WRENDERINGS The Newsletter of the Harford Bird Club

Volume 14 Number 5

October 2001

"Acquainting folks to the wild birds and birding life of Harford County"


President's Message
'01 - '02 Membership Renewal
Where Have All The Birds Gone?
Meet Your New President
To Count or Not To Count
Calendar of Events
John Wortman Scholarship
"The Journal"
Harford Bird Club Vacation Reports
Harford Birdlife July 16 - September 15, 2001
Trivial Bird Facts with Carol Flora
Wrenderings Articles
Field Trip Reports
FIELD TRIPS October 2001 - February 2002

President's Message

In the wake of the horror of the past weeks, its been hard to put things in perspective. So I take a walk. I hear the familiar clatter of the flicker, the cooing of a Mourning Dove, the screech of a jay, or the mewing of a goldfinch and life comes back into balance. There is order and predictability in nature that is satisfying and assuring - the days shorten, the birds migrate, the leaves color and fall, and creatures of all kinds begin to prepare for the winter. Life continues.

Unfortunately, due to the state of alert on the military bases, one fall ritual did not take place. Our picnic at Capa Field had to be canceled. There was no time to try to make changes and to notify everyone in time. But the November dinner meeting at Churchville Presbyterian Church is still on schedule for November 2nd. Our speaker will be Dr. Mark Johnson who will tell us "where all the birds have gone?"

Dr. Johnson has been a member of the Harford Bird Club since 1989 and is a past president. He is an environmental toxicologist at the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine, Health Effects Research Program at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland .

Please look for the dinner reservation form in the back of the newsletter, fill out, and return as soon as possible. The reservation form is due back Friday, October 26. The dinner begins at 6:15 p.m. followed by our business meeting at 7:00 p.m.

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'01 - '02 Membership Renewal

Annual membership dues are now overdue for the club year from September 1, 2001 through August 31, 2002. This year the membership form has again been combined with the return envelope and could be found in the August Wrenderings. Please fill out the form, enclose your check made payable to HARFORD MOS and mail it to our treasurer, Joyce Gorsuch. We would like to have all dues paid by November 1, 2001. You may pick up your membership card at the November dinner meeting. *Please do not send dues with the dinner reservation form*.

Go to the online membership form.

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Where Have All The Birds Gone?

If you are passionate about bird watching, one cannot help but compare relative numbers of birds from one year to the next. For example, did last years' migration seem as productive as past years? Are there fewer Northern Cardinals in Harford County or more than before? Most of these observations cannot help but be anecdotal, after all, birds fly and can move great distances in relatively brief periods of time. One can almost never be sure that the birds seen before are not the same individuals coming back into view with advancing time. Still, birds seem to be less common than they used to be. Dr. Johnson will present a brief introduction in how ecologist attempt to deal with questions such as these, and try to present some tools that are used to find out whether bird populations are increasing, stable, or declining. He will also present a brief introduction into those methods, including those that MOS has and will use in the future. - Carol Flora

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Meet Your New President

The new president of the Harford Bird Club is Ms. Carol Flora. Carol is a graduate of the University of Michigan at Flint with a B.A. in elementary education. She also has an M.A. in guidance and counseling. She retired from Harford County Public Schools in 1999 after serving nearly thirty years as a guidance counselor at Hickory Elementary, Roye-Williams Elementary, and finally at John Archer School. At one time she also taught fifth grade at Prospect Mill Elementary.

Carol first got interested in birding when she took a course through the school system at Harford Glen in 1988 and went on a bird walk. Since that time she has gone on Dennis Kirkwood's HCC fall Cape May trip every year and on the spring trip to Chincoteague and the Eastern Shore or western Maryland almost every year. She goes birding when she vacations on her own and tries to be involved in as many of the Harford Bird Club's field trips as possible. Her life list is over three hundred, and she added twelve new species this summer on a trip through some national parks in the West. Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Mountain Bluebird are three of her newest life birds.

