WRENDERINGS The Newsletter of the Harford Bird Club

Volume 15 Number 4

July-August 2002

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


Autumn Picnic at Capa Field
New Harford Lifer?
President's Note
Calendar of Events
Wild Birding
Harford Bird Club Field Notes...
Harford Birdlife March 16, 2002 - May 15, 2002
HARFORD CHAPTER FIELD TRIPS August 2002 - November 2002

Autumn Picnic at Capa Field

The Harford Bird Club's annual picnic will take place at Capa Field in the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground on Saturday, October 12. The picnic gives old and new members alike a chance to meet and socialize at this wonderful and pleasant waterfront location. And please, don't forget to bring all of your summer birding stories and experiences to share.

Tom Congersky, Randy Robertson and crew will prepare all of your picnic favorites. Additional foods will be potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, crab soup (yummy!), rolls, corn (hopefully!),watermelon and cake. All utensil and paper goods will be provided. Do bring the beverage of your choice. Those who wish to attend the picnic and bring their own food are welcome to do so.

This year's picnic will be held on Saturday, October 12 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Food will be served at 3:00 p.m. There will be a bird walk later in the afternoon. Please return the reservation form by Tuesday, September 10, 2002. Because of 9-11 and recent restrictions on the Army base, we must have a list of those attending a month prior to the picnic. You will also need a photo ID. We will also need a phone number, if additional information is required.

Directions to Capa Field are as follows: From Bel Air and the I-95 interchange, take MD Route 24 south and proceed through the military entrance. Continue straight through the first traffic signal and turn right at approximately 1 mile at the 4-way stop sign. Follow the signs to Capa Field and the pavilion. Call Tom C. (410-676-6489) or Randy R. (410-273-9029) for more info.

Return to Table of Contents

New Harford Lifer?

On Wednesday, July 24, 2002, my family and I got a new "life bird" here in Harford County. "Founded" by a legendary Harford County "bird"-man, we were "stoked" about our chance to see them. Recently introduced, sightings and reports have been gaining in number. However, little is known about these new "birds". Locally abundant, the birds are highly migratory in summer and dispersive in the fall. The best time to see them is in their "short season" from June through early September. Being both diurnal and nocturnal, anytime of day is good, call ahead. If you would like to see these new Harford "birds", head over to Ripken Stadium where you'll easily find them, the "Ironbirds" of course. - R. L. Cheicante

Return to Table of Contents

President's Note

Twenty-six people enjoyed refreshments and social interaction at the Summer Social on July 12th at the Anita Leight Estuary; and, heard an informative talk on the Northern Goshawk by David Brinker of the Department of Natural Resources. Our next eagerly anticipated event will be the picnic at Capa Field on October 12th. Additional information will be forthcoming.

The MOS has voted to increase the annual membership dues by $10.00. This will mean an increase in our Chapter dues as well. The amount of increase will be decided at the Executive Board Planning Meeting scheduled for August 7, 2002. A letter will be sent to the membership explaining the new dues structure and will include a membership renewal form.

THIS IS YOUR CLUB!! The executive committee encourages input from the membership . We are always looking for suggestions for programs and activities. Let us know your wishes. How can we make things more interesting and exciting for you? At the August 7th planning meeting, we will be discussing the calendar for next year. Feel free to call any member of the Committee with your suggestions prior to the meeting.

THIS IS YOUR NEWSLETTER!! It is a forum for you to talk about birds, to share a birding experience, to express your concerns or opinions about club activities, and a way of keeping in touch with the other members. Let's make Rick's work really interesting with lots of articles and issues.

Please keep in mind the members of the Club who are ill or have family members who are ill and help us keep informed of others by contacting one of the Board members. Looking forward to seeing many of you at the picnic. - Carol Flora

Return to Table of Contents

Calendar of Events

August 7 Harford Bird Club - Executive Council Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Contact Carol Flora for more information.
September 16 Deadline - to contribute Harford Birdlife reports to Jean Fry for July 16, 2002 - Sept. 15, 2002. Jean's address is 1202 Ridge Road, Pylesville, MD 21132 or email at ffryjl@aol.com.
September 23 Deadline - to submit articles for the September/October issue of Wrenderings to Rick Cheicante. Rick's address is 1003-F Jessica's Ct, Bel Air, MD 21014 or rickcheicante@cs.com.
October 12 Annual Picnic at Capa Field.
November 1 Dinner Meeting at Churchville Presbyterian Church at 6:15 p.m. Guest speaker will be Bob Ringler.

