WRENDERINGS The Newsletter of the Harford Bird Club

Volume 14 Number 3

June 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


Summer Social at the Anita Leight Estuary Center
New Officers Selected
Debbie Saylor - Presidential Farewell
Calendar of Events
Guest Editorial : Rick Blom on Mute Swans
Harford Birdlife
A Big HBC Thanks!
Vacation Essays
Field Trip Reports
New Club Members

Summer Social at the Anita Leight Estuary Center

The Harford Bird Club will have its fifth "Summer Social" at the Anita Leight Estuary Center on Friday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. Light fare (soft drinks, cheese, crackers, vegetables, and fruit) will be included in the registration fee of $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children. Please return your reservation form to Bobbie Siebens by Friday, July 13.

As for entertainment, experience the sights and sounds of vintage video footage from the travels of Spike Updegrove, feared and devoted member of the Harford Bird Club. See the grace of the California Condor, feel the power of the blue whale, and behold the antics of the Red-breasted Sapsucker as "Spike" brilliantly narrates this southern California expedition for our viewing and listening pleasure.

The Anita Leight Estuary Center is located two miles east of Edgewood just south of Route 40 on Otter Point Road. Details are available from Carole Vangrin at (410) 838-1921 or Carol Flora at (410) 879-0642.

Special Announcement: Nominations needed for Harford Bird Club members' annual awards. Winners will be announced at the Summer Social. Award categories include Birder of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Bird of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year. Please submit your nominations to Carol Flora as soon as possible.

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New Officers Selected

At a recent Harford Bird Club meeting, a new body of executive officers was selected by nomination and vote. It is at this time that I would like to welcome Ms. Carol Flora as the new President of the Harford Bird Club. Carol replaces departing President Debbie Saylor - having recently completed her two year term. Carol most recently served as our Public Relations Chairperson. Also accepting a new position is long-time Harford Bird Club member and former President, Dennis Kirkwood. Dennis will serve as our new VP. Eileen Frey and Macrina Seitz also accepted new posts. - R.L. Cheicante Jr.

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Debbie Saylor - Presidential Farewell

I would like to thank all the members and officers of the Harford Bird Club for all your support during the last two years. Our club has attracted many new members and hopefully all of them eager to join our "seasoned veterans" on field trips or share in various activities that the club has to offer. I feel grateful for having made some wonderful friends and met some very interesting people along the way. An old rule of science says," Biodiversity equals stability", and so applies to a social structure. We have a unique biodiversity of people within our group and I encourage all of our members to share their wealth of knowledge or special skills. Do not be afraid to volunteer for fear you do not know how to identify all the birds in Harford County. The joy is in learning and in sharing experiences with each other. Many people have taken me under "their wings", trying to train my eye to identify that tiny little bird miles away ( birders call them LBJ's or little brown jobs). Being able to express the beauty of nature to someone is a wonderful healing and bonding process. Get in touch with yourself and nature......go Birding! I have fond memories and I thank you for the honor of serving as president of this fine organization. - Debbie Saylor

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Calendar of Events

July 16 Deadline - to contribute Harford Birdlife reports to Jean Fry for May 16, 2001 - July 15, 2001. Jean's address is 1202 Ridge Road, Pylesville, MD 21132 or email at ffryjl@aol.com.
July 20 Summer Social at the Anita Leight Center.
July 23 Deadline - to submit articles for the August issue of Wrenderings to Rick Cheicante. Rick's address is 1003-F Jessica's Ct, Bel Air, MD 21014 or rickcheicante@cs.com.
August 10-12 Annual MOS Conference -Salisbury.
September 29 Annual picnic at Capa Field.

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Guest Editorial : Rick Blom on Mute Swans

I am writing in response to Deborah Bowers' conservation editorial about Mute Swans in the March-April 2001 issue of Wrenderings. I have great admiration for Ms Bower's commitment and contributions, but I disagree with some of her views on this issue.

First, let me clear away any potential side issues. I do not like hunting and have spoken against it on numerous occasions. I do not like the thought of killing in any circumstances and accept the necessity of lethal control efforts only as a last resort. I like swans. In fact, I like all birds, including crows, cowbirds, and starlings. The issue, however, is not about the personal sensitivities of me or anyone else. It is about our responsibility to protect native species and the habitats they depend on.

