Monday, May 28, 2012

Birdathon 2012

May 27

This year our Birdathon team began the seach for birds at Bombay Hook in Delaware.  We spotted some  beautiful birds such as  Black-necked Stilt, Avocet, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, and Black-crowned Night Heron.  A Seaside Sparrow was a nice bonus and many Great Egrets were found.

Great Egret

Team members Tim and Kye scanning the wetlands.

We headed over to Port Mahon and  came across hundreds of Ruddy Turnstones and some Red Knots.
Horseshoe Crabs

Ruddy Turnstones and Black-necked Stilts
We were hoping for the Sabine's Gull at Dupont Nature Center but it was a no show.  We did get American Oystercatcher.
Entrance to the nature center.

We then headed to Fair Hill Nature Center in Cecil Cnty. MD and saw Yellow-throated Warbler, many Redstarts,  and Orioles.  Harford Glen Environmental Education Center in Harford Cnty. was our last stop where we picked up Least Tern, Wood Duck, and Rough-winged Swallows.  Our final tally was 102 species.  A bit less than last year but it was an enjoyable day and a great way to earn money for Chesapeake Aububon, Pickering Creek Audubon Center, and Patterson Park Audubon Center.  Here is a list of birds seen:

Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Clapper Rail
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Least Tern
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Easter Wood-pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great-crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
American Redstart
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-breasted Chat
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Boat-tailed Grackle
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Marshy Point Canoe Trip

May 26

Rachel Carson's birthday is this weekend, so we decided to learn about a section of the Chesapeake watershed while having some fun.  Marshy Point Nature Center sits on 500 acres off Dundee and Saltpeter Creeks which opens up to the Chesapeake Bay.  Naturalists Brandi and Bill taught us much about the dense marshlands and open wetlands.

We're searching for Arrow Arum and Pickerelweed
 Bill taught us about the cattails and the problems they're having with Phragmites crowding them out.  Since many animals depend on the cattails for food and shelter, it's a great concern. 
Birds were all around us.  An immature Bald Eagle caught a fish not too far from our group and perched in a nearby tree to eat it.  Other birds spotted were Tree and Barn Swallow, Pileated Woodpecker, Osprey, Least Tern, Turkey Vulture, Common Yellowthroat, Carolina Wren, and Red-tailed Hawk.

Immature Bald Eagle with fish

Brandi threw a net into the shallow water and caught a Pumpkinseed fish. 

Here we're learning about Marsh Mallow

Time to head back to the dock.  Thanks Marshy Point for sharing your knowledge.  Keep checking our schedule for more field trips on the water.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oriole Day - Cromwell Valley Park

It was a perfect day to spot Orioles, and many other birds.  At least a hunded people showed up to attend bird walks, a bug walk, and five senses walk.  Kids had fun too, and could either make their own pair of binoculars -

or a bird's nest -

or play the "Great Migration Game"

And the owl from Phoenix Wildlife Center was a huge hit -

Many organizations brought displays:

Chesapeake Audubon Society
Master Gardeners
Lights Out Baltimore (and Baltimore Bird Club) 
Also present were Maryland Natural History Society, Harford Glen (Checkerspot Butterfly Project),  Wild Bird Center, and Cromwell Valley Park Council.  Many thanks go to Justine from Cromwell Valley for organizing such a fun event, and Owen Bamford from Chesapeake Audubon who helped with our logistics.  Hope to see everybody there next year!

Susquehanna State Park

May 13, 2012

23 people attended a Chesapeake Audubon bird walk today at Susquehanna State Park, 7:30-1:00, with 2 people starting the trip early and 2 people ending it--but 23 for much of the time at the Mill and then at the Picnic Area.

THANKS to all the people--all those good ears and eyes--especially on such a relatively "slow" day (but not slow at first!).

Initially, several Louisiana Waters and a Yellow Warbler on Craig's Corner Road--and a striking Barred Owl very close to the road for awhile.

