WRENDERINGS The Newsletter of the Harford Bird Club

Volume 19 Number 5

September - October 2006



CONTENTS

Some Things Old and Some Things New
35th Annual Christmas Bird Count
Calendar of Events
Membership Dues
Education Report
Chapter Chatter
Wild Bird Marketplace
Eden Mill Bird Banding
They're Back....again!!
Harford Birdlife
Field Trip Reports
Field Trip Schedule
November Dinner Meeting


Some Things Old and Some Things New

I suppose I cannot speak for the club as a whole, but the Christmas birding season has always been my favorite time of the year with respect to our chosen hobby. To put it lightly, the Christmas Bird Count is what my birding year revolves around, and with it just around the corner... I am itching to get started! This year offers a fantastic new program that recognizes land-owners that have so often granted us access to their property for the purpose of birding on counts and birding trips. If you there have been land-owners that have regularly allowed your access onto their property for bird-club events, please contact Dave Webb to see about arranging an invitation to one of our dinner meetings or picnics. At the end-of-summer picnic we had not only some local land-owners as guests; also invited and on-hand was MOS Audubon Camp scholarship winner Amanda Koss, one of two Harford County teachers that applied for and won the scholarship to Audubon camp in Maine. The other winner, who was unable to attend the picnic, was Edgewood biology teacher Dan Naegeli. I am not sure about this, but my guess is that more Harford County participants have earned the MOS Audubon scholarship that any other county, yet another testament to the strength of our club and its relationship to the school system!

Speaking of our meetings... the 2006-2007 season speaker list is complete, and we certainly do have quite a line-up if I do say so myself! Starting off in November is our very own Tom Gibson, who will share highlights of his recent birding trip to Texas with the Kirkwoods and other Harford County birders. Hank Kaestner will return in January updating us on the "Travels of a Spice Trader", and VENT tour leader Jeff Gordon (no, not the race-car driver) will be in town for the March meeting sharing stories from years of travels all over the Americas. Spring will bring us a new meeting venue in addition to local ornithologist Kim Derrickson who will share with us aspects of his research on the biology of the Wood Thrush. The season will end at the summer social on July 21st with a talk about birding in the Adirondack Mountains by long-time Adirondacker Bill Barber, an aficionado of birding in the boreal bonanza that is the Adirondack Mountains!

Speaking of spring... this coming May's meeting will be held for the first time in years at the Harford Glen Outdoor Environmental Education Center. Harford Glen features a large pavilion with fireplace in addition to indoor facilities in the event of poor weather. With a little luck such a fantastic location for a bird-club meeting may provide us with a few migrant warblers in addition to hearing about the biology of the Wood Thrush.

In the meantime... be sure to stay on the look-out for rare and unusual (albeit rather late) migrants and strays. The week of this writing a Sabine's Gull was spotted and photographed at Conowingo Dam compliments of Les Eastman and Greg Futral. One never knows what birdlife may be in Harford County; it only takes birders out there doing what they love to find them! (Oh... and if any of them happen to be in my CBC area... please tie them down until December!) Finally... this is election season; please be sure to ask candidates about their positions on preservation of important bird areas and wildlife-sensitive lands in Harford County. And most important of all, be sure to get out and vote as well! I look forward to seeing you all at the November meeting and at the Christmas Bird County tally rally!

Best birding wishes...

Russ Kovach

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35th Annual Christmas Bird Count

We need you! The 35th Annual Rock Run Christmas Bird Count will be held on Friday December 29, 2006. Last year's count was a great success because we had the count circle well covered. Let's try to do even better this year. The CBC is an excellent opportunity to have fun while contributing to one of the largest scientific databases concerning bird populations. You don't need to be an expert birder to participate. The count is simple. The count circle is 15 miles in diameter with the center point at Rock Run Mill. The circle is divided into sectors in which a group and its leader have 24 hours to count as many species and individual birds as they can find. The fee for participating is $5 (students under 18 free). All moneys are forwarded to National Audubon Society in order to compile and publish the results.