Return to Table of Contents

Wild Birding

Southeast Arizona: Desert birds, Tombstone, and the "buzzworm". Southeast Arizona is easily a candidate for "Birding Capital of North America". Few could argue, but it's "sky islands" in close proximity to Mexico do some pretty special things in the avian world. And so it is, every time I find myself in Tucson and the rest of southeast Arizona, I feel like I've drifted my way back to a familiar old friend. My desert home away from home.

Past the feeders, this beautifully rugged landscape embraces those desiring solitude and adventure but offers no forgiveness to and for the uninitiated. Drives can be hard, walks and climbs even harder. In the desert, water is everything. Sabino Canyon, one of my favorite places, is a great place to learn the sights and sounds of the Sonoran Desert. The lonesome longings of a Gambel's Quail, the ratchet-jaw laughter of the Cactus Wren, the aerielistics of the silky Phainopepla, tail-wheeling scolds from a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, a dive-bomb approach from a Black-chinned Hummingbird and the curiosities of Verdin are sometimes your only assurance that your not truly alone. Be alert, the flora (not Carol) will grab you, literally, and on every other trip out I've seen " the monster" - Gila to be exact - in either Sabino or Saguaro NP (west). After a morning in Sabino, grab some road grub and head into Molino Basin for a great picnic with Mexican Jays and the omnipresent Bell's Vireo. Afterwards, continue on Catalina Highway to Mt. Lemmon to enjoy some spectacular vistas.

Later, on one long sunset stretch heading north along Highway 80 towards Tombstone, I stopped for a few "mountain glow" photo-ops. Alas, I didn't hear it, but when I turned back around, a coyote had found its way out of the desert grassland and was standing just 50 yards near in the road. Just me, him, miles of desert grassland in all directions and the liquid muses of meadowlarks resonating across the heat waves. As the sun burned on, we chatted for a few moments; we agreed he was beautiful and I was just another beast in the machine, so he padded off and I saddled up. A few moments later I rode into Tombstone [I mean drove into Tombstone]. Once inside the "Town to Tough to Die", I was pleasantly harassed by a pair of low-swooping Common Poorwills near "Boot Hill".

A very well-known destination for trogons; the South Fork Trail in Cave Creek Canyon (Chiricahua Mts)offers a moderate grade through some awesome trogon territory. I usually find Arizona Woodpeckers, Bridled Titmouse, and sometimes low elevation Olive Warblers. While meandering along late one morning about a mile up from the trailhead- WHOOOOAAAAA!!! - an electric buzz terrified all of my brain senses (all two of the them by some accounts). It's funny, I've seen them before, in Arizona, Texas, even here Maryland and West Virginia. But, like I said, I actually saw them before - "the BIG SURPRISE!" I'd often wondered what it would be like to "get buzzed". I was close, way too close! I'm not sure how long you can leave your body while still have it remain standing. The speed of its rattle and what happens to you are indescribable. Once your spirit returns earthward , you must fight the paralysis which has frozen your feet to the ground. Then, WHAM!!! your back, the numbness subsides and the trembling starts. In a split second, I identified the position of this "electric" marauder, contemplated my impending doom, then leapt skyward onto a 3 foot tall boulder and prayed I wasn't surrounded by a host of his friends. Near me, just off the trail was the most beautifully encrypted, three and a half foot Black-tailed Rattlesnake. Otherwise undisturbed but clearly in-charge, he went back to his snaking business. I just stayed on the rock for awhile. - R.L. Cheicante

Return to Table of Contents

Harford Bird Club Field Notes...

Dues are now due - Notice will arrive soon of our new dues structure.