Other hobbies besides birding are golf, writing, reading (Michener and Clancy), and travel. She also works a couple of days a week at the Wild Bird Center at The Avenue in White Marsh. Carol has two grown children, a son and a daughter, and a one-year-old granddaughter. She lives in Bel Air with her husband Charles. The club is fortunate to have her as president as she brings much talent and enthusiasm to the job. Your willingness to volunteer and cooperate will be greatly appreciated. - Jean Fry

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To Count or Not To Count

The question is: Will you volunteer to do one or several of the annual counts that our bird club sponsors? In the past few years the numbers of participants in some of the counts has been really low. There also has been a problem with some of our data not being submitted. The state organization depends on input from each chapter to create reliable and consistent records. It is rather embarrassing when our data is missing. In many cases the information gained is then passed on to national offices. Birds are a barometer of our environment, and this is how decisions are made as to which species are declining or in jeopardy. You do not have to be an expert to get involved. If you don't feel confident enough, call the count coordinator and ask to be placed with another person or group. Counts are held at various times of the year, so you may pick the season or do them all. We now have several conscientious persons who are coordinating the counts. As of this date a fall count coordinator is needed for 2002. Dates and coordinators are as follows:

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Calendar of Events

September 11 Another Day that will Live in Infamy - God Bless America.
October 27 Work Day at Irish Grove Sanctuary.
November 2 Dinner Meeting at Churchville Presbyterian Church at 6:15 p.m. Guest speaker will be Mark Johnson.
November 16 Deadline - to contribute Harford Birdlife reports to Jean Fry for Sept. 16, 2001 - Nov. 15, 2001. Jean's address is 1202 Ridge Road, Pylesville, MD 21132 or email at ffryjl@aol.com.
November 23 Deadline - to submit articles for the December issue of Wrenderings to Rick Cheicante. Rick's address is 1003-F Jessica's Ct, Bel Air, MD 21014 or rickcheicante@cs.com.
December 8 State Board Meeting - Howard County.
December 29 30th Annual Rock Run Christmas Bird Count.
January 11 Winter Meeting at Churchville Presbyterian Church at 7:00 p.m. Guest speaker will be Tim O'Connell.
March 1 Dinner Meeting at Churchville Presbyterian Church at 6:15 p.m. Guest speaker will be Mark Hoffman.

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John Wortman Scholarship

Since 1959 the Maryland Ornithological Society has been giving scholarships to Audubon summer camps and workshops. These scholarships are awarded to teachers, park rangers, nature center coordinators, and community volunteers who are in a position to pass on knowledge gained to young people. Over one hundred persons have received scholarships to attend either ecology or ornithology camps in Maine, Connecticut, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Reactions to the workshops have always been overwhelmingly positive; these individuals have gone on to become important catalysts in environmental or ornithological education. In 2001, the MOS awarded twelve scholarships. The source is from interest on endowments and money invested in the state scholarship fund.

After serious deliberation Lorna Wortman has graciously decided to sponsor an MOS scholarship in memory of her late husband John. This is a most appropriate way to carry on John's memory, considering all of the knowledge about birds and his love for them which he conveyed to those involved in the club and to children at Harford Glen Environmental Education Center. A scholarship is a "gift that keeps on giving," and the club is most grateful to Lorna for making this decision. The first John Wortman Memorial Scholarship will be awarded in the summer of 2003.

Lorna has also decided that she wants the memorial contributions which were given to the bird club in John's memory to be donated to this scholarship fund. If there is anyone else who would like to donate, please do so by November 15. Our treasurer's name is Ms. Joyce Gorsuch, 726 Loveville Road, #409, Hockessin, Delaware 19707-1508. Phone: 302-239-2243. - Jean Fry

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"The Journal"

August 2001: The first thing you need to know about "Downeast Maine" is ... "Downeast" is not actually down east, unless you are one of the few in Caribou or Calais and have a working knowledge of East Baltimorean grammar. The second thing is; the remote Maine you read or hear about doesn't really begin until you find yourself in the extensive pine stands or along the solitary coast north of Bangor and Bar Harbor. It's all tourists, L. L. Bean, over-priced cafes, and gift shops with plastic lobsters and teddy mooses up to that point. That's down east. The "Downeast" we're interested in, well, that's way up north . For Mainers, "Downeast" is Washington County.

Up along the northeast coast of Maine, the "Downeast" to Mainers, is a way-out-of-the-way, quiet, yet very rugged place known as the "bold coast". This is the coast of sleepy fishing villages, old canneries, cool temperatures, and cedar plank cottages. It's more appropriate name, the "Sunrise Coast" is the benefit of this being the easternmost part of the United States, where spruce forest outcroppings drop down to meet bountiful, churning waters. This is first home to the sunrise over the Atlantic. This is the land of pink granite, picturesque harbors, fireweed and lupine, pebble beaches, seafood chowder, alpine bogs, lobster pounds, wild blueberry barrens, and "big tides". A picnic hike along this "bold coast" will give one a new appreciation for the fragrance of the cedar bark sachet and the indulgence of the take-out broiled lobster feast.