Let's try to cover the entire count circle with lots of observers. Everyone is invited to participate. If you usually lead a group or you would like to participate please contact me as soon as possible at 410-879-7424 or email.

Jean Wheeler

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Calendar of Events

October 26 HBC Executive Board Meeting
November 1 Deadline: Harford Birdlife: Becky Gallo
November 3 Dinner Meeting: Tom Gibson
November 25 Deadline: Wrenderings: Rick Cheicante
December 29 35th Annual Christmas Bird Count
January 12 Winter Meeting: Hank Kaestner

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Membership Dues

Annual membership dues are now overdue for the Harford Bird Club year from September 1, 2006 through August 31, 2007. You should have received a pre-addressed envelope with fee structures in the July/August Wrenderings. If you did not receive this envelope, please contact Marjie Heagy at (410)557-9485 for more information on renewal. Please fill out the envelope, enclose your check made payable to HARFORD MOS and mail it to our treasurer, Marjie Heagy. We would like to have all dues paid by December 31, 2006.

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Education Report

In January a letter was sent out to all Harford County elementary schools and the Public Library. During the months of March and April I presented eight programs to forth and fifth graders at Prospect Mills, Hall Cross and Fountain Green elementary schools. This evolved a total of 370 students. Mr. Eakes' class, at Fountain Green wrote thank you notes which were really cute.

On August 24th I presented a program to adults at Brightview Assisted Living.

If any one would like to join the Education committee please give me call. I can always use new ideas and assistance.

Madeline Lovera

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Chapter Chatter

Congratulations and best of luck to Jean Wheeler. Jean has accepted the position of Chapter Chatter columnist for the Maryland Yellowthroat starting in January of 2007.

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Wild Bird Marketplace

John and Linda Ireland, gracious supporters of our dinner meeting raffles, offer discounts to HBC members. Located in the Forest Hill Industrial Airpark, there hours are:

Sun: 12 - 4 p.m. Wed: 6 - 8 p.m.
Mon: Closed Thurs: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Tues: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Fri: 6 - 8 p.m.
   Sat: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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Eden Mill Bird Banding

There are a few dates left for the fall season of bird banding. Members are encouraged to come by and visit Mark Johnson and the folks for an up-close look at the birds.

Friday, October 27
Thursday, November 2

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They're Back....again!!

New evidence is being reported for the (re-)discovery of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers along the Choctawhatchee River in Florida. Check out www.ibwo.org for links to these new efforts.

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Image of a Wren over outline of Harford County
Harford Birdlife
by Becky Gallo

July - August 2006: Must have been a busy hot summer! There weren't any out of the ordinary birds sighted.

Goose, Duck, Gamebird, Cormorant
Canada Geese were spotted at Susquehanna State Park (Aug 26, MoH), Conowingo Dam (Aug 26, MoH) and Aberdeen Proving Ground (Aug 8, MoH). JG saw Canada Geese at Swan Harbor - a flock with at least 30 goslings found the new pier area. The only duck reported this report was American Black Ducks at Swan Harbor (MoH Jul 28 & Aug 5, BG Aug). RC heard a Northern Bobwhite calling in the Perryman area on Aug 27th. Double-crested Cormorants were seen at Conowingo Dam (Jul 9, Aug 26) and Swan Harbor (Aug 2), MoH.

Herons
On July 8th RC saw an American Bittern at Swan Harbor. Great Blue Herons were spotted in their typical areas - Susquehanna State Park, Conowingo Dam and Swan Harbor (MoH, JG, BG). Great Egrets made a home at Swan Harbor for several weeks (JG, RG). DL & PL saw 1 Great Egret at Lakeside on Aug 27th. Great Egrets were also spotted at Harford Glen (SBH Jul 23, DL & PL Aug 27). A Snowy Egret was at Swan Harbor on Jul 28th (MoH). On Aug 27th at Lakeside DL & PL saw a Little Blue Heron. Green Herons were spotted at Harford Glen (SBH Jul 23), Lakeside (DL Aug 13), and Swan Harbor (MoH Jul 28).

