Gruber and his team were able to take more time to spend with us, answering questions and taking us around some of their 100 nets.

What I didn't know, is that this station is now part of a non profit organization called
Chester River Field Research Center
P. O. Box 421
Chestertown, MD 21620

They depend on donations to pay for nets, supplies and salaries for two staff who are paid. Jim and the rest of the crew volunteer their time, but the volume of work requires full time staff.

They send in all their data to Patuxent Research Center and also gather ticks removed from birds to send to another research group, I think at Harvard.

We will gather our photos soon and try to provide a short slide show of some of the birds we got to see up close and personal. The photo here is of Jim Gruber holding a brown thrasher covered in poke weed juice.

Dan provided us a list of what they banded that day --

Ruby-throated hummer- 3
American Redstart- 7
Least flycatcher- 1
Yellow bellied Flycatcher- 1
Acadian Fly- 1
E. Woodpewee- 4
Mag. warbler- 2
Am. Goldfinch- 1
Yellowthroat- 14
House Wren- 1
Black and white- 3
Field Sparrow- 1
Chickadee- 1
Red-eye vireo- 3
Indigo- 2
Phoebe- 2
Carolina Wren- 1
Veery- 4
Blue Grosbeak- 1
Yellow-breasted Chat- 1
Scarlet Tanager- 1
No. Cardinal- 2
Wood Thrush- 1
Catbird- 9
Thrasher- 2
Mockingbird- 1


Highlights from Sept 7 Bird Walk

9 - 7 - 08 the Caroline County and Talbot County Bird Clubs held a bird walk at Tuckahoe State Park. We found 47 species but no storm birds [left from Tropical Storm Hanna]. Danny Poet lead the walk. Our thanks to Bobby Wells for the great brunch after the walk .

Highlights are as follows:

Great Blue Heron
Wood Duck 12
Red Shouldered Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
R. T. Hummingbirds several
Belted Kingfisher
Pileated woodpecker 1 heard
Red bellied Woodpecker
Downy woodpecker several
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood Pewee several
Great creasted Flycatcher 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
E. kingbird 1
White eyed Vireo
Red eyed Vireo
Carolina Chickadee several
Tufted Titmouse 2
Blue gray Gnatcatcher 3
Eastern Bluebird
Robin 6
Gray Catbird 4
Mockingbird 2
Brown Thrasher 2
Pine warbler
Black and white Warbler 1
A. Redstart 1 yellow type
Chipping Sparrow 30
Cardinal several
Rose Breasted Grosbeak 1 female type
Blue Grosbeak 1
A. Goldfinch 12

Happy Birding
Danny Poet


New bird story from our friend South of the Border

Anis to the Rescue!
Tropical woman's best friend is not a dog - it is an ani. Anis tell me where the ants are. When I see a group of anis progressing across my field I know they are just in front of a large, invisible, invasion of ants. They do not eat the ants but they find the crickets, who are frantically trying to get out of the ant's path, absolutely delicious. And so it was this morning, but the invasion was from my lower yard, up an 8 foot retaining wall, across the upper yard and toward the house. The ants were of a species named Ronda. How did I know this was happening?
Suddenly all the anis were screaming and dropping down to eat crickets - 15 or more in a tree and more on the ground. It was a Labor Day feast but Labor Day does not exist in Mexico. Duly alerted, Chencho(works for me) and I mounted our counter-attack. First the hose to push them back with water and, as a last resort, an on-the-back- tank of insect spray. We needed both. In about an hour the invasion was repulsed and the anis returned to their trees. We regret having to use insect spray on the Rondas - they eat insects and are useful - but their numbers are in the thousands and they are very determined about their instinctive pathways, which can be 20 feet wide. According to Chencho, they may try to invade again this afternoon. I hope the anis know this and tell me about it.

Charlotte Hignutt, our birding friend in Mexico

For information about the Ani, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani_(bird)


September full of great activities!

Check out our Fall 2008 schedule

Below is just September's events --

Sunday, September 7. Bird Walk at Tuckahoe State Park (Tuckahoe Creek IBA) Co-sponsored by the Caroline and Talbot Bird Clubs. Leader: Danny Poet. Meet at the Woods Trail parking lot near the lake at 8 am. Dress comfortably and bring binoculars if you have them. Questions, contact Danny Poet at (410)827-8651 or birder231@hotmail.com.

Sunday, September 14 ¬ Trip. Bird Banding observation in Chestertown. Jim Gruber, Bander. 8:30 AM .