Mute Swans are not native to Maryland or North America. They may be large and white and beautiful, but they are, from an environmental point of view, no different than house sparrows or purple loosestrife or zebra mussels or fire ants. They are an alien species that has a measurable negative impact on native species and habitats.

The impact is two-fold. First, they do denude areas of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAVs), a critical part of the Bay ecosystem. We lost vast areas of SAVs due to pollution and other human activities, but we are working hard to restore them. Mute Swans make our effort to restore the Bay more difficult. Many native species depend on SAVs, including crabs and native waterfowl.

Second, Mute Swans directly affect native birds by driving them from breeding sites. Mute Swans are aggressive during the breeding season and are largely intolerant of other waterfowl attempting to breed in proximity to their territories. They also take over nesting islands, as they did in Tar Bay, eliminating the largest nesting colonies of Least Terns and Black Skimmers in the Maryland portion of the Bay. Both are native species that are in decline and which we are trying to protect.

There is little debate that the Bay would be better off without Mute Swans. The debate is over which means to use to control swans. In an ideal world we would have completely humane methods at our disposal. It is not an ideal world. The commonest non-lethal control method has been addling eggs. It works because the swans will not lay a replacement clutch, thus making the breeding season a failure. It is an attractive alternative but it does not work.

In other states where addling has been tried the results are dismal. Swan populations not only do not decline, they continue to increase. The problem is that it is extremely labor intensive. To make a dent you have to find a significant portion of the nests every season. Many are in remote areas and go undetected. Others are extremely hard to get to. If we had an unlimited budget, and a huge number of volunteers, it might be possible, but we do not and there is no possibility that we will.

Rounding up birds and transporting them to other locations is certainly more humane, but it is unworkable. We could round up a large number of swans, but we have no place to put them. No one else wants them. Most other states with Mute Swans are trying to limit or eliminate the birds and they want no part of ours. There simply are not enough zoos and other facilities willing to take the birds. Theoretically we could round up large numbers and ship them overseas, but the cost is astronomical.

That leaves lethal means. I don't like it, and I suspect many members of the Maryland Ornithological Society feel the same way. No matter how unpleasant the prospect is, however, we are stuck with it. Our choices are simple: We either use lethal means to control Mute Swans or we make the decision to allow the continued degradation of the Chesapeake Bay and the decline of native species. If we take that course we cannot escape the responsibility for it. Deciding not to control swans means that we are choosing to allow other species to suffer.

We are responsible for the management of the environment. We cannot abrogate that responsibility merely because we do not like the choices. To be a serious environmentalist requires looking at the problems and the choices with a clear head. We all have personal preferences and sensitivities, but when we allow them to interfere with our understanding and management of the environment and the species we are obligated to protect, we are benefiting ourselves, not nature. We are not charged with doing what makes us feel good about ourselves, we are charged with doing what is right, even when it is hard.

The hunting issue is almost certainly irrelevant when it comes to Mute Swans. First, the number of hunters and the number of days hunting has been declining for many years. At the current rate it will be a minor factor in our lifetime. Second, the vast majority of waterfowl hunters want nothing to do with swans. Feelers to hunting organizations resulted in an almost universally negative reaction. Most hunters do not consider them good eating and are loathe to waste time hunting them. More important, hunting would be limited to periods of the year when there are no Tundra Swans in the Bay. Few hunters are willing to go afield in those times of the year. Third, a great many of the swans, like the resident Canada Geese, are in areas where hunting is not possible or legal. Hunting seasons have been tried or rejected in other states because they are ineffective and impractical.

Lethal means are largely limited to shooting by US Fish and Wildlife Service and Maryland Department of Natural resources personnel. No other process has any chance of reducing the population.

In fact, it seems unlikely that the state will adopt lethal means in any form. There is great concern among state officials about the possibility of negative publicity associated with any control program. The chance of lethal means being used during the current administration are negligible.

I believe that is unfortunate. We have a unique opportunity in the case of Mute Swans. It may be the only situation in which we could actually eliminate a damaging, alien species. In most cases the best we can do is fight a rear-guard action because once a non-native species becomes established it is virtually impossible to eliminate. In the case of Mute Swans we could eliminate them completely. They are large, white, and easy to find using small planes.

It is of course because they are large and white and beautiful that leads many people to oppose any form of control. I find it frustrating because if we were talking about an insect or a plant or even a species like nutria, much of the opposition would vanish. We tend to be selective about which species we will go to bat for and we favor those that are big and pretty. That is not responsible environmentalism.