Hawks, Falcons
Ospreys were hunting at Anita Leight Estuary Center (MoH Jul 21) and Lakeside (DL Aug 13 & Jul 30). They were also at Susquehanna State Park and Conowingo Dam (MoH). Bald Eagles were spotted at Swan Harbor (JG & RG) and Conowingo Dam (MoH). A Cooper's Hawk was seen on Jul 25th flying over Havre de Grace (MoH). As many as 7 American Kestrels were seen at Swan Harbor towards the end of Aug (JG & RG).

Plovers, Sandpipers
DL & PL saw 2 Killdeer, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, 6 Least Sandpipers and 1 White-rumped Sandpiper at Harford Glen on Aug 27th. They saw 1 Spotted Sandpiper on the same day at Lakeside. RC spotted a Solitary Sandpiper at Swan Harbor on Jul 8th. MoH saw a Lesser Yellowlegs in Havre de Grace on Jul 7th.

Gulls, Tern, Cuckoo, Owls
RC saw as many as 20 Ring-billed Gulls and several Caspian Terns on the airstrip of Edgewood Arsenal towards the end of July. MoH saw 1 Herring Gull at Conowingo Dam on Jul 9th. DL & PL saw 1 Caspian Tern at Lakeside on Aug 27th. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was seen at Swan Harbor sitting in the flower garden on Aug 26th. LP heard an Eastern Screech-Owl calling off and on at the south end of Stoney Forest in July. JG & RG heard a Great Horned Owl calling at the front gate of Swan Harbor towards the end of Aug. SBH heard 2 Barred Owls calling to each other at Harford Glen on Jul 23rd.

Swift, Hummingbird, Woodpeckers
JG saw a Chimney Swift in Aberdeen in July. MoH saw 3 Chimney Swifts and 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in Havre de Grace on Jul 24. RG saw as many as 2 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at her Licorice bushes in August. LE had 10 to 15 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds daily at his feeders. DL saw a Belted Kingfisher at Lakeside on Aug 13th. SBH were birding at Harford Glen on Jul 23rd and spotted a Belted Kingfisher. DK had 2 adult and 1 young Red-headed Woodpecker on his property this summer. MoH spotted a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Downy Woodpecker at Anita Leight Estuary Center on Jul 21st. For most of August LE had Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers and Hairy Woodpeckers at his suet feeder. He also saw a Northern Flicker on Aug 25th and a Pileated Woodpecker in late August.

Flycatchers, Lark, Swallows
SBH saw 2 Acadian Flycatcher at Harford Glen on Jul 23rd. MoH spotted Eastern Phoebes at Susquehanna State Park, Aberdeen Proving Ground and Swan Harbor in August. DL saw 5 Eastern Kingbirds at Lakeside on Jul 30th. On Jul 8th RC saw 1 Horned Lark at Swan Harbor. MoH saw at least 200 Tree Swallows at Conowingo Dam on Jul 9th. Tree and Barn Swallows were spotted almost daily at Swan Harbor in July and August (JG & RG). Ten Bank Swallows were at Swan Harbor on Aug 5th (MoH).

Kinglet, Gnatcatcher, Waxing
One Ruby-crowned Kinglet was spotted by LE in Havre de Grace on Aug 25th. On Jul 23rd SBH saw 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Harford Glen. MoH saw Eastern Bluebirds at Swan Harbor on Jul 28th and Aug 5th. MoH saw 1 Cedar Waxwing in Havre de Grace on Aug 20th and 1 at Susquehanna State Park (Aug 26th).

