Sunday, December 16, 2012

North Point State Park - Beginner Bird Walk

North Point State Park is on the Chesapeake Bay and used to be not only an amusement park between 1906 and 1947, but the sight of skirmishes between the locals and British during the war of 1812!   When Bethlehem Steel bought the land in the 1940's, the recreational park was demolished, and then in 1987 the Maryland DNR purchased it and protected it.

This is an interesting park of 1320 acres with varied habitat and miles of shoreline on the Bay.  Since this was a bird walk for beginners, we were concentrating on seeing and identifying both dabbling and diving ducks.  We enjoyed walking along the Black Marsh Trail and then the jetty to spot not only ducks but some other nice winter visitors.   Please enjoy the pictures from our field trip and join us next time!
One of the tidal marshes along Black Marsh Trail.
 One of the best birds spotted today were the White-winged Crossbills which perched very close to us before they flew down to take a drink.  These Crossbill photos are by Fred Brundick.

Other birds noted along the trail were Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Gadwall, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-shouldered Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Hairy Woodpecker, and Hooded Merganser.  The ducks and Mergansers were very skittish.

We then headed to the jetty where we added Bald Eagle, Buffleheads, Lesser Scaup, and Long-tailed Ducks to our list.

 A few lighthouses could be seen from the end of the jetty. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Conowingo Dam

Unlike past years, the weather today was perfect for Eagle watching at Conowingo Dam.  Over 170 adult and immature Bald Eagles were spotted.  They were either soaring directly over our heads, or perched on the distant rocks and towers.


Black Vultures were numerous and will rip the windshield wipers off your car when you're not looking! 
Watching Bald Eagles here  is popular with both birders and photographers.
We headed over the the marina in Havre de Grace and walked on the Promenade. 

We noticed this Song Sparrow during our walk along with Golden-Crowned Kinglets, Brown Creeper, Mockingbird, Mallards, Canada Geese, Great Black-backed Gull, Double Crested Cormorant, and Ring-billed Gulls.

The Concord Lighthouse was our turnaround point.  We then drove into Havre de Grace and had a hearty lunch at MacGregor's Restaurant.  Thanks everyone for a fun day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bombay Hook NWR

Bombay Hook NWR lies along the western shore of Delaware Bay, and has about 16,000 acres of tidal salt marsh, cordgrass meadows, rivers and creeks, upland woods, and freshwater pond impoundments.  Chesapeake Audubon members enjoyed a sunny day there Saturday on a field trip led by Kye Jenkins, and noted about 51 species.

Ducks spotted include Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Ruddy Ducks, along with a Red-breasted Merganser, Coots, Pied-billed Grebes.

Hundreds of Avocets were present as well as one Black-necked Stilt.  Canada Geese and Tundra Swans were plentiful, as well as a few Snow Geese. 

Stopped along one of the impoundments.
Shovelers and Avocets flying right!
There were many more female Pintails than male.

Bald Eagles and Harriers were hunting over the marshes scaring up the ducks.  Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Great Blue Herons, Greater Yellowlegs, Marbled Godwits, Dunlins, Forster's Terns, and clouds of Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds were also seen.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

28th Annual Chili Dinner

Our 28th annual Chili Dinner featured a lecture by Dave Brinker on the "Future of Maryland's Marshbirds".   Sea level rise in the next 100 years will challenge the survival of these species, and Dave explained the research done on distribution and abundance of 10 species of marsh breeding birds in Maryland.

CAS Program Chair Kevin McCahill (left), and Master Chili Chef John Love.
 John drove all the way from New Mexico to cook for our members!
CAS information board with photos by Hugh Simmons
Members had a chance to support the preservation of Teshekpuk Lake in Alaska

John Love serving up his famous chili

Our annual Spaghetti Dinner is in the spring.  Please join us!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Irvine Nature Center

A gorgeous day for birding, and 16 of us set out birding Irvine Nature Center on a Chesapeake Audubon field trip. One of the best highlights happened at the beginning--a Merlin looking to be chowing down on a bird at the top of a distant tree. The variety of birds was, I think, a little less than what it has been of late, but still a nice bunch of birds, some, the expected, in great numbers. 8 sparrow species, including a few Fox Sparrows. We enjoyed the music of a huge thick collection of Goldfinch we ran into at the end. One bush afforded us very long and very close studies of both kinglets (and their crowns) and yellow-rumped.