Lubec is my favorite Downeast destination. Machias and Eastport (Murder in Small Town X) are close by. For the last three years I've been frequenting these modest communities of fishermen, artists and artisans, merchants and innkeepers.

Lubec is a town known for it's annual music seminar and I like it for its lack of traffic lights (zero). It is also the gateway to Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, restored summer retreat of former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Atlantic House coffee shop straddles the ever flowing tides of the Cobscook Bay. The Home Port Inn is warming with a fireplaced "big room" for chatting adventure with other folks. They also serve a savory lobster and artichoke heart salad. The Peacock House (c. 1860) enchants .

Just to the east of Lubec is the West Quoddy Head Light, the landmarked eastern most piece of U.S. soil. Birding here is excellent as we get to look down from higher sea bluffs into a set of rock protrusions at the mouth of the bay. Seabird regulars here include Common Eider (w/young) and Black Guillemots. The coastal red spruce and balsam fir forests produce Black-capped Chickadees, Black-throated Green Warblers, Black-and-whites, and Blackburnian Warblers, with ravens overhead. This year's treat was a fair number of Razorbills just in the rifts offshore, with many feeding young. Throughout our visits over recent years, we have seen both finback and minke whales from shore here, and harbor seals usually pop their heads out as they float by.

Machias Seal Island is the puffin trip. And Captain Andrew Patteson of the Bold Coast Charter Company is the way to do it. Capt. Andy pilots the Barbara Frost out of Cutler. His operation is first-rate with safety first. Our journey began early as we departed into the fog for our 10 mile cruise. After we all made some nervous references to Sebastian Junger's "The Perfect Storm" , we were astounded by close-ups of Manx and Greater Shearwater s on calm seas with "no" visibility". Out of the fog arose MSI, and a greeting by thousands of Atlantic Puffins. They were in the water, they were flying around, they were sitting on white-washed rocks. Atlantic puffins were every where. This was puffin country. On shore, the lighthouse keepers and Arctic Terns had the last say.

In case you were maybe still wondering about this "Downeast" thing. Well, "downeast" is a nautical reference based on direction of travel. Jonesport native and co-worker Barry Williams described it best, "Downeast is derived from the Old World seafarers direction of travel. As sailing ships moved across the favorable currents of the equatorial Atlantic, they would then reach points in America by moving north with the Gulf Stream. As they approached Maine traveling "down" the Gulf Stream, they are forced back to the "east" to finish the last bit of Maine coast. That's "downeast". For old-time Downeasterners, it's still "up" to Massachusetts." - R.L. Cheicante

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Harford Bird Club Vacation Reports

Pacific Northwest and Coastal California

The forests just across the water from Seattle are lush with moss and ferns and places where the western form of the Rufous-sided Towhee likes to feed, as well as the Savannah Sparrow, which was identified for me in a bird guide at a wildlife preserve I visited. I also saw two Winter Wrens, a treat this time of year, several Red-breasted Nuthatches, and, I believe, a Swainson's Thrush.

On the central coast of California I visited the Montana de Oro State Park and the Morro Bay State Park, both with abundant birds in this cool and misty region along the Pacific. Along the coastal trails I saw California Quail, Bushtit, White-crowned Sparrow, Anna's Hummingbird, Rock Wren, Black Oystercatcher, Brewer's Blackbird, Scrub Jay, Pigeon Guillemot, and the California Thrasher - a marvel when it suddenly appeared out of the sagebrush with its long, curved bill. In the hillside forests of coast live oaks, I saw a Nuttall's woodpecker. Most of these birds were firsts for me. - Debbie Bowers

The Dry Tortugas and Miami

Russ Kovach and I ventured to the Dry Tortugas for life birds. Both being high school teachers, we couldn't get there during the peak migration months of April and May. We were ready the day school let out, hoping the seabirds would still be nesting in late June. The night before we left I surveyed the internet, and noticed a Masked Duck (first seen in Florida in years) was 45 minutes from Ft. Lauderdale - our destination (whooaaaa!!!). After landing we immediately ventured to Pembroke Pines for the Florida specialty. After 3 hours we gave up. The next morning we were back, and at 9:30 a.m. we had our best bird.

We met up with buddy Bryan Blazie who flew us to Key West in his Beechcraft pressurized Barron (whoa!). Within 2 hours we found the elusive Mangrove Cuckoo, but we struck out on the Antillean Nighthawk at the airport.