Warblers, Sparrow, Grosbeak
LP saw 2 Black-and-white Warblers and 1 Canada Warbler at the south end of Stoney Forest on Aug 11th. MoH saw 2 Prothonotary Warblers in the Rock Run Mill area of Susquehanna State Park on Jul 9th. Song Sparrows were spotted at Swan Harbor on Jul 28 and Aug 5th (MoH). RC saw a pair of Blue Grosbeaks at Edgewood Arsenal on Aug 9th. MoH saw 1 Indigo Bunting at Swan Harbor on Jul 28th.

Blackbird, Finches
Three Eastern Meadowlarks were heard singing at the Edgewood Arsenal Airstrip during the month of July (RC). LE saw American Goldfinches in Havre de Grace during the month of August. MoH saw American Goldfinches on Aberdeen Proving Ground and at Swan Harbor in August.

Contributors
RC - Rick Cheicante, LE - Les Eastman, BG - Becky Gallo, JG - John Gallo, DL - Dave Larkin, PL - Peter Lev, MoH - Monroe Harden, SBH - Susan & Bob Hood, LP - Leanne Pemburn

I want to thank everyone who contributed. The next article will have sightings from September 1 thru October 31, 2006. You can call me with sightings - 410-459-8873 or email me. Please send the reports to me as you see them. Thanks and Happy Birding!

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Harford Bird Club
Field Trip Reports

Harford Owling Caravan
July 8: It was a dark and stormy night-though the first stop near Palmer State Park started well enough. In the dimming light an Eastern Screech Owl flew to within 10 ft of our imitating playback - and that's when the stormyness began. Quickly a juvenile swept in to harass the adult, "quischk, quischk"! - "what are you doing - feed me, feed me" (not all fifteen or so of us have kids, but we surely got the drift). Off to nearby stop two and the beautiful still, clear conditions continued-but so did the stormyness. Judging by the nearing "schoowiiick, schoowiiick" calls, a Barred Owl fledgling was hungry and on the move. Was it attracted to our playback - or, maybe, something else? Suddenly an adult swooped in on silent wings, just inches from our heads. It alighted in a nearby tree and we exclaimed, "Wow, two for two now with both atlas confirmations"! We found the last expected species, Great Horned Owl, at the last stop. Again a confirmation as a couple of juveniles begged in the countryside. Thanks to all who attended, and whose keen eyes and ears added yet another data point to the current atlas effort. - Dave Ziolkowski and Russ Kovach

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Field Trip Schedule
by Colleen Webster

Sunday, October 15
Susquehanna State Park.. A perennial favorite of the club, this trip sends off the last of the fall migrants and welcomes the arrival of some "cold weather" residents. Join Les Eastman to see thousands of Tree Swallows amassed over the river on their southbound journey and search the forest for Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrushes, Blue-headed Vireo, Cape May Warbler, Creepers and Kinglets. Meet at 8:00 AM at the Rock Run Mill. Contact Les for more information.

Saturday, October 21
Bombay Hook.. Day long adventure to the hook and some of the adjacent birding mega- hotspots. The muddy impoundments, fresh & saltwater marshes, and wave washed beaches afford great numbers and good views of shore and water birds. American Bittern, Black-bellied & Golden Plovers, and Baird's & White-rumped Sandpipers are local specialties but that's not all as european waifs, western strays, and windblown pelagics commonly occur. Bring lunch and meet at 7 AM at the MD 155 and I-95 park- n-ride. Contact leader Russ Kovach for details.

Friday, October 27
Eden Mill.. Grab a glimpse, and a handful, of southbound warblers, vireos, and thrushes as these migrants catch a meal and some rest in this scenic park along upper Deer Creek. Biologist Mark Johnson demonstrates the art and science of handling birds while popular leader Les Eastman follows up with a guided tour and instructions on how to identify confusing fall birds with binoculars. Meet at the Joe Vangrin Memorial Pavilion, about 1/2 mile up the road from the Eden Mill House at 8 AM. Contact Les for details.

