WRENDERINGS The Newsletter of the Harford Bird Club

Volume 14 Number 1

February 2001

Found an injured raptor?
Contact Debbie Saylor of Chesapeake Birds of Prey, Inc.

Phone: (410) 692-9305
Fax: (410) 692-2765
E-mail: raptors@bellatlantic.net


Dave Ziolkowski Presents: "The Lesser Antilles"
Conservation News
In Memoriam
Calendar of Events
Binocular Donations
New Club Members
Field Trip Reports
Harford's Avian Visitors

Dave Ziolkowski Presents: "The Lesser Antilles"

Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and St. Lucia are a series of volcanic islands, collectively called the Lesser Antilles. They formed between Puerto Rico and Venezuela some 5 to 10 million years ago and, because they are distantly separated from the mainland by the Caribbean, they have formed unique animal communities containing many endemic species. Examining how these species have diverged over time is one of Dave's research interests. Dave will be presenting slides illustrating the unique flora and fauna of this island archipelago with special emphasis on the abundant birdlife.

Dave is currently at the University of Missouri-St. Louis working on his Ph.D. in evolutionary biology. Dave writes, "The University is not the largest of the Missouri campuses but it is known the world over for its strong program in Tropical Ecology. I worked on a variety of research projects before coming here including; aviculture at the National Aquarium in Baltimore ('92), songbird monitoring w/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife ('93), House Wren behavior in Wyoming ('95), forest bird demographics out of Dartmouth in New Hampshire ('96 & '97), and hormone influences on avian life history out of Indiana Univ. ('98 & '99) (to name a few). My interests in ecology were initially formed through Steve Hillyer's pioneering approach to science education. However, the bird club really provided a place for me to expand my horizons. I first learned to handle birds under the kind wings of Barbara Bilsborough and the Hesseltons. My skills in teaching were developed through the opportunity to lead bird trips with wonderfully excited people. My enthusiasm for the natural world was further developed through many conversations with the network of impressive teachers that Dennis Kirkwood had worked so hard to build (Tom Congersky, Tom Trafton, Roy Poole, Spike Updegrove, etc...)."

The dinner meeting will be held on Friday, March 2, 2001 at Churchville Presbyterian Church located at the intersection of MD 22 and MD 136. The dinner will start at 6:15 p.m. The dinner reservation form is at the back of this newsletter and is due not later than Wednesday, February 21. The business meeting will start at about 7:00 p.m. for those who do not wish to attend the dinner.

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Conservation News

A$12 billion, six-year conservation spending plan approved for the Department of the Interior is the most generous conservation funding in memory, but it wasn't the bill so long fought for by wildlife and environmental groups known as CARA, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act.

While Maryland will get its fair share of the new funds for wildlife habitat protection, those who have gone through the numbers say, "...[the funding] does not have the longevity, dedicated funding or the state and local conservation programs that were a hallmark of CARA."

However, not all groups thought CARA was perfect. The Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental watchdog, said CARA's faults were as significant as its assets, including incentives for increased offshore drilling and the coastal development that accompanies it.

The Interior appropriations bill will endow the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund with $450 million for state programs and $90 million for federal programs for FY 2001. State and other conservation programs are funded in FY 2001 at $300 million; state wildlife grants at $50 million; wetlands conservation at $40 million; and the Forest Legacy Program at $60 million. Deborah Bowers

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In Memoriam

Arthur J. Whalley, a member of the Harford Bird Club since 1993, passed away on October 6, 2000. Art went on several field trips and always came to the fall picnic. He was born on April 1, 1931 and was the father of two children, Steven A. Whalley and Jennifer Dietrich, and grandfather of three.

Arthur had retired from the Corporate Information Office at the Chemical Biological Development Command. Efforts to obtain further information from family and co-workers yielded no response. The bird club sent a bouquet of flowers to the funeral home. Interment was in the Holly Hill Cemetery.