The next morning we traveled on the Yankee Freedom II to the Dry Tortugas, an island 68 miles west of Key West. Fort Jefferson was spectacular! The Sooty Terns (2,000+) and the Brown Noddies (20,000+) were still present. We also lucked out with Masked Booby on Hospital Key and Brown Boobies on the channel markers. Snorkeling was sensational with barracudas, nurse sharks, and parrot fish.

After a visit to the John James Audubon home, the Hemingway mansion, Sloppy Joe's, Hog's Breath Saloon, and Blue Heaven we returned to Miami for more specialties. We tallied the Red-whiskered Bulbul, Spot-breasted Oriole, Cave Swallow, Snail Kite (eating a snail!), Limpkin, Purple Swamp Hen, Common Myna, Swallow-tailed Kite, 5 parakeets, and 2 parrot species. We were on fire.

I picked up 7 lifers for 610, and Russ accumulated 20. Next summer - Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo - guess where? - Spike Updegrove

National Parks of the West

From July 23 through August 6, Charlie and I toured six national parks including Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion, plus Monument Valley - a Navaho Tribal Park. The weather was clear and dry and the sights were incredible. We were able to see the tallest peaks of the Grand Tetons which I understand is not an everyday occurrence. We spent two days in Salt Lake City and visited the sight of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Although this was primarily a sight-seeing adventure, we didn't forget the binoculars. We tallied 36 species of birds (12 of which were life birds for me) and a variety of four-legged creatures.

The most memorable bird sightings included an Olive-sided Flycatcher, a Mountain Chickadee, ravens galore, a Violet-green Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a California Gull, a Western Scrub Jay, a Pygmy Nuthatch, a Juniper Titmouse, a Black-throated Gray Warbler, Steller's Jays, a female Black-chinned Hummingbird, a family of Townsends Solitaires, a Western Bluebird, a Gray Jay and Wild Turkeys. We also spotted a couple of hawks.

We were intrigued by the variety of chipmunks (that we couldn't sort out) and the ground squirrels. We were able to identify the Uinta, Richardson's and the Golden-Mantled ground squirrels and the prairie dogs. We also saw a desert cottontail, mule deer, bison and elk.

By the end of the two weeks, other members of the tour group were watching for and pointing out birds to us. Hopefully we inspired some potential new birders. - C. Flora

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

For the most part this time period was hot and dry. There was a period of rain around August 10 and some isolated thunderstorms, but mostly the ground and vegetation were parched. A brief respite of cool weather occurred about September 5, but there were no major fronts to defeat the heat and humidity. I'm not much of a hot weather birder, and it appears that that is true for many others, as the reports from July and August were rather sparse. Shorebird sightings also were down compared to other years. There were lots of good warbler reports from September, however. I chose to include some sightings from September 16 because there were lots of warblers reported.

One Great Cormorant and 25 Pied-billed Grebes were spotted at Tydings Island in Havre de Grace on 9/15 by MH, DP, and JS. Two Great Egrets were also reported that day at Lakeside by MH and JS. DP found a Little Blue Heron at Harford Glen on 8/23, and it was seen there again on 9/16 by MH and DL. LF saw two Green Herons at Lake Mitten in Pylesville on 7/21 and one at the same location on 7/29. (We've noticed fewer of these this year at this location and are wondering if anyone else has noticed a decline in numbers anywhere else.)

KU found a Canvasback at Tydings Park on 8/7. LF found a female and an immature Wood Duck at Lake Mitten on 7/27, a female and four ducklings at Heaps School Road bridge over Broad Creek on 7/28, two ducklings on 8/1, and two adults on 8/23, the last two sightings also being at the bridge.

On 7/28 JF saw a Cooper's Hawk chasing a Red-tailed Hawk above their house on Ridge Road in Pylesville. SJ reported that a juvenile Cooper's Hawk was caught inside his Forest Hill barn on 8/5. He took it to Eden Mill where it was released with only damage to its dignity. MH and DL were taking a close look at a Bald Eagle at Harford Glen on 9/16 and found about 250 Broad-winged Hawks in the background which were not visible to the naked eye. LE found a Red-shouldered Hawk and one Broad-winged at Susquehanna State Park on 9/16.