As a side-bar, I served for a time on the task force that has made the recommendations to consider controlling swans. I was forced by illness to withdraw long before the final report was written and took no part in it. I would not have endorsed it in any case because I find it too tentative.

Eirik A.T. Blom
4318 Cowan Place
Belcamp, Md 21017

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Image of a Wren over outline of Harford County
Harford Birdlife
March 16 - May 15, 2001
by Jean Fry

The early part of this time period was very rainy, but as of May 15, the area has gone for 29 days without a significant rainfall. It has been a nasty season for pollen, and a prolific one for bag worms. Usually when caterpillars are abundant, so are cuckoos, but so far that hasn't been the case, at least in my locale. The extremely dry conditions tend to force the birds to be more concentrated near ponds and streams and away from the arid hillsides. Here is what has been reported:

A Common Loon was reported by PP at APG-Edgewood on 4/1. MH saw a Red-throated Loon and 25+ Common Loons at Hoadley Road overlooking the Gunpowder River on 4/8. MH also noted a Pied-billed Grebe and two Horned Grebes at the same location on that day. MH had found eight Horned Grebes earlier on 3/19 at Lapidum Landing and a single one on 3/24 above Conowingo Dam. AH, a new member of the club, found an American White Pelican at Tydings Island on 4/13. It was seen from about 7 p.m. until dark and was still there on 4/14 at 7:30 PM (MH). Good find for a Friday the 13th!

Great Egrets were seen at the following locations: one at Lakeside Business Park on 4/1 - no fooling (PP), one again at Lakeside Ponds on 4/8 (MH, DL), and two at Harford Glen on 4/22 (RC, DL). A Cattle Egret was sighted by DL on the median strip of I-95 on 5/4. Green Herons were reported by MH at Lakeside on 4/8, by DL at Lakeside on 4/9, by RC and DL at Harford Glen on 4/22, and by LF at Lake Mitten in Pylesville on 5/4. DL found a Glossy Ibis at Lakeside on 5/5, and CM found two at Harford Glen on 5/6.

It was 1980 when I photographed the first nesting pair of Canada Geese at Lake Mitten, an unusual sight in those days. This year there are at least five pairs with a total of 18 goslings. If only someone would develop a migration chip to insert in their heads! A Mute Swan was reported by PP at APG-Edgewood on 4/1, and two were seen by MH at Hoadley Road on 4/8. A pair of Wood Ducks was seen at Lake Mitten on 3/20, 4/1, 4/2, 4/10, and 4/13, on 3/31 at the Broad Creek bridge on Heaps School Road, and also behind their house on Ridge Road in the trees on 3/31 and 4/1 (JLF). That was a new yard bird! RC found Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, and Blue-winged Teal at Harford Glen in late March. MH found twenty American Wigeon, three Red-breasted Mergansers, six Surf Scoters, and three Long-tailed Ducks at Lapidum landing on 3/19. MH and DP also reported a flock of Gadwall, American Wigeon, scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, and Canvasback at Tydings Marina on 3/20. The Surf Scoters were sighted again on 3/24 at Lapidum by MH. (Did you figure out what he did while on spring break from UMCP?) Five Lesser Scaup, 25 Ruddy Ducks, and ten Red-breasted Mergansers were observed by MH at Hoadley Road on 4/8. A female Red-breasted Merganser was also seen at Lapidum boat landing on the Susquehanna by MH on 4/8. DP checked out several spots on 3/28 and found four Red-breasted Mergansers and five Hooded Mergansers at Lakeside, a large raft of mostly Lesser Scaup on the Gunpowder River from Hoadley Road, and Gadwall, American Wigeon, Wood Ducks, and Green-winged Teal at the Harford Land Trust pond. He also reported large numbers of waterfowl at Tydings marina, including American Wigeon, Mallards, Bufflehead, scaup species, and Ring-necked Ducks that same day. On 3/26, DP saw a flock of forty to fifty Greater Scaup fly by at Hoadley Road on the Gunpowder River. PP saw one each of Hooded and Red-breasted Mergansers at Lakeside on 4/1. He also found a flock of Ring-necked Ducks at the Edgewood Route 40 pond and a flock of Gadwall at the Perryman pond on 4/1. High counts of Ring-necked Ducks at Lake Mitten were 65 on 3/31 and forty on 4/2 (JLF). Two Greater Scaup were seen there on 4/1 and 4/2 by the same observers.