Great for kids. Adults welcome too. Rain date is Sept 21. Contact Danny Poet to register and for directions at (410)827-8651 or birder231@hotmail.com.

For carpooling, meet at Roses parking lot, Denton at 7:30 AM. Contact Debby Bennett at w:410-479-1343 or firefly5845@hotmail.com.

Thursday, September 18. ¬ Meeting. Ray Bivens, Chief of Interpretation and Environmental Education, Delaware State Parks presents “Cape Henlopen Osprey project”

7:30 PM, Caroline County Public Library, 100 Market St., Denton.

Saturday, September 20. ¬ Caroline Fall Bird Count. If you would like to participate, please contact Debby Bennett at w:410-479-1343 or firefly5845@hotmail.com.

For a copy of the Count Checklist, go to the Maryland Ornithological Web site at: http://www.mdbirds.org/counts/fall/fallcounts.html and click on Checklist.


Farewell to Dick Kleen

We are sorry to say, our friend, Dick Kleen passed away July 9, 2008. There is a wonderful tribute to him in the Sunday Star Democrat, July 13, 2008 written by some of his closest friends.

Les Roslund wrote a great article about Dick for the May/June 2005 MOS Yellowthroat, page 15, which you can find online on the MOS website. Here is a portion of what Les wrote about Dick -

Dick has been a tower of strength and a major source of inspiration for the Talbot County Chapter of MOS since its inception back in 1955. He led the push to establish a chapter in Talbot County and was president of the chapter most of the time for the next 20 years. He established the St Michaels Christmas Count in 1954 and has actively participated in it every year since then. With superb leadership skills, he developed an admirable record of getting young people as well as adults excited about the birds. He carried his birding interest intensely throughout the state, becoming very familiar with where birds of Maryland could be found. Such activity put him in touch with most of the birders of Maryland, and surely contributed to his becoming the 3rd State President of the Maryland Ornithological Society.... The interests of birding and birders in Talbot County have benefitted greatly from the energy, dedication, and enthusiasm of Dick Kleen.

— Les Roslund, Talbot County Bird Club

Memorial Service to be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 19,
at Christ Church in St Michaels, MD

Memorial Donations may be made to the Dick Kleen Fund of the Mid-
Shore Community Foundation, 102 East Dover St, Easton, MD 21601,
or to Talbot Hospice Foundation, 586 Cynwood Drive, Easton, MD 21601.


Update on baby osprey in St. Michaels

First there were two ........................ ..................... Then there were three!

Please check the great comment on our last posting of the rescue and finding of new home for our osprey chick, who's nest was lost to the river. Thanks, Aubrey!

I'm not sure all we have to thank, but for sure Chris, Peter McGowan, Marc Barto, Suzi and Tristate, and Rob Brownlee-Tomasso for photos and Dawn for keeping the emails coming! Thanks to anyone else who had a hand in this thoughtful deed!


Baby Osprey rescued in St. Michaels

Dan Sutherland and Marc Barto work in CBMM's boatyard and live aboard their boats out in the harbor. On his way out to his boat last night, Dan saw an osprey nest with a baby in it come detached from its daymark and plunge into the water. He rescued the baby and he and Marc put it into a nest Marc built for baby ducks, and they made up a fish concoction in a caulk gun and fed it all through the night. It's looking much better this morning, and the DNR should be coming to get the baby today. Here's a couple pictures. Check out those talons!

Marc Barto 6/24/2008 update:

For those of you who are interested, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was here this morning to reintroduce the baby osprey that Dan and I saved last Thursday. I was able to accompany them out to the Red #2 marker and they allowed me to climb up into the nest and place the fledgling with it's two new brothers. The parents then returned to the nest and adopted the new bird. It was a successful reentry. Peter McGowan was the biologist that helped us. He said he would send us photos of the nesting sight. Very heartwarming experience.

Information provided by Dawn Brownlee-Tomasso
Photos byRob Brownlee-Tomasso
Graphic Designer
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum


May 26 Youth Bird Walk and IBA Dedication at Adkins Arboretum

Fifteen members from the Talbot and Caroline Bird Clubs, plus 5 youngsters from Queen Anne's County middle and high schools, finished off the spring season with a bang on Sunday, 25 May, at Adkins Arboretum. We enjoyed one of the finest late migrant fallouts anyone can remember, highlighted by 12 warblers (plus at least two more) and 5 thrushes. The youth-oriented bird walk was actually a "habitat competition" pitting the bottomland forest and swamp against the upland field and scrub. But this year there was no contest due to the presence of the late migrants in the forest and woods edge; the score was 53 species for the forest vs. 38 for the field, with 19 species seen in both habitats. Total species seen: 70.