Wednesday, November 1
Mariner Point Park.. Enjoy the ease and accessibility of paved paths while birding with leader Tom Congersky along this waterway and wooded park, a favored club destination. Nestled between the Gunpowder marsh and the slow waters of Foster Branch, the varied habitats and paved trails of this park make for good birding and a comfortable walk. Meet near the pavilion at the back parking lot at 8 AM. Contact Tom for details.

Saturday, November 4
Owl Prowl.. Tame nightlife got you down? Get with an experienced pro as leader Dave Webb leads you through the Harford countryside to make “rarely heard – seldom seen” a thing of your owling past. Great-horned, Barred, and Screech Owls expected with Saw- whet and Long-eared long-shots (but you don't want to be the one that has to hear about it second hand if he does find one, right?). Dress warm and meet at Eden Mill's lower lot at 6 PM. Contact Dave Webb for more details.

Saturday, November 11
Hidden Valley / Upper Deer Creek.. Administered by Rocks State Park, however, the lightly used trails of this section recall an Appalachian park as they wind around large hemlocks and substantial cliffs. Join local resident and natural historian Dennis Kirkwood in a search for Kinglets, Creepers, and other denizens of the northern forests. Meet at Hidden Valley (North end of Madonna Road) at 7 a.m. For further information contact Dennis.

Saturday, November 18
Conowingo Eagle Watch.. Conowingo is one of the best locations for mid-Atlantic eagle watching as dozens of eagles flock to this hydroelectric fish cuisinart. Join expert leaders Tom Gibson and Les Eastman who will help you additionally search out Peregrine Falcons, northern gulls and, if you're really lucky, Golden Eagle. Scopes are helpful. Meet at 8:00 AM at Fisherman's Park at the bottom (east end) of Shures Landing Road. Contact Les for more information.

Sunday, December 3
Swan Harbor Farms.. This county owned park on the Oakington Peninsula contains a mix of flooded & dry agricultural fields, deciduous woodlands, and brushy meadows. Great spot to search for waterfowl, Savannah Sparrow, and Bald Eagle. Highlights could aslo include Merlin, Black-bellied & Golden Plovers, Wilson's Snipe or other late shorebirds. Meet leader John Gallo at the park headquarters at the end of the entrance road at 8:00 AM. Contact John for more details.

Saturday, December 9
Maryland and Delaware Shore.. This full day adventure visits some of Delmarva's birding mega- hotspots in search of early winter waifs and northern strays. Target birds include Northern Gannet, Eiders, Harlequin Duck, Purple Sandpiper, Snowy Owl, Great Cormorant, and Brown-headed Nuthatch. Bring lunch and warm, comfortable clothing. Meet at the MD 155 and I-95 park-n-ride at 6:30 AM. Contact leader Russ Kovach for more information.

Sunday, December 17
Harford Waterfowl Tour.. Marvel at thousands of Lesser Scaup and search for species that are tough to find locally, such as Surf Scoter, Redhead, Long-tailed Duck, and Northern Shoveler. Beginners interested in learning the basics of waterfowl identification and experienced watchers searching for rarities will enjoy this morning trip to the Upper Bay and Perryman. Scopes are helpful, although not necessary. Meet leader Dave Webb at 7:30 AM in the Wal Mart parking lot, northeast corner (farthest from store and closest to Rt.7). Contact Dave for more information.

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November Dinner Meeting

Friday, November 3, 2006
Churchville Presbyterian Church
Dinner at 6:15 P.M. with meeting to follow

Guest Speaker:
Tom Gibson
Harford Bird Club

"Texas Birding 2006"

Dinner Reservation Form

Please return to Eileen Nack, 8 Cresmont Drive, Aberdeen MD 21001 by Thursday, October 26, 2006. __________ Number of adults ( at $12.00 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:___________________________

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Please send any comments to Les Eastman.
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