Volunteers Needed! - A number of committee positions and volunteer opportunities are currently available within the club. Please contact Carol Flora if you are ready to help with the our continued success.

May Count 2002 - This year the weather was nearly perfect; warm and clear for our spring inventory of birds known as the May Count. It takes place every year on the second Saturday of May and occurs nationwide. The object: to log the number of species and individuals encountered. The purpose: to provide a snapshot in time where birds are in the spring migration. People can count either by hiking/walking (regular), from a stationary position (stationary), from watching a feeder (feeder) or at night (night; RSFN). Ten parties of sixteen birders took part this year. In total they logged 52.5 hours and 39 miles on foot, 16 hours and 172 miles in the car, and a total of 7 hours owling. A total of 7913 individuals of 156 species were seen in Harford County.

The "Daves" (David Webb and David Ziolkowski) put in an almost round-the-clock effort at the Aberdeen Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground and reported 127 species. Top birds included Black Rail, Pine Siskin, and Chuck-will's Widow. They also counted more than 50 Whip Poor Wills!

The team of Cheicante and Larkin roamed Susquehanna Stake Park and logged an impressive 99 species (couldn't get 100, huh?) and 21 species of warblers. Birds of particular interest included two Gray-cheeked Thrushes and a Red-breasted Nuthatch.

The team of Johnson, Procell, and Congersky canvassed the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen proving Ground and found 85 species. Highlights included a flock of Ruddy Ducks in breeding plumage, Blue Grosbeaks, and 15 warbler species.

Jean and Larry Fry scoped their home turf and noted 68 species including 9 Eastern Bluebirds and 9 species of warblers. Jean and Dennis Kirkwood also counted their local home territory and noted 61 species. Highlights included 2 Hooded Warblers and 2 Bald Eagles.

K.L. Updegrove reported 77 species with 78 Bobolinks, and a Gray-cheeked Thrush and a Willow Flycatcher included.

Les Eastman logged and impressive 13 species of warblers and a combined 82 species for the day.

Phil Powers covered Joppa and Mariner Point Park. Rick Blom and Richard Hagenston also covered part of that area and together were able to log 66 species. Rick and Richard went on to Riverside throughout the day and noted 83 species (15 species where reproductive evidence was noted).

Return to Table of Contents

Image of a Wren over outline of Harford County
Harford Birdlife
May 16, 2002 - July 15, 2002
by Jean Fry

Sightings were few and far between for this time period. Vacations and hot weather probably kept some people from birding. Birds probably do what people do when it's hot - huddle in a cool place, refrain from excessive activity, and seek out liquid refreshment. (Be sure to keep your bird baths clean and filled.) I've decided that if it's too hot to go birding, then it's just too hot. Probably most of you would agree.

MH and TC found a Pied-billed Grebe at Tydings flats in Havre de Grace and three Great Egrets at Harford Glen on 7/10. JLF saw a Green Heron at Lake Mitten in Pylesville on 6/11 and 6/18.

A Double-crested Cormorant made a stop at Lake Mitten on 6/1 for only the second time observed there (JLF). DW reported a Gadwall at Tydings Island on 5/29. A female Wood Duck with three ducklings was seen by LF at the Heaps School Road bridge over Broad Creek on 6/18, and a female WD with four imm. took off from Lake Mitten on 7/9 (JLF).

JLF saw an Osprey over Lake Mitten on 6/1. Chicks were observed in the Cooper's Hawk nest on Ridge Road in Pylesville on 6/11 (JLF). MH and TC saw an American Kestrel at Perryman on 7/10.

DW found fourteen American Coots and one Semipalmated Plover at Tydings Island on 5/29. DL reported a Semipalmated Sandpiper there on 7/7. PP spotted three Dunlin at Mariner Point Park in Joppatowne on 5/19.

DL noted on 7/7 that Least Terns have been at Lakeside ponds for quite some time. DW found one while canoeing on Church Creek (a feeder of Bush River) on 6/21. MH and TC found seven at Lakeside on 7/10.