LE saw a lone Wild Turkey on his way to work through Susquehanna State Park on the road into the maintenance area on 8/30. LE also found "lots" of Killdeer at Aldino Sod Farm on 8/14, 8/23, and again on 8/30. Six Killdeer were seen at Tydings on 9/1 by MH and a "few" at Lakeside on 9/15 by MH and JS. Other shorebird sightings include: a Least Sandpiper and a Solitary Sandpiper on the Fielder farm in Churchville on 8/7 (KU); a Lesser Yellowlegs and several Semipalmated Sandpipers at Aldino Sod Farm in a bare field across from the airport on 8/14 (LE); about fifteen each of Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Western Sandpipers, three Pectoral Sandpipers and a Ruddy Turnstone at Tydings on 9/1 (MH); and four Semipalmated Sandpipers at Tydings on 9/15 (MH, DP, and JS).

KU reported seeing a Royal Tern at the Bar Harbor trailer park in Edgewood on 8/7. DP found two Caspian Terns at Lakeside on 8/23, and RC found one at the Edgewood area of APG on 9/2.

LF saw and heard our predictable migrating Black-billed Cuckoo on 8/15 near Lake Mitten. On 8/25 JLF had a Yellow-billed Cuckoo call intermittently from 2 a.m. until daylight on Ridge Road in Pylesville.

An Eastern Screech Owl was heard on 9/11 by DB in Street. Great Horned Owls were heard calling on 7/29 by JLF in Pylesville. Barred Owls were calling in the same location on 7/ 25 (JLF), and in Street on 9/13 (DB).

There were several interesting accounts of Ruby-throated Hummingbird behavior. On 8/13 in Pylesville, JLF observed an immature sitting on a bare branch of their small weeping cherry tree next to the feeder in a rather strong downpour. They watched it for ten to fifteen minutes, as it stuck its bill in the air, rotated its wings, spread out its tail showing the white scalloped feather edging, and preened its feathers. It went through the same ritual in the same order repeatedly. Later in the month they also saw a RTH spread itself out breast side down twice on the mulch near some shrubs and mums. (Does anyone have any accounts of hummers anting?) LE near Havre de Grace reported having eleven feeders out. On 8/12 he saw twenty-five to thirty at one time. On 8/13 they consumed over two liters of sugar water. The numbers seem to have dropped by 8/15 when only four feeders were emptied. On the morning of 8/16 he saw from twelve to fifteen at one time. KB saw one on 8/28 in Bel Air exploring the red stripe on a flag hanging on their deck.

On the same day and at the same location LE found Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Pileated Woodpecker. RC reported a Northern Flicker near his feeder in Bel Air in early September. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was spotted by a Fall Count team on 9/15 near Falling Branch in Pylesville (MH, DP, and JS).

DP saw a Least Flycatcher at Falling Branch on 9/9; MH, DP, and JS found a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at Harford Glen on 9/15; LE spotted an Acadian Flycatcher and a White-eyed Vireo at SSP on the same day. DP reported finding a Yellow-throated Vireo at Harford Glen on 8/23, and MH and DL found their first Blue-headed Vireos of the year at that location on 9/16. MH, DP, and JS also had a Philadelphia Vireo there as well as being delighted with a second one at Bosley Conservancy in Edgewood on 9/15.

LE found eleven Horned Larks at the Aldino Sod Farm on 8/23 and at least fourteen across from the Aldino airport parking lot on 8/30.

The only Brown Creeper report was from Eden Mill on 9/15 by the Fall Count team of MH, DP, and JS. LE counted six Carolina Chickadees, four Tufted Titmice, four Carolina Wrens, two American Robins, and five Gray Catbirds at SSP that same day. DP had a Red-breasted Nuthatch at Falling Branch on 9/3. DB from Street reported a Gray Catbird on 9/9 and a Wood Thrush on 9/13.