Reports of Osprey came from MH on 3/19 when he saw two carrying nesting material at Conowingo. LE noticed on 4/24 that a pair was building a nest on one of the lights of the Havre de Grace High School football field. JLF have observed a Red-shouldered Hawk near Lake Mitten carrying a frog on 4/9 (we heard a splash and saw him emerge from the edge of the lake) and a snake on 4/26. On 5/14, a Red-shouldered, a Red-tailed, and an Osprey were all in the sky in the same general area at one time. A Cooper's Hawk made an unsuccessful visit to a bird feeder on Ridge Road in Pylesville on 4/29, and a Sharp-shinned was seen over Ridge Road on 5/15 (JLF). DB reported a Bald Eagle flying over Rocks Ridge on 4/8. It was seen from the lower blue trail near the creek. RC and DL saw a Broad-winged Hawk at Rock Run Mill on 4/28.

MW was surprised to see a female Wild Turkey walking near their woodpile in the back yard on 4/2 in Webster Village near Havre de Grace.

Two Killdeer were reported by DB on 3/27 at the north side of Holy Cross Road at Deer Creek. Greater Yellowlegs were seen by MH at Lakeside on 4/8 and by DL there on 4/14. DL also found a Lesser Yellowlegs there on 4/22. A Solitary Sandpiper was sighted by DL at Lakeside on 4/21. Some Solitary Sandpipers are not so solitary after all, as six were seen by RC and DL at Harford Glen on April 22; eight were seen at a small pond on Wheeler School Road on 5/12 by JLF. Spotted Sandpipers didn't show up at Lake Mitten until four appeared on 4/29, 4/30 and 5/1 (JLF). Other notable shorebird sightings were as follows: a Least Sandpiper at Lakeside on 4/21 by DL, a Western Sandpiper at the same location on 5/5 by DL, and four Pectoral Sandpipers on mudflats at Tydings marina on 3/20 by MH and DP.

Twenty-two Common Snipe were reported by DP at the horse pond at APG-Edgewood on 3/28. He reports that this is the highest number he has seen in Harford County. DL saw one at Lakeside on 4/21.

Two Laughing Gulls were sighted by RC at APG-Edgewood in the softball fields near the dispensary on 3/30. MH and DP found a Little Gull at Lapidum on 3/20. MH spotted the Little Gull again and some Bonaparte's Gulls at Lapidum Landing on 3/24 and estimated seeing five hundred "Bonies" there on 3/19. DP reported hundreds still flying up and down the river on 3/28 at the same location. MH picked out a first winter Black-headed Gull there among about two hundred Bonaparte's on 4/8. Caspian Terns were found by DL at Lakeside on 4/13, by MH at both Lapidum and Hoadley Road on 4/8, and by JLF at Susquehanna State Park on 4/14.

A Black-billed Cuckoo called repeatedly on 5/1, 5/2, and 5/3 above Ridge Road in Pylesville (JLF). They have been sighted here in previous years at approximately the same time. Unfortunately, this one was elusive.

Whip-poor-wills were reported by DB in Street on 4/27 and by DW at APG near the tank recovery area on 4/21. DW heard four there on 4/29. DB had Chimney Swifts return to their unused chimney on 4/22 in Street.

LE saw his first Ruby-throated Hummingbird for the year at his home on Wilkinson Road near Havre de Grace on 4/22. LE is noted for his large population of hummers each year. I have forgotten how many pounds of sugar they use each year! On 4/28 he observed two males jousting for supremacy at the feeders. JCV reported a hummingbird on 5/3 in Bel Air. DB in Street sighted one on 5/8. JLF didn't see one in Pylesville until 5/9 this year which is late. Maybe we were in the wrong place at the wrong time! RC and VK reported one at Rock Run on 5/12.

DB found a Pileated Woodpecker in Street on 5/3. JLF saw a pair in Pylesville on 4/13. One now drums daily starting at 5:30 a.m. for about an hour and again at 7:00 p.m. for a few minutes.