PP saw twelve Common Nighthawks eating bugs around the lights at Camden Yard during the rain delay on 5/17. DW heard a Whip-poor-will calling on 6/19 from near the Tank Recovery area of the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground.

JLF had five Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at their feeder in Pylesville on 5/30. This was the highest number ever and appeared to be a newly fledged family. LE, the hummingbird king of the county, has had multiple numbers since the middle of June, sometimes seeing twelve to fifteen at one time. He reports going through two liters of sugar water a day!!!

JLF saw two Red-bellied Woodpecker fledglings on Grande View Drive on 6/18. LW reported two very friendly and very vocal Pileated Woodpeckers in Street the week of 7/15 but no cougars! TB saw a Pileated Woodpecker in her yard in Bel Air on 5/26. MH and TC saw several Acadian Flycatchers in Susquehanna State Park on 7/10. DL found a nice collection of swallows flying over the scrape at Swan Harbor near Havre de Grace on 7/14, including Barn, Tree, Rough-winged, and Bank. Most were immatures. MH and TC found Bank at Perryman on 7/10.

DW saw a Gray-cheeked Thrush in a neighbor's woods on 5/16 and in his own backyard on 5/25.

JLF found Cedar Waxwings with fledglings on Grande View Drive on 6/18.

The following warblers were reported: a Magnolia on Ridge Road in Pylesville on 5/18(JF); two Magnolias and a female Hooded at Mariner Point Park on 5/19(PP); a family group of Prothonotary, a singing Worm-eating, and an extremely cooperative Yellow-throated at Susquehanna State Park on 7/10 (MH and TC); a singing but "no-show" Yellow-breasted Chat at Perryman on 7/10 (MH and TC); and two Yellow-breasted Chats calling at Heaps School Road bridge over Broad Creek in Pylesville on 6/18 (LF). LE found a male and female Cerulean pair feeding a fallen nestling that was perched in some jewelweed at the mouth of Deer Creek in Susquehanna State Park on 6/9.

PP had a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak in his back yard in Joppa on 5/16. MH and TC found a Blue Grosbeak in the fields at Perryman on 7/10.

Contributors to this column were: Tammy Banerjee (TB), Tim Carney(TC), Les Eastman (LE), Jean and Larry Fry (JLF), Matt Hafner (MH), Dave Larkin (DL), Phil Powers (PP), Dave Webb (DW), and Linda Weeks (LW).

The deadline for submissions for the next newsletter is Monday, September 16 for sightings from July 16 until September 15. Please send to: ffryjl@aol.com Please be sure to give the date and location of your sighting. If you send several sightings at one time, please list them rather than putting them in paragraph form. Many thanks!!

Return to Table of Contents

August 2002 - November 2002

Sunday, August 18
Bombay Hook and Rarities Renowned expert Dennis Kirkwood will lead this trip to one of the top shorebird locations on the Mid-Atlantic. Side trip(s) may be on the agenda should any rarities be in the area! Meet Dennis at the I-95/MD 155 Park & Ride at 7:00 AM, bring lunch.

Wednesday, August 21
Nighthawk watch Join leader Joe Vangrin to search the skies over Bel Air for migrating Nighthawks. Participants should meet on the top of the town parking garage at 7:00 PM.

Wednesday, August 28
Mariner Point Park, Joppatowne Phil Powers will host this field trip which would be a great opportunity for the new birder. An easy walk and good sightings are a highlight of this area. Meet Phil at the last parking lot in the park by the pavilion at 7:30 AM.

Saturday, August 31
Butterfly walk Call Rick Cheicante for details at (410) 803-2712.

Saturday, September 7
Harford Glen Home of the Harford County Public Schools Environmental Education facility, Harford Glen is a terrific birding location and a great place to visit if you are a novice birder. Join leaders Lynn Davis and Dave Seitz at 7:00 AM to comb this County "hot spot".

Saturday, September 14
Susquehanna State Park Exceptional habitat makes the Park an ideal place to see a large variety of fall migrants along with the local favorites. If you are wondering whether birding may be a pastime you'd enjoy, check this trip out! Randy Robertson and Don Soubie will be starting at the Rock Run Mill at 7:30 AM.