Warbler sightings were numerous in late August and early September as migration went into full swing. DP spotted Nashville, Chestnut-sided, and Black-and-white at Harford Glen on 8/23. MH and DP found eleven species of warblers at Eden Mill and Hidden Valley in Pylesville on 9/2, including a Blackburnian at Hidden Valley and several Prairies at Eden Mill. DP reported his best day ever at Falling Branch for warblers on 9/3. Some of those buzzing around his house were: Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, Northern Parula, Tennessee, Magnolia, and Chestnut-sided. On 9/7 he had Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Common Yellowthroat, and Black-throated Blue. On 9/9 he found Common Yellowthroat, Prairie, Black-throated Green, and Chestnut-sided. DB in Street reported Magnolia on 9/4, Ovenbird on 9/9, Black-throated Green and Pine on 9/12, and Black-and-white on 9/14. The Fall Count team of MH, DP, and JS found the following on 9/15: at Eden Mill-Magnolia (most common), Black-throated Green (second most common), great looks at Mourning, and Connecticut, Black-throated Blue, Myrtle, Nashville, Bay-breasted, Chestnut-sided, Prairie and Common Yellowthroat; at Falling Branch-Nashville; at Harford Glen---American Redstart, Northern Parula, and Black-and-white; at Bosley Conservancy---Northern Waterthrush and Tennessee; at Conowingo (MH and JS)---Black-throated Green, Blackpoll, and seven Cape Mays in one tree; at Perryman (MH and JS)---a good warbler flock along Chelsea Road with two Blackburnians, and a Western Palm in the fields nearby. On 9/16 MH and DL spotted Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue, Cape May, Magnolia, Tennessee, Nashville, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green, Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, American Redstart, and Common Yellowthroat all at Harford Glen. LE found a very handsome Hooded, as well as Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, and Canada all at SSP on 9/16.

DB from Street reported a Scarlet Tanager on 9/14. KU found five or six Savannah Sparrows in Churchville on 8/7. They were also spotted in the fields at Perryman on 9/15 by MH and JS. The first reports of White-throated Sparrows were from Harford Glen by MH, DP, and JS on 9/15 and two seen by LE in SSP on 9/16. LE also saw two Song Sparrows and three Eastern Towhees at the same location on 9/16.

There were three reports of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks: one at Falling Branch on 9/4 (DP) and one each at Eden Mill and Falling Branch on 9/15 (MH, DP, JS). PT of Bel Air saw a bald Northern Cardinal on his kitchen window sill.

LE near Havre de Grace said that the American Goldfinches were numerous and were going through a lot of niger (thistle) seed and that he had seen an adult male on 8/16 being followed by three begging fledglings. RC also reported American Goldfinches coming back to his feeders in early September and strong numbers in the field thistle at Harford Glen on 9/2.

Contributors to this column were: Debbie Bowers (DB), Kit Brown (KB), Rick Cheicante (RC) Les Eastman(LE), Jean and Larry Fry (JLF), Matt Hafner (MH), Sam Jones (SJ), Dave Larkin (DL), Dave Powell (DP), Phil Powers (PP), Jim Stasz (JS), Paul Tannebaum (PT), and Kermit "Spike" Updegrove (KU). Many thanks for submitting your reports.

The next deadline for Harford Birdlife is Friday, November 16 for sightings from September 16 to November 15. Please send to Jean Fry, 1202 Ridge Road, Pylesville, MD 21132. E-mail: ffryjl@aol.com Phone: 410-452-8539.

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Trivial Bird Facts with Carol Flora

How long do hummingbirds live? There's not a lot of data to work with but most experts think the average lifespan of a hummer is 3 to 4 years. The record was a female Broad-tailed, banded as an adult in Colorado in 1976, then recaptured in the same location in 1987, which would have made her at least 12 years old.

About 35 North American birds that require nesting cavities will use birdhouses.

The tongue of a woodpecker is usually more than twice the length of its bill.

Birds cock their heads to observe an object from different angles and calculate its distance.

The most widespread bird is the barn owl, which is found on every continent except Antarctic.

In zero degree weather, birds will eat nearly 20% of their body weight in seed daily.

The majority of migrating birds fly at altitudes of about 3,000 to 6,000 feet, but geese have been detected by radar as high as 29,000 feet.

More than 170 species of birds sunbathe, which absorbs heat, stimulates production of Vitamin D and causes parasites to emerge, making them easier to remove.

The American Kestrel is the smallest, most numerous and most widespread North American falcon. Of the 13 Kestrel species found throughout the world, it is the only one native to the Western Hemisphere.

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Wrenderings Articles

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

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Harford Bird Club
Field Trip Reports

Pot Luck Shorebirds

Eight birders traveled to Bombay Hook, Delaware, to search for the abundance and variety of shorebirds usually present as part of the fall migration. Beautiful weather helped with our search. Our best birds of the day were two Least Bitterns at Bear Swamp which cooperated so that all got great looks. At the Woodland Beach ponds, two Wilson's Phalaropes did their characteristic "spin" as part of their feeding behavior. The day finished with 70 species and life birds for many of the participants. - Dennis Kirkwood