This glorious morning ended with dedication of the Tuckahoe Creek Important Bird Area by MD-DC Audubon. The IBA encompasses all of Adkins Arboretum and most of Tuckahoe Creek State Park. The IBA certainly lived up to its name! What a gem of a place for all of us to enjoy. Special thanks to the following persons who contributed field data that qualified these lands for IBA status, particularly with reference to Prothonotary Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush: Christina Brinster, Amanda Spears, Danny Poet, Karen and Bill Harris, Forrest and Martha Bogan, Margie Steffens, Jessica Furlong, and Andrew Clark.

Here is the species list for the morning:

Heron, Great Blue
Vulture, Turkey
Hawk, Red-shouldered
Gull, Laughing
Dove, Mourning
Cuckoo, Yellow-billed
Hummingbird, Ruby-throated
Woodpecker, Red-bellied
Woodpecker, Downy
Flicker, Northern
Woodpecker, Pileated
Wood-pewee, Eastern
Flycatcher, Acadian
Phoebe, Eastern
Flycatcher, Great crested
Kingbird, Eastern
Vireo, White-eyed
Vireo, Yellow-throated
Vireo, Red-eyed
Jay, Blue
Crow, American
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Tree
Chickadee, Carolina
Titmouse, Tufted
Nuthatch, White-breasted
Wren, Carolina
Gnatcatcher, Blue-gray
Bluebird, Eastern
Thrush, Wood
Robin, American
Catbird, Gray
Mockingbird, Northern
Thrasher, Brown
Starling, European
Waxwing, Cedar
Warbler, Pine
Redstart, American
Warbler, Prothonotary
Warbler, Worm-eating
Warbler, Kentucky
Yellowthroat, Common
Chat, Yellow-breasted
Tanager, Summer
Tanager, Scarlet
Towhee, Eastern
Sparrow, Chipping
Sparrow, Field
Cardinal, Northern
Grosbeak, Blue
Bunting, Indigo
Blackbird, Red-winged
Grackle, Common
Cowbird, Brown-headed
Oriole, Orchard
Oriole, Baltimore
Finch, House
Goldfinch, American

In addition to the above, individuals reported CANADA WARBLER,

That a way to end the spring season!

Yours -- Dave Palmer, Wayne Bell, and Debby Bennett


What are those white birds flying around the Easton Giant?

The birds that nest on the roof of the Easton Giant are Least Tern. This species has taken to nesting on several flat-roofed buildings in the Chesapeake region due to a lack of sandy beaches undisturbed by people and predators. Despite what must be intense

heat during the summer, nesting is quite successful and the colony is growing. The original Least Tern colony in Easton nested on the roof of the High School. Nesting was disrupted when a new roof was put on the school but I understand that the contractor took some pains to restore the original gravel design. As far as I know, the colony did

not return but apparently "migrated" to the newly built Giant. I know of smaller but also successful colonies atop Queen Anne's County High in Centreville and Rose's in Chestertown. These colonies are monitored by DNR and access to the rooftops during the nesting season is generally denied.

Information provided by Wayne Bell, incoming President of MOS and member of Talbot Bird Club.


Recent bird sightings from Chiapas, Mexico

Chiapas bird news - I have a new bird ID book - A guide to the Birds of Mexico and Central America - it is very large and too heavy to take farther than the porch - someday I will feel courageous and cut it into 3 parts, extracting the center illustrations from the descriptions.

I was surprised yesterday by a Black and White warbler hopping up, and around, the trunk of a tree - acting just like a nuthatch. Two Roadside hawks are patrolling my 2 acres of yard looking for a nesting site. They spotted a Melodious blackbird nest in a ficus tree ten feet from my porch. One hawk landed on a wall just beyond the tree and immediately found itself surrounded and attacked by Boat-billed flycatchers, White-winged doves, Great-tailed grackles, and other blackbirds- all screaming at it. A dive-bombing flycatcher finally sent it off to a distant tree from where it screamed back at its attackers - it was a war. The presence of the hawks has totally disrupted the dove's morning feeding of rice and corn.