DB in Street saw an Eastern Kingbird and a Great Crested Flycatcher on 4/26. LF sighted the same combination at the bridge over Broad Creek on Heaps School Road on 5/1. RC and DL saw a Great-crested Flycatcher at Rock Run Mill on 4/28; MJ did as well at APG-Edgewood on 5/2. RC and VK found an Eastern Kingbird and Acadian Flycatcher at Rock Run on 5/12. DL saw an Eastern Kingbird at the Amoco station on Route 924 on 5/9. Eastern Phoebes were sighted by RC at Rock Run Mill on 3/24 and by DL at Harford Glen on 4/1. Eastern Wood-Pewees were reported by PP at Mariner Point in Joppatowne on 4/1, and by RC, DL, and DP at Rock Run Mill on 5/4.

A White-eyed Vireo was reported at Rock Run Mill on 4/21 (RC), a Red-eyed Vireo at Harford Glen on 4/22 (RC, DL), a Warbling Vireo at Rock Run Mill on 4/28 (RC, DL), and a Yellow-throated Vireo at Rock Run Mill on 5/4 (RC). Lastly in the vireo category, DW had a Blue-headed Vireo in his backyard in Webster Village on 5/1.

PP found lots of Tree Swallows at the Edgewood Route 40 pond on 4/1. They showed up at Lake Mitten for the first on 4/2. MH reported three Northern Rough-winged Swallows on 4/8 at Lakeside. RC saw two Purple Martins at Lakeside on 4/28.

A House Wren was singing at JCV's home in Bel Air on 4/17-4/18. MJ had one in Baldwin on 4/30.

RC discovered groups of Hermit Thrushes at Harford Glen on 3/25, probably staging for departure. A Wood Thrush was reported at Rock Run Mill by RC and DL on 4/28, by MJ in Baldwin on 4/29, by JLF in Pylesville on 4/30, and by JCV in Bel Air on 5/2. RC, DL, and DP found a Veery and Swainson's Thrush at Rock Run Mill on 5/4. A Swainson's Thrush seen early on 5/12 took a prolonged bath in the bird bath later in the day and provided the opportunity to observe field marks (JLF).

A Brown Thrasher thrashing around under the azaleas provided a sight for DB in Street on 4/8. LE watched fifteen to twenty Cedar Waxwings eat apple blossoms at his home on Wilkinson Road on 4/28. He also watched two drink sap from a bleeding grape vine. A flock of forty to fifty waxwings stayed near a holly tree still laden with berries on Grande View Drive in Pylesville on 5/11 and 5/12.

Now for the sporadic and scattered warbler reports. DMW found a Nashville on 5/1 in their backyard in Webster Village. An American Redstart brightened up PP's day on 4/16 at Mariner Point Park in Joppatowne. Pine Warblers were calling in abundance in the back pine areas of APG-Edgewood around 3/24 and 3/25 (RC). MJ reported a Prairie at Eden Mill on 4/20 and a Palm in Baldwin on 4/21. DB heard a Chestnut-sided at Rocks State Park on the blue trail on 4/8. DB also had Black-throated Green on 4/22, Hooded and Ovenbird on 4/24, Northern Parula on 4/27, and Prairie and Common Yellowthroat on 5/12. All of these sightings came from near her Street farm. LF heard an Ovenbird on 4/11 on Ridge Road in Pylesville. JLF found Yellow-throated and Northern Parula at Susquehanna State Park on 4/14. RC reported seeing six Palm, a Louisiana Waterthrush, a Black-and-white, and a Northern Parula at Rock Run Mill on 4/21. RC and DL saw Common Yellowthroat at Harford Glen on 4/22. The same duo found Cerulean, Yellow, and Ovenbird at Rock Run Mill on 4/28. A trio of good eyes, consisting of RC, DL and DP, found Prothonotary, Blackpoll, Black-throated Blue, American Redstart, Kentucky, and Cerulean at Rock Run Mill on 5/4. Later on 5/4, RC found Bay-breasted at the same location. On 5/12, RC and VK located Hooded, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, and Prairie at Rock Run Mill.

Scarlet Tanagers were reported by DB in Street on 4/27, by JCV in Bel Air on 5/2, and by RC, DL, and DP at Rock Run Mill on 5/4. JF had two male Scarlet Tanagers who were competing for territory fly within two feet of her on 5/12 on Quarry Road in Pylesville.