Some of the birds:

Black Vulture  6
Cooper's Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Killdeer  1
Eastern Screech-Owl  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Merlin  1
Blue-headed Vireo  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
Winter Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  12
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  40    
Cedar Waxwing  22
Black-throated Blue Warbler  1
Palm Warbler  15
Yellow-rumped Warbler  15
Fox Sparrow  3
White-crowned Sparrow  8    
Purple Finch  12   
Pine Siskin  18

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cromwell Valley Park

A really fun day for the 14 people who lent their good eyes and ears to the Chesapeake Audubon trip at Cromwell Valley State Park this morning. Good and consistent activity throughout the area, and we were fortunate to obtain some excellent views of many birds.

We got a lot, but a good deal got away. Highlights below--some particularly nice birds

Black Vulture  4
Osprey  2
Northern Harrier  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Brown Thrasher  1
Cedar Waxwing  6
Ovenbird  1
Black-and-white Warbler  3
Tennessee Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  13
American Redstart  9
Northern Parula  2
Magnolia Warbler  15
Chestnut-sided Warbler  11
Black-throated Blue Warbler  1
Palm Warbler  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  9
Scarlet Tanager  2

Cromwell Valley has their own Hawk Watch with expert counters.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oregon Ridge Nature Center

While waiting in the parking lot, we could tell it was going to be a good morning for birding.  Catbirds were everywhere and very active, a Pileated Woodpecker called from the woods, and Pewees were "flycatching" overhead. 

This was a beginner bird walk, and we were treated to some nice migrants and resident birds.

The Black Walnut Tree we're looking toward held Baltimore Orioles, Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches, and Eastern Wood Pewees.  In the meadow we also saw Mourning Doves,  a Hairy Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, and Red-winged Blackbirds.

Near the Nature Center were White-breasted Nuthatches, a Veery, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and  Downy Woodpecker.  A total of 26 species were seen or heard. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kayak Trip at Bosely Conservancy

Bosely Conservancy is a component of Otter Point Creek, located in Edgewood, and is owned by the Izaac Walton League of America.  Sixteen paddlers joined the field trip through this beautiful freshwater tidal marsh.  This time of  year wildflowers are blooming profusely, and we weren't disappointed.

Here's a nice mixture of Marsh Hibiscus, Cardinal Flower, Green-headed Coneflower, and fruit from an Elderberry.
George was our leader, and is a naturalist at the Anita Leight Nature Center.
Paddling was easy and slow through the branches of Otter Point Creek.
One of two Great Egrets spotted.
Birds seen or heard include:
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Forster's Tern
Ring-billed Gull
Great Egret
Great Blue Heron
Juv. Black-crowned Night Heron
Wood Duck
White-eyed Vireo
Acadian  Flycatcher
Cedar Waxwing
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Tree Swallow
Common Yellow-throated Warbler
Carolina Wren

We're watching some terns here, this is our turnaround point.

Other plants noted were Pickerelweed, Cattail, Wild Celery, Wild Rice, Jewelweed, Joe-pye Weed, Spatterdock, Swamp Milkweed, and Arrowwood Viburnum.

You can find more information about Otter Point Creek and the Anita Leight Estuary on their website,  Thanks for an informative and fun morning on the creek!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Swan Harbor Farm - Harford Cnty.

A very friendly group of 8 people--representing a large range of birding experience--had a great time this morning at Swan Harbor Farm in Harford County. 2 bobolinks in the middle of the new/right/vegetation-covered impoundment were the highlight. Some other particular favorites included many bald eagles (of varied plumage), 4 shorebird species (least sandpiper, killdeer, lesser yellowlegs, solitary sandpiper), a green heron, a double-crested cormorant, and indigo buntings. Bees, wasps, and butterflies were active. We saw a cicada killer with a cicada drop down and go into a tunnel, and we had 4 species of swallowtail: tiger, spicebush, zebra, and black. A good time!

At the pier spotting Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, DC Cormorant, Bald Eagle, and Forster's Terns.

We observed most of the shorebirds and the Mallards in this impoundment.

The flower garden along the barn was filled with butterflies.