Volume 19 Number 1
January - February 2006
Another year gone by, the Christmas Bird Count has come and gone, we are gearing up for our traditional cold-weather counts and bird trips, and thinking about ways to combine weight-loss strategies and birding. As I am sure is the case for many of us, the Rock Run CBC is the highlight of my birding year. This year's count was perhaps the 'year of no extremes'; it was not cold, not hot; no REALLY rare birds (however Long-tailed Duck is exciting!), not many 'big misses' either. Of course the birding may not be as important as is the stew and bread that was once again provided by Lorna Wortman... I think our count attendance would suffer greatly if not for her!
Hank Kaestner returned for his yearly update on the travels and adventures of a spice trader. Amazing to know that Hank has over 6500 birds on his life-list (Spike, you have a ways to go to catch up!), and is ranked only 20th among the world's listers! In a rather 'slow year' as Hank put it, he still visited 3 continents and had many fantastic photographs, stories, and experiences to share. Look for Hank to return next January for the update of his 2006 travels. Our next meeting will feature birds a bit closer to home; Dr. Matthew Perry will discuss his research on the lifestyle of ducks in a presentation titled "Atlantic Seaduck Project -- Chesapeake Bay to Hudson Bay". Dr. Perry works for the USGS and likewise should have many stories and adventures to share.
Cold weather birding? For some reason I am not so sure we are going to need to worry about that this year! Regardless of the temperature however we will have many exciting winter outings over the next couple of months. For the first time in years we have an overnight fieldtrip to New Jersey, compliments of Les Eastman and Dave Ziolkowski's shore house! This President-Weekend trip should be a real hit as birding at Brigantine and Barnegat Light is always a treat. By the time you read this we all should be recovering from the Mid-winter Count and Super Bowl, just in time to join Dennis Kirkwood at the 'World Famous' Bradenbaugh Flats (yet another club event involving food!).
The Harford Bird Club continues to provide a myriad of fieldtrip experiences, and we are all excited that Colleen Webster will take the reigns of the Field Trip Committee to continue the good work that outgoing chair Dave Ziolkowski and others have been doing over the years.
Lastly it is with much appreciation that long-time club devotee Dave Webb has come onboard as Vice President. His experience and input will be invaluable over the coming year as has already been clear in just the past month of working together. Thank you Dave! Russ Kovach
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The Rock Run Christmas Bird Count was held on Friday December 30, 2005 and 35 avid birders traversed fields and rivers for our feathered friends. What a difference a year makes. This was one of the most successful counts in a while. All areas of the circle were covered. The weather was mild, mostly cloudy with temperatures in the 40*s throughout the day. Winds abated over the course of the day. The boat crew was on the River again this year. We ended the day with 104 species, 106 counting Horned-lark and Wild Turkey seen in count week.
Eight groups went owling. This year we managed to find our three usual suspects, however only 1 Barred owl was found. That was one more than last year! This year will be remembered for the Black-capped Chickadee. Seven teams spotted them.
1. Oakwood: Marcia Watson-Whitmyre & Monroe Harden (40 species) The veteran and the rookie found the count's only House Wren and they spotted 4 Black-capped Chickadees. They also spotted 30 Red- bellied Woodpeckers.
2. Rowlandville: Les Eastman & Wyatt Wallace (48 Species) this veteran team also found BCChickadee (1), Yel.-rumped Warbler (2) & White-crowned Sparrow (6).
3. Colora: Tom Congersky, Cynthia & Rupert Rosetti (30 species) Birds were tough to find even in this great habitat. Am. Crows (175) were everywhere. They also were one of seven teams finding Eastern Screech-Owl (1)
4. Bainbridge: Matt Hafner, Kim Caughey, & Mike Burchett (69 species). Turning in the 3rd highest count this team had many highlights including Cackling Goose (3), Snow goose-white (33) and blue phase (1), the only Am. Woodcock (1) and Am. Pipit (1) on the count & the high count for White-crowned Sparrow (28).