LE had a very vocal male Eastern Towhee near Havre de Grace for over a week around 4/28. DB saw one in Street on 4/23. JLF had one at their feeder in Pylesville on 4/6 and a pair on 4/13. MJ reported Chipping Sparrows in Baldwin on 3/30. JLF saw ten in Pylesville on 3/31. RC found three Savannah Sparrows at Lakeside on 4/28, and MH saw five there on 4/8. RC reported seeing groups of Fox Sparrows at Harford Glen on 3/24, again probably staging for departure. DL sighted a White-crowned at that location on 4/22 (rather late) and a Vesper there on 4/28, which was a good find. EF called to say that she saw a Dark-eyed Junco with a white head at a friend's home in Bel Air on 4/5.

Two reports of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks came in. MW watched one from fifteen feet away on 4/29 as it visited their sunflower feeder in Webster Village. RC saw one at Rock Run Mill on 5/6. We're all envious of both of you! An Indigo Bunting was seen by DB in Street on 5/8. Did anyone else notice that they seemed to arrive later than usual this year? Again, maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

RC found two Rusty Blackbirds at Harford Glen on 3/25. JLF saw their first Baltimore Oriole in Pylesville on 4/30. DB reported one from Street on 5/12.

That wraps up a busy but sporadic spring migration.

Observers who contributed to this column were: Deborah Bowers (DB), Rick Cheicante (RC), Les Eastman (LE), Eileen Frey (EF), Jean and Larry Fry (JLF), Matt Hafner (MH), Alice Hirvonen (AH), Mark Johnson (MJ), Vita Kencel (VK), Dave Larkin (DL), Chris Manning (CM), Dave Powell (DP), Phil Powers (PP), Joe and Carole Vangrin (JCV), and Dave and Marsha Webb (DMW). Many thanks for keeping records and sending in reports.

The next deadline for submission of reports is Monday, July 16. Sightings should be from May 16 until July 15. Please don't go on vacation from birding in Harford County! Send reports to Jean Fry. Phone: (410-452-8539). E-mail address is: ffryjl@aol.com. Mailing address is: 1202 Ridge Road, Pylesville, MD 21132.

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A Big HBC Thanks!

I would like to thank everyone who helped with Earth Day, the Bluebird seminar, and the Havre de Grace Decoy and Wildlife Art Festival. The weather was great for all three events so attendance was good. There are a lot of people interested in birds - many with interesting stories to tell. At Earth Day, 145 people stopped by the Harford Bird Club table to visit and to enter the free drawing. There were 45 to 50 people at the Bluebird seminar, and 114 people who visited us at the Decoy Festival, including Bill Russell and his wife. Carol Flora

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Vacation Essays

Don't forget, Wrenderings is always available for Harford Bird Club members to contribute and share vacation reports and birding essays. R. L. Cheicante Jr.

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Harford Bird Club
Field Trip Reports

Edgewood Area - APG

Light rain kept the number of participants down to just five on this traditionally popular field trip to the Edgewood Area of APG, but the birds were still present in full force. The morning began along the Gunpowder River, where a raft of approximately 1000 Lesser Scaup swam just a couple hundred yards off shore. Other waterfowl present included Red-breasted Mergansers, Buffleheads, a Mute Swan, and oddly enough, a Northern Shoveler. About a dozen Common Loons were scattered on the river, and occasionally they were heard giving their plaintiff wails. A pair of Ospreys on territory at Maxwell Point, and a Bald Eagle on its aerie Near Swaderick Cove rounded out the Gunpowder sightings. A brief visit to the horse stables turned up a wisp of about 10 Common Snipe, camouflaged perfectly against a background of brown grasses and mud. We finished the morning with a walk about "The Pines" area of the arsenal, a traditional breeding ground for (you guessed it) Pine Warblers. At first we only heard their singing trills, but after an hour we finally watched a pair of males feeding with other songbirds in a roadside strip of grasses. During our walk at The Pines, we came across other nice birds such as a Fox Sparrow, a Cooper's Hawk, and a flock of about 50 Cedar Waxwings. In our three hours together, we made some new friends, managed to stay (mostly) dry, and, oh yeah -- found 48 species. - Dave Webb

Rocks State Park

Eleven individuals met at Rocks State Park on Sat., April 7 for a two and a half hour walk along the White Trail, which traverses both the southern and northern sides of Rocks Ridge. The day was cloudy and calm, and relatively few birds were out and about. We heard a Chestnut-sided Warbler and a Pileated Woodpecker, but did not see them. We did get good looks at Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and many of the common species, and most got a good look at a Hermit Thrush we spooked along a laurel thicket area. We also were delighted to see, in the trail, a Trailing arbutus in bloom. - Debbie Bowers