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Calendar of Events

February 17 Nest Box Workshop.
March 2 Dinner Meeting at Churchville Presbyterian Church at 6:15 p.m.
March 10 State Board Meeting - Baltimore.
March 16 Deadline - to submit Harford's Avian Visitors reports to Jean Fry for Jan. 16, 2001 - Mar. 15, 2001. Jean's address is 1202 Ridge Road, Pylesville, MD 21132 or email at ffryjl@aol.com.
March 23 Deadline - to submit articles for the Apr. newsletter to Rick Cheicante. Rick's address is 1003-F Jessica's Ct, Bel Air, MD 21014 or email at rickcheicante@cs.com.
April 7 Irish Grove Spring Work Weekend.
April 28 Carey Run Spring Work Weekend.
April 29 Bluebird Seminar at Bel Air Public Library from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
May 12 May Count.
June 1 MOS Grant Applications Due.
June 10 State Board Meeting - Kent.
August 10-12 Annual MOS Conference -Salisbury.

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Binocular Donations

From time to time there is a need for binoculars to use with scouts and students who do not have them. If you have any binoculars which you no longer use, but which are still functional, please bring them to the March dinner meeting and give them to Debbie Stewart who has volunteered to keep the loaner box. - Jean Fry

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New Club Members

The Harford Bird Club would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest member:

Lisa Peake

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Harford Bird Club
Field Trip Reports

Conowingo Dam

Fourteen birders turned out for the Thanksgiving Saturday morning (Nov. 25) bird watch at Conowingo Dam. Seven people were fellow birders from the Cape May area of New Jersey. Since the dam was not generating, the gull population was very low. Present were a few Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed Gulls, and a quick appearance of one Bonaparte's Gull. However, our friends from Cape May were thrilled with the large number of Bald Eagles (19 total), as well as the fair number of Black Vultures about. A look above the dam revealed large flotillas (a new dish at Chili's?) of duck in the far distance, but only Mallard and Gadwall could be identified. Below the dam, the main rock island opposite the trail head yielded five adult and one immature Black-crowned Night Heron. The trail itself was fairly inactive , but did produce a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. - Dave Larkin

January Gull Watch

The Harford Bird Club's annual January Gull Watch with Gene Scarpulla, one of MD's foremost gull experts, took place on Sunday, January 7, 2001. Given that it was a balmy 25o morning, about 40 intrepid birders gathered, to include an enthusiasm (n., a large group of young and excited birders) from Spike Updegrove's biology class (about 25 students). However, in what has become, by most accounts, a less than spectacular Conowingo gull season, a single generator at the base of the dam did provide a glimmer of hope as a fair number of gulls consistently fed in the down wash. Right off the bat, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull appeared and flew around at the base of the dam for most of the morning. It gave just incredible field mark looks. Then around 10:00 a.m., Gene called it, "We have a new bird for the day! There's a first winter Iceland Gull sitting in the water at the base of the dam." That's why we do it! - R. L. Cheicante

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Image of a Wren over outline of Harford County
Harford's Avian Visitors
Nov. 16, 2000 - Jan. 15, 2001
by Jean Fry

This time period was colder than usual and certainly colder than the past couple of mild years. A couple of weather reports stated that December had the coldest average temperatures on record -about fifteen to twenty degrees below normal. There were a few very chilly days before Thanksgiving, but the really low temperatures set in about the second week of December. Snow arrived the third week of December and stayed on the ground until the second week of January when temperatures moderated a bit. A couple of small snowfalls arrived in early January.

A Pied-billed Grebe was seen by RC at the Spesutie Narrows in APG on 11/25. MH spotted an immature Great Cormorant across the river from Lapidum Landing on 11/22, and RC and DL saw a Double-crested Cormorant at Edgewood-APG on 11/23.

Waterfowl sightings came in late November and early December until the ponds froze over. Then the open water in the river and bay became their abode. Three Snow Geese were seen in a flock of Canada Geese on 12/3 at Lake Mitten in Pylesville by JLF. A pair of Redheads was spotted there on 11/20, three Ring-necked Ducks on 12/3, and a Common Goldeneye on 12/15 (JLF). Three Redheads were sighted by RC and DL at Edgewood-APG on 11/23; on the same day at the same location there was a fair number of Ruddy Ducks, Canvasback, and Lesser Scaup (RC and DL). Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, and Tundra Swan were seen at the Spesutie Narrows in APG on 11/25 by RC. Hooded and Common Mergansers were on the Susquehanna at Lapidum Landing on 11/22 (MH). Forty-four Hooded Mergansers (which is unusual for Hoodies) were spotted on the Susquehanna Flats 12/21 by DW. DW also saw sixty-two Tundra Swans that day at the Spesutie Narrows. On 12/11 DP reported a raft of over 2000 Common Mergansers above the dam at Conowingo Pond.