5. Perrypoint: Russ Kovach & Dave Ziolkowski (77 species) Once again these veterans had the highest count of the day. They found the only Canvasback (10), Redhead (6), Long-tailed Duck (1) and Bonaparte's gull (2).
6. Swan Creek: John & Becky Gallo (49 species) This husband-wife team spent 5 hours owling! GHO (2). But they had a find of the day Pine Warbler (2).
7. Havre de Grace: Rick Cheicante & Dave Larkin (72 species) * This veteran team had the 2nd highest count of the day and found the only N. Pintail (1), Gr.- winged Teal (4), Mute Swan (21), N. Harrier (1) & Chipping Sparrow (4).
8. Aldino: Deidre DeRoia (27 species). Working alone on her first RRCBC in her own neighborhood Deidre heard a GH Owl as she left the house. She also had the high count for Am. Tree Sparrow (17).
9. Susquehanna: Mark Johnson & Suzanne Procell (56 species). These veterans found Wood Duck (2), a plethora of Eastern Towhee (42) and Purple Finch (5).
10. Rolling Green: Dave Webb & Jean Wheeler (62 species). This seasoned team had the only Barred Owl (1), Red-headed Woodpecker (1), E. Phoebe (1), E. Meadowlark (1)& Pine Siskin (1). They also had high counts for rusty Blackbird (20) & Am. Robin (116).
11 a. Deer Creek: Bill & Mary Jo Collins & Lynn Feryus (40 species). This trio was one of only two groups to find Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2)
11 b. Darlington: Carol Flora, Lynn Speedie & Bill Pfingsten. (30 species).This group reported a scarcity of birds in their area and worked hard to find Red-breasted Nuthatch (1) among their count.
11 c. Conowingo Dam: Bob Ringler. (40 species) The number of Gulls at the dam was disappointing with only 3 species seen. This veteran birder spent 7 hours on foot and had the high count of Eagles (20), Brown Creeper (10), Winter Wren (14) and found six of the seven Woodpecker species and a Black-capped Chickadee.
12. Dublin: Tom Trafton, John Hughes & Jay Killian. (46 species) * This team spotted the only Merlin of the count.
13. River Flats: Dennis Kirkwood, Sarah & Peter Jay & Grace Hiter (49 species) Our Nautical team was back in the water this year and found fair numbers of ducks including: Wood Duck (1), Common golden- eye (12), Bufflehead (12), Ruddy Duck (232), Greater Scaup (10) & Lesser Scaup (310), Hooded (8) & Common Merganser (75).
The 34th Rock Run CBC was one of the best in many years. Thanks to all who participated. Once again we ended the count at Lorna Wortman*s for hot stew and a large variety of homemade breads. Thank you Lorna and Adele for hosting the "tally rally". It was a perfect end to a thrilling day of birding.