Bel Air Goatsuckers: Volume I

Six people joined Carole and I at the top of the Bel Air parking garage to search the skies for southbound Common Nighthawks. Early evening treats were Purple Martins, Tree Swallow, and the every present Chimney Swifts. Also seen were (3) Fish Crows, American Crows, Turkey Vultures, Great Blue Heron, House Finches, Goldfinches, Rock Doves, and Mourning Doves. As for Common Nighthawks, we did have one fly right over the top of the garage at 7:40 p.m. enabling everyone a great view. - Joe Vangrin

Bel Air Goatsuckers: Volume II

Four people ventured up to the top of the Bel Air parking garage. It was a delightful night for sky watching. The group saw Purple Martins, Chimney Swifts, and a total of 8 Common Nighthawks. - Phil Powers

Butterflies and Dragonflies of Harford County

Our group met just before mid-morning at Harford Glen on Saturday, September 1st in hopes of exploring some "hot" butterfly and dragonfly action. Unfortunately, our morning was not going to be. A cool front which had moved into our region the night before settled overhead for most of the morning and into early afternoon. That pretty much did us in. Meager looks at Eastern Pondhawk and Blue Dasher were had. Tiger Swallowtail was also seen. As for birds, a beautiful Yellow-throated Vireo flitted about near ground level, a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Orchard Oriole made quick visits, and Les E. picked out an imm. Little Blue Heron for us. - R. L. Cheicante

Turkey Point Hawk Watch II

Sharp-shinned, sharp-shinned, sharp-shinned! I scanned often through my binoculars for another type of hawk. Yes, over 100 Sharp-shinned Hawks at Turkey Point between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Seven birders sat at the hawk watch on a very clear and lovely day. Yes, we did see other hawks to include Cooper's, Merlin, and Board-wings. A total of 31 bird species were found with very good looks at several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.- Phil Powers

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October 2001 - February 2002
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, October 7
Cromwell Valley Park Join leader Phil Powers on a half day trip to this fantastic Baltimore County Park. Target species include Solitary Vireo, Fox Sparrow and migrating hawks. Meeting time is 7:00 a.m. at the Park & Ride on MD Route 152 near MD Route 147. For further information contact Phil Powers at (410-679-4116).

Monday, October 8
Susquehanna State Park Join Rick Blom and Les Eastman on a walk through Susquehanna State Park. Target species will be hard-to-find sparrow species and late migrants. Meeting time is 7:00 a.m. at the Deer Creek Trestle parking lot. Contact trip coordinator Les Eastman at (410-734-6969) if you have any questions.

Saturday, October 20
Waggoner's Gap Hawk Watch Late October is a great time of year to see Red-tailed Hawks, Merlin, and Golden Eagles migrate though central Pennsylvania. Join hawkwatcher Randy Robertson as he points these and other great migrating raptors out from the outlook at Waggoner's Gap. Meeting time is 6:30 a.m. at the Rock Spring Park & Ride on MD Route 24 (Next to entrance ramp to MD Route 1). Information is available from Randy Robertson at (410-273-9029).

Saturday, October 27
Owl Prowl Join Harold Boling and Debbie Bowers for an early evening search for owls near Rocks State Park. Possible species include Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech Owl and Northern Saw-whet Owls. Meet at 4:30 p.m. at the Forest Hill Klein's, intersection of MD Routes 23 & 24. Contact Debbie Bowers at (410-692-9741) for further information.

Saturday, November 3
Perryman Join trip leader Dave Powell in a walk along Perryman area roads looking for migrating sparrows. Fox, American Tree and White-crowned Sparrows are among the target species. Meet at the Wal-Mart parking lot at 7:30 a.m. Call (410-452-5806) for more details.

Sunday, November 18
Eastern Neck NWR Leaders Jean and Larry Fry will guide you through this all-day trek to this wildlife refuge in Kent County. Eastern Neck provides fantastic opportunities to see waterfowl, with Horned Grebe, Tundra Swans, and Canvasback all likely to be encountered. Be sure to dress warmly and scopes could be useful. Jean and Larry can be contacted at (410-452-8539). Meeting place will be the MD Route 155 / I-95 (Exit 89) Park & Ride at 7:00 a.m. Bring lunch, an all day trip with easy walking.

Saturday, November 24
Conowingo Dam Conowingo is one of the best locations for mid-Atlantic birding at this time of year. The dam hosts dozens of Bald Eagles and thousands of gulls. Other possible sightings include Golden Eagle, Black-crowned Night Heron and Pileated Woodpecker. Scopes are helpful. Meet trip leader Dave Larkin (410-569-8319) at 8:00 a.m. at the pavilion at the north end of Fisherman's Park, which is located at the end of Shures Landing Road.