DP was able to find a first year Golden Eagle perched on a rock near the Cecil County side of the Susquehanna River on 12/9. It flew downstream after being harassed by a crow. Unfortunately, it didn't come over to the Harford County side. (Would that have been a county bird for you?) He also spotted a Merlin in early December on St. Mary's Road. During the light snowfall on 1/5 a Red-shouldered Hawk made an appearance in a Bel Air backyard (JCV). DS reported a Bald Eagle flying over the country club (in Bel Air?) about 12/26.

One Lesser Black-backed Gull and five Bonaparte's Gulls were seen by RC and DL on 11/23 at Skipper's Point in Edgewood-APG. A Forster's Tern at Spesutie Narrows in APG on 11/25 (RC). MH found a few Bonaparte's Gulls at Lapidum Landing on the Susquehanna River on 11/22.

LE reported that the Edgewood-APG game warden saw a Snowy Owl flying downrange on 12/3. Efforts to relocate it were not successful. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were sighted by RC and DL on 11/23 at the Edgewood area of APG, by JLF on 11/29 in Pylesville, and by JCV on 1/5 in Bel Air. JCV also had a male Pileated on that same day. JLF entertained a Hairy Woodpecker at their suet on 12/8 and several days thereafter. DW found an Eastern Phoebe at a house on Webster Road in Havre de Grace on 1/7.

A Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, and lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets were seen by RC on 11/19 at Eden Mill, and a Ruby-crowned at the same location on 1/1. DW found twenty-five Horned Larks at Phillips Airfield on 12/21. JLF spotted fifty Cedar Waxwings and five American Robins on 11/29 on Grande View Drive in Pylesville. On 12/2 two Golden- crowned Kinglets were seen in the same location (JLF). On 12/14 the same duo found a Brown Creeper in their front yard, and on 1/1 a Ruby-crowned Kinglet was seen near their suet.

RC found a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers at Eden Mill on 11/19. DS spotted one at his home in Bel Air in early January. DW was surprised to find an American Tree Sparrow in his yard on 1/10. JLF had a lingering Chipping Sparrow near Lake Mitten in Pylesville on 11/29. Fox Sparrows were found by RC at Eden Mill on 11/19 and by DP at his feeder near Kilgore Falls in early December. Three Fox Sparrows at Eden Mill on 1/1 (RC). DP had a Purple Finch visit his feeder in early December. A male and female Purple Finch were seen by RC and DL at the Edgewood area of APG on 11/23, and another male with two females on 1/1 at Eden Mill (RC). JLF also had a pair of Purple Finches on 12/24 at their feeder in Pylesville. A Pine Siskin visited the same feeder on 12/20.

Contributors to this column were: Rick Cheicante (RC), Les Eastman (LE), Jean and Larry Fry (JLF), Matt Hafner (MH), Dave Larkin (DL), Dave Powell (DP), Dave Seitz (DS), Joe and Carole Vangrin (JCV), and Dave Webb (DW). Did you ever notice that we have as many Dave's in the club as we do Jean's?

The next deadline for submissions is March 16 for the period of January 16 to March 15. Please send your sightings to Jean Fry. E-mail address is: ffryjl@aol.com. Mailing address is: 1202 Ridge Road, Pylesville, MD 21132. If you would like this column to continue, you need to submit your bird sightings and observations.

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February - May 2001
by Dave Powell

Here are the Harford Bird Club field trips for the next few weeks. If you would like further information about a particular field trip, please contact Dave Powell.

Sunday, February 25

Maryland and Delaware Shore Join Les Eastman for a full day of birding along the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Eiders, Harlequin Duck, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Purple Sandpiper could highlight this annual favorite. Meet at 6:00 a.m. at the MD 155 & I-95 commuter lot (Havre de Grace exit). Bring lunch or buy en route. Wear warm, comfortable clothing; scope helpful.