Next year's CBC will be on Friday December 29, 2006. Mark your calendars. Jean Wheeler
|Red-throated Loon||Wild Turkey||CW1||Winter Wren||40|
|Common Loon||Northern Bobwhite||Marsh Wren|
|Pied-billed Grebe||4||American Coot||202||Golden-crowned Kinglet||79|
|Horned Grebe||Killdeer||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||4|
|Double-crested Cormorant||4||Dunlin||Blue-gray Gnatcatcher|
|Great Cormorant||Wilson's Snipe||Eastern Bluebird||148|
|Great Blue Heron||132||American Woodcock||1||Hermit Thrush||29|
|Great Egret||Laughing Gull||American Robin||267|
|Green Heron||Black-headed Gull||Gray Catbird||15|
|B.-crowned Night-Heron||1||Bonaparte's Gull||3||Northern Mockingbird||113|
|Black Vulture||248||Ring-billed Gull||2,411||Brown Thrasher||3|
|Turkey Vulture||437||California Gull||European Starling||2,452|
|G. White-fronted Goose||Herring Gull||315||American Pipit||1|
|Snow Goose||49||Thayer's Gull||Cedar Waxwing||334|
|Canada Goose||28,344||Iceland (Kumlien's) Gull||Orange-crowned Warbler|
|Cackling Goose||4||Lesser Black-backed Gull||Northern Parula|
|Mute Swan||21||Glaucous Gull||Yellow-rumped Warbler||23|
|Tundra Swan||189||Great Black-backed Gull||217||Pine Warbler||2|
|Wood Duck||3||gull species||123||Common Yellowthroat|
|Gadwall||11||Black-legged Kittiwake||Eastern Towhee||114|
|American Wigeon||2||Rock Pigeon||573||American Tree Sparrow||23|
|American Black Duck||96||Mourning Dove||262||Chipping Sparrow||4|
|Mallard||500||Barn Owl||Field Sparrow||34|
|Blue-winged Teal||Eastern Screech-Owl||13||Vesper Sparrow|
|Northern Shoveler||Great Horned Owl||9||Savannah Sparrow||26|
|Northern Pintail||1||Barred Owl||1||Fox Sparrow||6|
|Green-winged Teal||4||Long-eared Owl||Song Sparrow||406|
|Canvasback||10||Short-eared Owl||Swamp Sparrow||17|
|Redhead||6||Northern Saw-whet Owl||White-throated Sparrow||1,276|
|Ring-necked Duck||52||Belted Kingfisher||26||White-crowned Sparrow||41|
|Greater Scaup||12||Red-headed Woodpecker||1||Dark-eyed Junco||968|
|Lesser Scaup||331||Red-bellied Woodpecker||176||Snow Bunting|
|scaup sp.||Yellow-bellied Sapsucker||32||Northern Cardinal||328|
|Long-tailed Duck||1||Downy Woodpecker||155||Indigo Bunting|
|Bufflehead||46||Hairy Woodpecker||27||Yellow-headed Blackbird|
|Common Goldeneye||73||Northern Flicker||104||Red-winged Blackbird||1,142|
|Hooded Merganser||36||Pileated Woodpecker||21||Eastern Meadowlark||1|
|Common Merganser||220||Eastern Phoebe||1||Rusty Blackbird||21|
|Red-breasted Merganser||36||Eastern Kingbird||Common Grackle||257|
|Ruddy Duck||287||Loggerhead Shrike||Brown-headed Cowbird||24|
|duck species||47||Blue Jay||240||blackbird species||77|
|Osprey||American Crow||702||Baltimore Oriole|
|Bald Eagle||88||Fish Crow||Purple Finch||8|
|Northern Harrier||4||crow species||15||House Finch||162|
|Sharp-shinned Hawk||11||Horned Lark||CW11||Common Redpoll|
|Cooper's Hawk||9||Barn Swallow||Pine Siskin||1|
|Northern Goshawk||Carolina Chickadee||509||American Goldfinch||344|
|Red-shouldered Hawk||11||Black-capped Chickadee||40||Evening Grosbeak|
|Red-tailed Hawk||62||Tufted Titmouse||191||House Sparrow||294|
|Rough-legged Hawk||Red-breasted Nuthatch||24|
|Golden Eagle||White-breasted Nuthatch||139||Individuals||47,237|
|American Kestrel||8||Brown Creeper||24||Species||104|
|Peregrine Falcon||House Wren||1|
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|February 17 - 20||Great Backyard Bird Count|
|March 1||Deadline: Harford Birdlife: Becky Gallo|
|March 3||March Dinner Meeting: Dr. Matthew Perry|
|March 23||Deadline: Wrenderings: Rick Cheicante|
|May 5||Spring Meeting|
|May 13||May Count: Mark Johnson|
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Bobolinks Return? - By now everyone knows about Dave Webb's amazing discovery last summer of a pair of nesting bobolinks in a field near his home * it was the first record for Harford County and for all of the state except Western Maryland. His find was amazing because bobolinks are well known for their skill in concealing their nests.