I usually put the food on the ground under a tree - NO WAY! They won't go near food that isn't under open sky. The hawks will nest in May - then it will be the Brown jay's turn to do the molesting - they are large, feisty, and can kill hawks. At the moment the jays are eating my mangos and the agoutis (small animals) are eating my squash - there are several wars going on - only the iguanas are peaceful.

Charlotte Hignutt (formally of Denton, MD)


Clean Out your Nesting Boxes

Just A quick note . If folks have not done so yet NOW is the time to clean out your nesting birdhouses in your yards . Bluebirds and chickadees are now house hunting or nest building.
get it done ASAP .

Photo above shows female Eastern Bluebird pausing between house hunting in my yard recently .

Best Reguards
Danny Poet
Caroline County Bird Club President


A great birding day for Diane Cole

I took my husky for a walk down the West Side Bypass off Jenkins Creek Rd in Cambridge between noon and 1:00 pm today, and observed the following:
Blue jay
European starlings
American robins
Northern mockingbird
Northern cardinal; singing male
American goldfinches; several
House finch; pair
Song sparrows; singing male
Eastern bluebird; pair nesting on next door neighbor's fence
Carolina wren; agitated fussing
Northern harrier; female
Bald eagles; pair being chased by a red-tail hawk.
Red-tailed hawk; screaming
I heard the red-tail scream, then the eagles call out to each other. I looked up to see the red-tail dive at the eagles. Once the hawk flew away, the eagles did an aerial display. They repeatedly and briefly locked talons while flying side by side. They were very synchronized, like feathered Blue Angels. This is usually a pair-bonding ritual, but maybe today they were High Fiving that the red-tail flew away. This may be the pair that nests somewhere in/near the City.
The harrier flushed from a small stand of cedar and pines located at the edge of the meadow near the small stream that flows through a huge culvert pipe toward Jenkins Creek.
A couple of evenings ago, we flushed woodcock along this road, and a meadowlark called out.
There is now a bermed, stormwater management/sediment trap "depression" at the far side of the field. A place that will attract sandpipers, frogs and herons. I'll have to keep an eye on it.
We had several bob white quail nesting in the tall broom sedge grasses along the bypass last year, as well as eastern meadowlark, field sparrows, and grasshopper sparrows. But the developers have mowed some of the grasses, and unfortunately, these four species will likely leave the area. In fact, they would die off if they didn't find suitable replacement habitat. A local developer has paid the State $2 million to create habitat along Egypt Road, and several meadows will be created this summer as part of that project.
Diane Cole


Next two meetings

At the Caroline County Public Library, 100 Market Street, Denton, MD - Large meeting room at 7:30 PM

All activities are free and open to the public

Thursday, March 20 ­ Meeting. Jared Parks of Eastern Shore Land Conservancy presents “Land Preservation on the Eastern Shore.”

Thursday, April 17 ­ Meeting. Jim Rapp, Executive Director of Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences(DLITE) presents “What is Delmarva LITE and why is it good for the Eastern Shore”. He will also tell us about the Delmarva Birding Weekend to be help April 23-27 with events happening all over the shore, including Caroline County.


Congratulations to Harry Armistead!

Ferry Neck's own birder-extraordinaire is the subject of a wonderful
feature article: "Harry at every Tern" by Pat Valdata, which appears
in the March 2008 issue of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Received mine in
today's mail, so it must be hot off the press.

Turn to Page 55 for a full page photo of Harry at his classic best.... with
bug shirt, birds and binoculars.

The note above was forwarded from Paul and Priscilla Thut (Members of Talbot
County Chapter of MOS) to Les Roslund.

Note: Many of us have had the opportunity to bird with Harry at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge over the years.


Look out for tagged gulls

On the Prince George's County Mid-Winter Count, Jeff Shenot and I found a tagged adult Ring-billed Gull at the Brown Station Road Landfill (entry by permission only). It had two circular yellow tags, one attached to either inner wing. There were no bands or other identifying marks. We learned the following from Thomas W. Seamans, Wildlife Biologist, USDA/Wildlife Services/National Wildlife Research Center-Ohio Field Station after reporting the find to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Lab:

"The gull was tagged in Chicago in May 2007. We marked a total of 724 gulls in the Chicago area with either orange (150 tags), green (202 tags), blue (222 tags) or yellow (150) wing tags. We do have a good idea of where ring-billed gulls from the Great Lakes region winter but this information will give us some additional information on the Chicago gulls. Also, I am especially interested to learn if there is a reporting difference between the 4 tag colors that we applied. Should you spot any other tagged birds we would appreciate learning of their location."