Saturday, March 3

Perryman with Dave Join Dave Powell on a morning walk through the Perryman area. Target species include White-Crowned Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Short-eared Owl and migrating waterfowl. Meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Wal-Mart located in Aberdeen on US 40. Most of the walking will be along roads. Call Dave Powell for further details.

Wednesday, March 7

Woodcock Watch, Volume I Dusk outing to witness the extraordinary display flight of the American Woodcock. Meet at 5:45 p.m. at the Aberdeen Wal-Mart along US 40. Trip leader is Mary Procell. Contact Dave Powell for further details.

Wednesday, March 14

Woodcock Watch, Volume II Another dusk outing to witness the extraordinary display flight of the American Woodcock. Meet at 6:00 p.m. at the Aberdeen Wal-Mart along US 40. Trip leader to be announced, contact Dave Powell for further details.

Wednesday, March 21

Woodcock Watch, Volume III Yet another dusk outing to witness the extraordinary display flight of the American Woodcock. Meet at 6:00 p.m. at the Aberdeen Wal-Mart along US 40. Trip leader is Joe Vangrin.

Saturday, March 24

Gravel Road Walk Join Debbie Bowers for a yet to be determined gravel road walk in the county. Most of the gravel roads are in undeveloped areas and can have a variety of birdlife. Target species will be early Spring migrants such as Phoebe and Pine Warbler. Meeting time is 8:00 a.m. at the MD 543 park and ride located a quarter mile from MD165. Call Debbie Bowers for further details.

Saturday, March 31

Edgewood Area, APG The Army installation between the Bush and Gunpowder Rivers is one of the best early spring birding areas in the county. The variety may include Horned Grebe, bay ducks, Pine Warbler, Osprey, and Rusty Blackbird. Morning trip begins at 8:00 a.m. at the post's MD 24 gate. Mostly point-to-point driving, with some easy walking. Call Les Eastman for further details.

Saturday, April 7

Rocks State Park Join Debbie Bowers on a morning walk through Rocks State Park. A two mile hike on the white trail will be of moderate difficulty. Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and early spring migrants are the targeted species. Meet at the park office (3318 Rocks Chrome Hill Road) at 7:30 a.m. Contact Debbie Bowers for further information.

Thursday, April 19

Mariner Point Park An easy early morning walk through this oasis in suburbia. Palm Warbler, Baltimore Orioles and shorebirds are the targeted species. Meet at the last parking area at 7:30 a.m. For more information, contact trip leader Tom Congersky.

Saturday, April 21

Earth Day at Swan Harbor Join the festivities of the annual Earth Day event at Swan Harbor. Morning bird walks at 10:30 and 12:00 a.m. will complement the club's display table. Stay tuned for further details.

Wednesday, April 25

Jerusalem Mill A nice easy walk along the Little Gunpowder River looking for early migrants and local residents. Meet at the Mill at 7:30 a.m. The Mill is on Jerusalem Road off of MD 152. For more information, contact trip leader Phil Powers.

Saturday, April 28

Rock Run Mill The first of three walks at Susquehanna State Park, Harford County premier location for warblers and other neo-tropic migrants. Resident Yellow-throated Warbler and Yellow-throated Vireos can be expected as well as orioles and thrushes. Meet at Rock Run Mill at 7:00 a.m. Contact Les Eastman for further information.

Saturday, May 5

Sweet Air. Join trip leader Mark Johnson on a morning walk through the Sweet Air area of Gunpowder Falls State Park. Northern and Louisiana Waterthrushes, Black-and-white Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are the targeted species. Meet at the parking area on Dalton-Bevard Road at 6:30 a.m. Contact Mark Johnson for further details.

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Dinner Meeting Reservation Form

Please return to Barbara Siebens, P.O. Box 68, Pylesville, MD 21132-0068 by Wednesday, February 21, 2001. __________ Number of adults ( at $11.00 each ) __________ Number of children 12 and under ( at $7.00 each ) Please make checks payable to Harford County MOS. _______________________________ Print your name(s) Include address and phone number if you would like transportation to the meeting. _______________________________ _______________________________ _______________________________
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Please send any comments to Les Eastman.
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