Bobolinks have become rare because of their need for grassland habitat, hay harvests are known to wipe out an estimated 80% of unfledged young. They are doubly victimized by the loss of this habitat to development.
In addition to agriculture diminishing their habitat here in the north with hedgerow to hedgerow cultivation and harvesting over the last 50 years, bobolinks were killed en masse by southern planters because the birds fed on rice plants.
Bobolinks are noted for their complex song, described in the 1936 Birds of America as having an essentially liquid and vowel character, that may then “become suddenly a sort of hysterical music-box” Henry David Thoreau loved the bobolink, and wrote “this flashing, tinkling meteor bursts through the expectant meadow air, leaving a train of tinkling notes behind.”
The spot where Dave found the bobolink nest had not been mowed and must have provided the bobolink family with adequate cover and food. I have gotten no definitive answer about whether any members of this bobolink family might return to this same site to breed. My quest for this advice was urgent, as the land is slated for development. I have made contact with one of the landowners to inform them about the nesting site and he agreed to speak with me again in the spring about the property and possible cooperation regarding watching for a possible return of the bobolinks. I will follow-up in May. Deborah Bowers
Lending Library - The Harford Bird Club is developing a lending library of field guides and books covering occurrence and distribution data that can be loaned to members of the club. Bill Collins has volunteered to head this project. The club would appreciate all members to consider making books available for this purpose, which will be of value to all members of the club who travel. If you are willing to make your books available to members of the Harford Bird club please contact Bill Collins either by phone 410-879-1380 or E-Mail email@example.com Books will be retained by the owner and Bill will be act as a coordinator between the owner and borrower. Our only restriction is that this service will be for Harford Bird Club members only.
Books currently available cover the following areas in the United States: Alaska; Phoenix, AZ; Southern California; Monterey, CA; San Francisco Bay Area; Hawaii; Minnesota; Vermont; Washington; and Wisconsin
Areas outside of the United States are: The West Indies; Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; The Bahama's and Turks and Caicos; Mexico; Panama; Costa Rica; Colombia; Ecuador; Venezuela; The Tropical Pacific; United Kingdom; Ireland; Europe; The Middle East; South-East Asia; The Philippines; Thailand; and Kenya and Northern Tanzania;
The first books have already been lent to the complete satisfaction of both the lender and borrower. Bill Collins
Great Backyard Bird Count February 17 - 20, 2006. To participate: www.birdsource.org/gbbc
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AUTUMN 2005: What a migration! The geese, hawks, warblers and waterfowl were on the move. Sept 22 was a big day for Jarrettsville with at least 2000 Broad-winged Hawks flying over. On Nov 11 JrG had over 500 Canada Geese at Swan Harbor. CS saw 100 American Black Ducks on Nov 15 at Spesutie Narrows. Then on Nov 18 over 370 Tundra Swans flew over Swan Harbor (SHC).
A new species has been spotted in Harford County! On Oct 19 at Swan Harbor Farm Ducks Unlimited pond MH spotted a Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. It was sitting on the cattails that surround the pond; and stayed within sight for 20 minutes.
An unusual finding this fall was by MB, MH and JS. On Nov 25 at Forest Greens they found a Mallard, American Black Duck hybrid.