Saturday, December 1
Susquehanna River Prowl All-morning tour from both shores of the Susquehanna River, led by Les Eastman. Target birds will include loons, diving ducks, mergansers, gulls and eagles. Some walking, on mostly flat terrain. Meet at 7:30 a.m. at Tydings Marina in Havre de Grace. For further information, contact Les Eastman at (410-734-6969).

Saturday, December 8
Loch Raven Reservoir A morning tour of Baltimore City's most beautiful property, in search for pine-loving passerines and waterfowl. Likely to be seen are Red-breasted Nuthatches, Ring-necked Duck, and maybe even a Pine Warbler. Meet leader Donald Soubie at the MD Route 152 (Fallston) Park & Ride (MD Route 147 is closest cross street) at 7:30 a.m.

Sunday, December 16
Black Hills Join Phil Powers on a full day trip to Black Hills Lake in Montgomery County. The lake is a wonderful place to spot waterfowl, loons and grebes. The surrounding parkland also hosts Red-headed Woodpeckers, Tree Sparrows and other winter birds. Meeting time is 7:00 a.m. at the I-95/MD 152 Park & Ride. Phil Powers can be reached at (410-679-4116) for further information. Scopes would be helpful.

Saturday, December 29
Christmas Bird Count The 30th Annual Audubon Rock Run Christmas Bird Count. Coordinator is Jean Wheeler.

Sunday, January 6
Conowingo Gull Watch Whether you're a serious lister or a beginner looking for pointers on gull identification - this one's for you. Led by noted gull-watcher Gene Scarpulla, this all-morning trip may turn up such winter rarities as Iceland, Lesser Black-backed or C. Black-headed Gulls. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the base of the dam, at the east end of Shures Landing Road. For more information, contact Dave Powell at (410-452-5806). Mostly stationary trip with only minimal walking, heavy clothing and a warm beverage recommended.

Saturday, January 12
Eleventh Annual Feeder Tour The morning trip will tour two to three bird-feeder establishments in the Bel Air section of Harford County. From the meeting location, we will carpool to our first hosts home and roost in a warm spot where the feeders are visible. Roughly an hour later we will migrate to the second house. Participation is limited, please contact coordinator Dave Seitz at (410-838-2150) to reserve your spot and get meeting times and location. In the case of inclement weather, the trip will be postponed to Saturday, January 19th.

Sunday, January 13
Hidden Valley Join Debbie Bowers on a morning trip to Hidden Valley section of Rocks State Park. The trip will focus on finding winter regulars as well as looking for any irruptive species like Red-breasted Nuthatch and Purple Finch. Meeting time is 8:00 a.m. at the parking lot near the intersection of Carea and Madonna roads. Contact Debbie Bowers at (410-692-9741) for further information.

Sunday, January 20
Sweet Air Join leader Mark Johnson for a half-day trip to Gunpowder Falls State Park Sweet Air section. The fields and hedgerows are great for winter birding. Target species will be Fox and Tree Sparrows, Red-Breasted Nuthatch and Pileated Woodpeckers. Meet at at the parking lot on Dalton-Bevard Road. For further details contact Mark Johnson at 410-692-5978.

Saturday, January 26
Mid-Winter Bird Count Coordinator is Bill Pfingston.

Saturday, February 2
Bradenbaugh Flats Traditional trip to the gentle rolling fields of the Upper Deer Creek watershed. Leader Dennis Kirkwood will guide the search for Horned Lark, Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, and Eastern Meadowlark. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Jarrettsville Elementary School, located on MD 23, a half mile west of MD 165. The morning trip will consist mostly of drive-and-stop birding. Participants are invited to the Kirkwood's home afterwards for homemade soup and breads.

Saturday, February 9
Black Marsh, Marshy Hope, and North Point State Park All day trip to Baltimore County hotspots along the Chesapeake shoreline. A mixture of habitats attracts a wide variety of birds, ranging from waterfowl (Canvasback and Lesser Scaup) to Winter Wren, Northern Harrier and Fox Sparrow. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the MD 152/I-95 Park & Ride. Leaders are Larry & Jean Fry.

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Please return to Bobby Siebens, P.O. Box 68, Pylesville, MD 21132-0068
by Friday, Oct. 26, 2001.

		__________ Number of adults ( at $11.00 each )
		__________ Number of children 12 and under  ( at $5.00 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
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Please send any comments to Les Eastman.
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