Please let the bird banding lab http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/ know if you observe any of these tagged gulls. The tags tend to stick out from the body and are fairly visible.

Sue Ricciardi, Arnold, MD


2007 Christmas Count Has Record Year!

The Caroline County Bird Club, a chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, held its annual Christmas Bird Count on the 15th of December. On the count day birders try to count every bird in an area that’s a circle 15 miles in diameter with the center of the circle at the spot where Piney Branch enters the Choptank, roughly across the river from North Caroline High School. The inevitable question is, “How do the counters know that they’re not counting the same bird someone else counted.” When the results are tabulated there is an attempt to avoid counting the same birds twice. A few years ago there was an Osprey in the count area, a common bird in the summer but very rare in the winter. It was reported three times but counted only once.

The Denton Count, as it is called, is one of the oldest on the Shore having started in 1950 when Roberta & Jerry Fletcher, Marvin Hewitt and Anna May Thompson went out and counted 45 birds. The idea of the Christmas Count started in 1900 when a small group of people in the newly formed Audubon Society proposed a day of bird counting during the holidays as an alternative to the 19th Century tradition of choosing up sides and going out and shooting as many birds as they could and then comparing the piles of dead birds to determine a winner. At the time the Audubon Society couldn’t conceive of how effective sporting events on TV would be in accomplishing the same purpose.

There are now 2000 Christmas Counts conducted all across North and Central America and the number of participants has grown to over 60,000. The Denton Count has been held every Holiday Season since 1950 and this year it had 20 participants and they reported a record number of 101 species. The previous record was 97 in 1999 and many doubted the count could ever reach the magical number of 100.

To get as many as 100 species conditions have to be just right and you can’t miss many birds that are not rare but aren’t that common and could very easily be missed. Birds like the Brown Thrasher, Catbird, Wilson Snipe, Fox Sparrow, Fish Crow, Woodcock, Pine Warbler, and Rusty Blackbirds are not seen every year, but they all made an appearance this year. In addition to seeing most of the birds that you could hope to expect, there were also a good many rarer birds sighted. The only bird that had never been on the Count before was the Golden Eagle. The count was also helped by an influx of northern birds that usually don’t make it down this far south. These included a Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, and four Saw-whet Owls. Red-breasted Nuthatches, another northern bird, while not as rare, are being seen in large numbers as anyone who feeds sunflower seeds can attest to.

Other unusual birds included a Ross’s Goose and Cackling Geese. The Ross’s Goose looks like a Snow Goose but is closer in size to a Mallard and the Cackling Goose looks like a miniature Canada Goose. There was a Lapland Longspur and a Snow Bunting seen in the open barren fields that they prefer. A single Vesper Sparrow was observed, a grassland bird that used to be fairly common in Caroline County but is quite rare today. A King Rail and a Sora, both birds of marshes were observed along the Tuckahoe River by playing tapes of their call and having them respond to it. A Black-headed Gull only seen on the count once before was observed, but the regularly occurring Great Black-backed Gull was missed for a second year in a row. A Barn Owl was a welcomed sighting. They are not that rare but seldom observed because in addition to being nocturnal you don’t hear them calling the way you hear Great Horned and Barred Owls.

A complete listing of the birds seen on the count can be found the Audubon Christmas Bird Count web site: http://cbc.audubon.org/cbccurrent/current_table.html

Under Option A, select Maryland and click on "find count" then over on the right, you will see CBC Count Code with a box underneath. Click on Denton.

Submitted by Steve Westre, Caroline County Christmas Bird Count Coordinator


Plans for a Maryland Birding Trail

The May/June 2007 issue of YELLOWTHROAT has an article on page nine about plans to develop a Maryland Birding Trail.
Go to http://www.mdbirds.org/publications/yellowthroat/pdf/yt2703.pdf
and then go to page 9 to read about it.

Another good site for information about Birding Trails is: http://www.americanbirding.org/resources/birdingtrails.html

2007 Annual and Life List Report

As we draw closer to the end of 2007, it's once again time to begin thinking
about submitting your list totals for the 2007 Annual and Life List Report.
The List Report Form is on the MOS Website, at:

If you've not submitted before, look here to see the 2006 List
Report: http://www.mdbirds.org/birds/mdbirds/locality/lstrep2006.pdf

This is meant to be a fun activity, so please take it in that vein. If you
have stopped reporting, consider starting up again. If you've never
reported, join us!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with me!

Norm Saunders
MOS Annual List Report Compiler

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