The whole group started at the Mill around 8am (Rock Run and Stafford) and the birding was excellent--delaying the time when we got to picnic. We had great views of a Blackburnian Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush. Also Great-Crested Flycatcher, both Orioles, Rough-Winged Swallows, Indigo Buntings, and Cedar Waxwings. These birds seen by just about everyone.

Activity at the picnic area was MUCH less than it has been of late (perhaps a combination of the warm weather--by the time we got there--and not as many migrants). Fewer birds, fewer species. Highlights were a Yellow-Throated Warbler (not singing, at the entrance), Scarlet Tanager, Kentucky Warbler (1, not singing), and Chats. (No blue-winged, unfortunately.) Also good views of a Yellow-Throated Vireo.

Finally, a couple of us walked a little bit of the Deer Creek Trail--not much there, but we did manage incredibly great views of a Yellow-Throated Warbler (not singing), a Yellow-Throated Vireo, and an Acadian Flycatcher.

Some of the birds, including all 21 warblers, numbers to the best of my recollection:

Yellow Warbler (1, pump house area, in tall tree by creek)
Prothonotary (6, scattered locations)
Parula (lots, widespread)
Black-Throated Blue (6+)
Cerulean Warbler (4 or so)
Canada (2)
Yellow-Rumped (6)
Magnolia (1, at the mill)
Blackpoll (lots, widespread)
Black-Throated Green (2-3)
Chestnut-Sided (2)
Blackburnian (1, great view, and singing)
Yellow-Throated (2, no singing at all from this species)
Chat (5)
Ovenbird (thinly spread throughout)
Northern Waterthrush (1, Stafford Road canal)
Louisiana Waterthrush  (5)
Worm-Eating (1, woods/slope on Stafford)
Common Yellowthroat (quite a few)
Kentucky (1, not singing)
Redstart (lots)
Yellow-Throated Vireo (4)
Warbling Vireo (many)
White-Eyed Vireo (3)
Red-Eyed Vireo (many)
Spotted Sandpiper (1)
Baltimore Oriole (many)
Orchard Oriole (good numbers)
Scarlet Tanager (4-5)
Indigo Buntings (many)
Field Sparrow (several)
Cedar Waxwing (large numbers, different locations)
Bluebird (good numbers)
Pileated Woodpecker (2-3)
Acadian Fly (many)
Osprey (several at least)
Barred Owl (1)
Hummer (2)
Phoebe (at least 1)
Peewee (8+)
Both Vultures

Thanks again to all the participants.

Tim Houghton

Spring Count at Harford Glen

May 12, 2012

We celebrated International Migratory Bird Day by helping with the Harford Bird Club Spring Count at Harford Glen.  In addition to the seven birders signed up for the trip, the banding station was active, and a teacher led some youth on a shorter walk. 

Orchard and Baltimore Orioles were plentiful,  and 19 Warbler species were spotted, including Canada, Black-throated Blue and Green, Chestnut-sided, and Kentucky.   Final tally was 91 species!  Thanks everybody.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Milford Mill Warbler Walk

Even though it was a quiet morning for this place at this time of year (2-3 x more active here just 4 days ago), the 12 of us on a Chesapeake Audubon walk had a wonderful time. We obtained excellent looks at a number of birds--scarlet tanager, rt hummer, red-eyed vireo, black-throated blue, parula, redstart, wood thrush, veery--but I think everyone on the trip will never forget the incredibly close and long views we had of a chestnut-sided warbler--unreal.

Some of the birds, including all the warblers:

Parula (many)
Yellow (2)
Black-Throated Blue (6+)
Yellow-Rumped (8+)
Black-Throated Green (1)
Blackpoll (3)
Black-and-White (2)
Redstart (7+)
Ovenbird (4)
Common Yellowthroat (2)

Red-Eyed Vireo (many)
Yellow-Throated Vireo (1)
Hummer (1)
SCARLET TANAGER (4, 2 male and 2 female)
Wood Thrush (many)
Mallard (2, fun to see close up in the creek)
Flicker (2)
Acadian Flycatcher (5)
Great-Crested Flycatcher (1-2)
Eastern Towhee (2 or so)
Indigo Bunting (1)

Tim Houghton
(Glen Arm)