WATERFOWL: MH heard and saw 40 Snow Geese flyover Conowingo on Nov 9. Four Cackling Geese were resting at the pond off of Harford Creamery Road on Nov 19 (DK). At Swan Harbor both MoH and JrG saw Canada Geese in gaggles well over 100 sometimes over 500! One Mute Swan was at APG on Nov 22 (MoH) while 3 others were seen flying over Churchville on Nov 27 (MB). Wood Ducks were found at APG (Nov 10 & 11 MoH). Eight Gadwalls were swimming at Forest Greens on Nov 25 (MB, MH, JS). DW spotted 2 American Wigeons at the Chase Manor Marsh on Nov 12. At APG Mallards were in groups of 2 to 17 (MoH). On Nov 12 DW counted fifteen Northern Shovelers at the Chase Manor Marsh. Green-winged Teal used Swan Harbor Farm as a refueling station from Oct to Nov. They were seen either by themselves (1, MoH Nov 20) or in groups of 50 (MH Oct 19). Fifty Redheads were spotted at Spesutie Narrows on Nov 15 (CS). A Ring-necked Duck was by himself in a group of 30 Lesser Scaup on Conowingo Lake on Nov 9 (MH). Nineteen Buffleheads couldn't hide when DW went birding along the Gunpowder on Nov 12. Ruddy Ducks were spotted at Swan Harbor and John Smith Park (Oct 22, MoH; Nov 12, DW)
GAMEBIRDS & GREBES: Two Northern Bobwhites crossed over Fallsmount Drive on Oct 5 (SH). KG saw 2 Common Loons flyover Jarrettsville on Nov 18. KG also spotted a Pied-billed Grebe near the Conowingo Dam on Nov 6.
CORMORANTS, HERONS, EGRETS & VULTURES: Double-crested Cormorants were seen at the Conowingo Dam by LE on Nov 1 (50). A Cattle Egret was seen by DW & MW in the Aldino area on Oct 28. MoH saw Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures at APG throughout the month of November.
RAPTORS & RAILS: MoH spotted an Osprey at the MD Blvd Picnic Area on Nov 11. The most abundant raptor this autumn was Bald Eagles. The most in one area was at the Conowingo Dam * LE saw 30 on Nov 1, KG saw 95 on Nov 6, and then on Nov 8 LE saw 51. An immature Northern Harrier was spotted at Swan Harbor on Oct 16, Oct 30 and Oct 31 (JrG). Swan harbor was also home to a Cooper's Hawk on Oct 14 and Nov 5 (JrG). KG spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk near Sandy Hook on Nov 6. On Oct 6 DW saw a Broad-winged Hawk in the Webster area. MoH saw a Red-tailed Hawk at APG on Nov 17. CS was in the Michaelsville area on Nov 8 and spotted two American Kestrels and a Peregrine Falcon. MoH spotted a Virginia Rail at Swan Harbor on Sep 17. On Nov 12 DW saw three American Coots at the Chase Manor Marsh.
SHOREBIRDS: Thirty Killdeer congregated at Swan Harbor on Oct 19 (MH). MoH saw 1 Greater Yellowlegs at Swan Harbor on Sep 25 and 5 Lesser Yellowlegs on Sep 17. MH saw 3 Pectoral Sandpipers and 3 Wilson's Snipe on Oct 19 at Swan Harbor. On Nov 2 JrG saw at least 12 Wilson's Snipe at Swan Harbor. An American Woodcock was seen at dusk flying over the Webster area (Sept 30 DW) and in Street (Sep 16 DB).
GULLS & TERNS: Laughing Gulls were at the Conowingo Dam on Nov 1 (LE) and Nov 9 (MH). MH found Bonaparte's Gulls at the Conowingo Lake (Nov 9) and Lapidum (Nov 9). In Havre de Grace MoH saw 10 Herring Gulls with 10 Ring-billed Gulls. CS saw 50 Forster's Terns at Spesutie Narrows. DW only saw 1 at Concord Point on Nov 15.
PIGEONS, CUCKOOS & OWLS: On Nov 26 MoH saw 1 Mourning Dove in Havre de Grace. DW heard a Black-billed Cuckoo calling in the Webster area on Oct 15. Two Great Horned Owls called to each other on Oct 28, Nov 15 and Nov 27 at Swan Harbor (JrG). DB saw a Barred Owl in Street on Sep 21.