Mariner Point Park

On April 19, seven people joined me on a beautiful morning in Joppatowne's Mariner Point Park. Among the 33 species that we saw were a Bald Eagle and a Pine Warbler. The best part of the trip was the #10 looks we got of many common birds like Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Carolina Wren, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and titmouse. This was especially nice for the two new birders that were with us. - Tom Congersky

Earth Day

The club offered two birdwalks at the Earth Day celebration at Swan Harbor Farm. The first walk attracted eight persons ranging in age from 6 to 60+, and was led by Dave Webb. Along the entrance road the group enjoyed looks at Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Kingbird, and numerous Tree and Bank Swallows. The fields turned up several birds that were new to nearly all in the group, such as Common Snipe, Greater Yellowlegs, and a displaying Horned Lark!

The second walk was led by Les Eastman and had only one participant who was a repeater from the first walk. We tried to get a better look at the Common Snipe without success. We did have excellent views of Savannah Sparrows and added two species to the day's total species count - a Bald Eagle and a White-eyed Vireo. - Dave Webb and Les Eastman

Rock Run Mill - I

On April 28, 16 birders met at the mill in Susquehanna State Park and had a wonderful day. We had 62 species total with 12 warbler species. Highlights were Prothonotary, Yellow-throated, Cerulean and Worm-eating. Pishing worked very well. I had Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Northern Parula, Prothonotary and Yellow-throated Warblers practically land on my head. - Les Eastman

Gunpowder Falls SP - Sweet Air

Six of us hiked most of the Harford County side of the Sweet Air Area of GFSP. The weather was still, warm, and slightly overcast. Few birds were active at first, but became more active as the morning progressed. A single Common Loon was seen flying over as we first met, and good looks at Canada and Kentucky Warblers greeted us as we descended into the river bottomlands. Newcomers were delighted with a Yellow-breasted Chat, Northern Cardinal, and an Indigo Bunting all on the same branch. Later on, a Scarlet Tanager and an Indigo Bunting was seen in an open area in the same view. A total of 46 species were seen. - Mark Johnson

Rock Run Mill - II

Sunday, May 6 at Rock Run Mill could be the best warbler and spring migrant trip of the year. However, and much to our dismay (that's Dismay 6th), Mother Nature befuddled the warbler awaiting masses throughout most of the state of Maryland this spring. Excellent numbers of Rock Run resident types (Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, Great Crested Flycatcher, etc...) seem to be in the right places at the right times. But, the highly treasured thru-travelers trickled in one here and one there. As for our big warbler morning, I think the temperature was 40oF and the trees were blowing half sideways. Enough said.- R. L. Cheicante

Rocks State Park

At 8:00 a.m. on May 10 four eager birders showed up at the Rocks State Park headquarters and followed me up to the King and Queen seats. During our slow climb up the hill we saw or heard 22 species of birds. We heard Worm-eating and Cerulean Warblers and got a good look at Ovenbird and Red-eyed Vireo. At the King and Queen seats we encountered three Turkey Vultures sunning themselves on the rocks. We also saw a Hairy Woodpecker and a Wood Thrush made a brief appearance. - Tom Congersky

Conowingo Dam

On May 19, eight birders met at Fisherman's Park to look for orioles and other birds. We saw lots of Baltimore and Orchard Orioles and had a great look at a Warbling Vireo. Later we had an even better view of a Red-eyed Vireo for comparison. A Blackpoll Warbler also was very cooperative. The species total was a disappointing 52 species with only six species of warbler, however the excellent views we had of the orioles and other birds made up for it. -Les Eastman

Havre de Grace Shorebirds

Although a driving thunderstorm kept anyone else from showing up, leader Dave Webb and hosts Jim & Alice Hirvonen held a bird "sit" at the latter's apartment overlooking the Tydings Island mudflat. Because of the heavy rain and southerly winds little of the mudflat was exposed, even at low tide. Nonetheless, birds were present, and very good ones at that. In addition to a handful of unidentifiable peeps, the trio found 2 Spotted Sandpipers, 2 Black-bellied Plovers, 9 Dunlin, 12 Ruddy Turnstones, 4 White-rumped Sand pipers, and 13 Whimbrel! Other noteworthy finds included a Least Tern, pairs of both Laughing Gulls and American Coot, and 3 late Gadwall. A sheltered patio, lengthy breaks in the rain, homemade blueberry crumbcake, hot coffee, good conversation, and some fantastic shorebirds made for a very enjoyable morning. In just a little over 2 hours, our sit turned up 35 species. - Dave Webb