Sunday, September 15
Eden Mill A bird walk and banding demonstration will highlight this trip to an excellent locale. Many migrating warblers may be seen through the binocs and in the hand!! Master bander Dr. Mark Johnson will meet the participants at the trail head parking area just beyond the mill at 7:00 AM.

Sunday, September 22
Rocks State Park More migrating fall warblers will be on the list when you join leader Deborah Bowers for a walk in this premier location along Deer Creek. Meet Debbie at the Park HQ located on Rocks Chrome Hill Road at 7:30 AM.

Wednesday, September 25
Waggoner's Gap A mid-week hawk watching extravaganza (with cooperation from the weather and prevailing winds) at a terrific Pennsylvania hawk-watch location. Broad-winged migration should be in full swing. Meet leader Phil Powers at the I-95/MD 152 Park & Ride at 7:00 AM. Bring lunch.

Thursday, October 3
Mariner Point Park A great location for beginning birders to join experienced field trip leader Tom Congersky. A wide variety of sparrows, warblers and thrushes migrate at this time and the park is a local hot-spot. Meet Tom at the last parking lot near the pavilion at 8:00 AM.

Sunday, October 6
Elk Neck State Park Phil Powers leads yet another trip to this nearby hawk observation point. Accipiters and falcons should be starting to migrate and Elk Neck provides the opportunity for great looks. Meet at the I-95/MD 155 Park & Ride at 7:00 AM.

Monday, October 14
Waggoner's Gap This place is so fun, we're goin' there again! Beside the fact that accipiter and falcon migration is in full swing, Waggoner's Gap is widely believed to be the best place around to see migrating golden eagles. Hope for good winds and weather and join Dr. Mark Johnson and his washed up scope bearer Randy Robertson at the MD 152/MD 147 Park & Ride at 7:00 AM. This could be a long one so bring food and beverages.

Saturday, October 19
Birds & Bison Dennis Kirkwood will be spotting local birds and our own native buffalo herd. Meet Dennis a the Churchville Presbyterian Church at 8:00 AM. From there Dennis will hit some prime birding spots and culminate the morning at the farm of chapter members Emily and Paul Hines.

Sunday, October 20
Lock #12/Holtwood Dam Some late migrating sparrows and warblers might still be moving along with the start of the waterfowl flights. Leader Joe Vangrin will meet participants at the MD 543/MD 165 Park & Ride at 7:30 AM.

Saturday, October 26
Owl Prowl Deborah Bowers will host and Tom Congersky will co-lead this nocturnal search for Barred, Great Horned and Screech owls - Saw-Whet is not out of the question either!! Meet at the Deborah's house at 7:00 PM.

Saturday, November 9
Falling Branch If Deborah Bowers didn't have enough with the night-owlers, now she's charging off the this beautiful Harford County landmark. Meet her at the Eden Mill parking lot at 7:30 AM.

Saturday, November 16
Eastern Neck NWR Excellent winter birding area on the Chesapeake Bay in Kent County. Highlights may include swans, bay ducks, Northern Harrier, and Horned Larks. Meet at 7:00 AM at the I-95/MD 155 Park & Ride. Leaders are Jean and Larry Fry. Bring lunch; all day trip with easy walking.

Sunday, November 24
Swan Harbor Farm Walk the open fields and bayside pasture of this lovely Harford County park for field birds, sparrows, and waterfowl. Meet at 8:00 AM at the Roye-Williams Elementary School, on Oakington Road just south of Old Post Road (MD 132). The leader is June Mundis.

Saturday, November 30
Conowingo Dam Gull Watch 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 Dennis Kirkwood at 8:00 AM at Fisherman's Park.

Return to Table of Contents


Please return to Tom Congersky, 2418 Sycamore Lane, Edgewood MD 21040  by
Tues., Sept. 10, 2002.

                __________ Number of adults ( at $12.00 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 meeting.
Return to Table of Contents

Please send any comments to Les Eastman.
Return to Harford Bird Club Newsletter Page
Return to Harford Bird Club Home Page