Swifts, Hummingbirds & Woodpeckers: MoH in Street sighted Chimney Swifts on Sept 23. MW saw Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on a feeder on Sep 27 and 30. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were at Swan Harbor on Nov 5 and Nov 19 (JrG). Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were spotted at Rocks State Park (KG Nov 6) and in Oakington (MB, MH, JS Nov 25). RK saw a Downy Woodpecker in Darlington on Nov 13. A Hairy Woodpecker was seen by LE near Susquehanna State Park on Oct 24. DB on Sep 19 saw a Pileated Woodpecker in Street.
FLYCATCHERS, VIREOS, LARKS & SWALLOWS: An Eastern Wood-Pewee couldn't hide when DB went birding in Street on Sep 21. Blue-headed Vireos were in the Webster area on Sep 23 and Oct 15 (DW). RC had a less-often-seen Philadelphia Vireo at his Creswell yard on Sept. 30. MH saw 50 Horned Larks and 75 Tree Swallows at Swan Harbor on Oct 19.
TITMICE, NUTHATCHES, CREEPERS & WRENS: Black-capped Chickadees were seen in Susquehanna State Park by LE on Nov 8. RC hosted a high 4 in Creswell. JrG saw 18 Tufted Titmice on Nov 11 at Swan Harbor. RK had Red-breasted Nuthatches, White-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers and Carolina Wrens at his feeders in Darlington on Nov 13.
KINGLETS, THRUSHES & WAXWING: Golden-crowned Kinglets were at Eden Mill on Nov 12 (SH). RK saw at least five Eastern Bluebirds in Darlington on Nov 13. DS saw 4 Hermit Thrushes on Oct 21 in Bel Air. On Nov 19 KG saw 119 Cedar Waxwings at Mariner Point.
WOOD WARBLERS: A western race of Nashville Warbler was seen by MB, MH and JS in the Oakington Area on Nov 25. SA on Oct 23 saw a Canada Warbler in Susquehanna State Park. MH on Oct 19 saw 5 Palm Warblers at Swan Harbor, 3 western and 2 yellow race.
SPARROWS & GROSBEAKS: MB, MH and JS saw 35 White-crowned Sparrows and 12 Savannah Sparrows in the Perryman area. RK had 3 Field Sparrows in Darlington on Nov 13. MH saw 1 Dickcissel in the Lakeside area on Oct 24. On Nov 11 JrG had 50 Dark-eyed Juncos at their feeder.
BLACKBIRDS & FINCHES: 4 Bobolinks were at Swan Harbor on Oct 19 (MH). DW had 2 Pine Siskins in the Webster area on Oct 31. JrG saw 50 American Goldfinches on Nov 11 at Swan Harbor. In Bel Air on Oct 21 DS had 3 Purple Finches. One week later, RC had 6 at his Creswell feeders.
FYI: Thanks for all your sightings! Please send bird sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org, put in the subject area *birds* or call me at 410-459-8873. The next article will include December, January and February so please have the sightings to me by March 1st .
CONTRIBUTORS: SA * Stan Arnold, DB * Deb Bowers, MB * Mike Burchette, RC - Rick Cheicante, LE * Les Eastman, JrG * John and Rebecca Gallo, KG * Kevin Graff, MH * Matt Hafner, MoH * Monroe Harden, SH * Susan Hood, DK * Dennis Kirkwood, RK * Russ Kovach, DS * Don Soubie, CS * Chris Starling, JS * Jim Stasz, SHC * Swan Harbor Crew, DW * Dave Webb, MW * Marsha Webb
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Field Trip Schedule
by Dave Ziolkowski
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Please return to Eileen Nack, 8 Cresmont Drive, Aberdeen MD 21001 by Friday, February 24, 2006. __________ Number of adults ( at $11.00 each ) __________ Number of children 12 and under ( at $7.00 each ) Please make checks payable to Harford County MOS. _______________________________ Print your name(s) Include address and phone number if you would like transportation to the meeting. _______________________________ _______________________________ _______________________________ TEL:___________________________
DINNER RESERVATION FORM