Loch Raven Reservoir

Four birders enjoyed cloudy, drizzly weather on Sunday, May 27th as they walked the trails and picnic area of Loch Raven Reservoir during their half day trip. Baltimore Orioles were ubiquitous, as were warblers. Those sighted included Canada Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Northern Parula, and Common Yellowthroat. American Redstarts were heard, but not seen. Five species of woodpeckers were seen, including Pileated, and both Hairy and Downy Woodpecker. Other high points of this trip included Orchard Oriole, Scarlet Tanager, and Indigo Bunting. We finished the morning with a walk to the bridge, which allowed us a look at nesting cliff swallows. Fifty two species were seen on this local morning trip. - Mary Procell

Lily Pons and the Frederick Area

The weather was cool and partly cloudy when 3 of us arrived at the entrance to Lily Pons. They were closed, but the road and bridge over the nearby Monocacy River provided an excellent vantage to view over 25 species. Our first bird was a calling Willow Flycatcher that was cooperatively calling from a telephone-line perch. Both orioles were seen as well as Yellow Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Kingbirds, and Indigo Buntings. As the day progressed, however, the birds became more uncooperative. Dickcissels required a brief stroll through a wildflower field but did become visible, along with Eastern Meadowlarks. Grasshopper Sparrows were more often heard than seen, but a few did briefly perch on the fence wires along Oland Road. After a short ride along the river, we hiked briefly along the top of Sugarloaf Mountain where we got a brief, close view of a soaring Raven. We also heard Yellow-throated Vireos, Wood Thrushes, and Worm-eating Warblers. A total of 65 species were logged for the 1/2-day trip. Next time, it would probably be best to make it a 3/4-full day trip. - Mark Johnson

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July - August 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, July 15

Bombay Hook NWR. Join Mr. Bombay himself, trip leader Dave Larkin on this all day trip to the Delaware Bay oasis for migrating shorebirds. Fifteen species is considered easy, but more are possible and rarities show up every year. Bring scopes, lunch, repellent and sunscreen. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the MD155 & I-95 Park and Ride. Contact Dave Larkin for further details.

Saturday, July 21

Harford Shorebirds. County listers will enjoy this evening look at Harford's premier location for shorebirds. Possible sightings include Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Sanderling, and Short- billed Dowitcher. Meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Tydings Marina boat launch in Havre de Grace. Leader is Randy Robertson. Scope recommended.

Friday, August 10

Hummingbird Happy Hour. Hosts Les & Jan Eastman invite you to their home near Susquehanna State Park for an evening of socializing and backyard birdwatching, highlighted by up-close views of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Participants are asked to bring a snack/appetizer to share, and their own beverages. You may also bring your swimsuit and enjoy the Eastman's pool. Party begins at 6:00 p.m. at 4034 Wilkinson Road, just west of the intersection with Craigs Corner Road. Call Les Eastman (410-734-6969) for further information.

Saturday, August 18

Pot Luck Shorebirds. Where will Dennis Kirkwood's crystal ball tell us to go this time? Presque Isle? Jamaica Bay? Pea Island? No, probably Bombay Hook again. But you'll not know for sure until 7:00 a.m. at the MD 155 / I-95 commuter lot (Exit 89). Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and lunch for this 3/4-day journey in search of shorebirds and the hottest rarities. Scopes helpful, but not necessary. Contact Dennis for further information.

Wednesday, August 22

Bel Air Goatsuckers: Volume I. Join the trip leader , Joe Vangrin, on the top floor of the Bel Air parking garage to scan the early evening skies for southbound Common Nighthawks. Watch runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. The garage is located at the corner of Pennsylvania and Hickory Avenues. Coordinator is Dave Powell.

Wednesday, August 29

Bel Air Goatsuckers: Volume II. Same location and times as August 22 trip. Leader is Phil Powers. Coordinator is Dave Powell.

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Welcome - New Members!

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

Sam Jones
Elizabeth D'Alessio
Steven A. Butler

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Please return to Barbara Siebens, P.O. Box 68, Pylesville, MD 21132-0068 
Friday, July 13, 2001.

                __________ Number of adults ( at $5.00 each )
                __________ Number of children 12 and under ( at $3.00 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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