PO Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
E-mail: font@focusonnature.com
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-888-721-3555
 or 302/529-1876


Bye Bye Booby, another Godwit gone, and much more that's been around

Armas Hill has presented the "Birdline", originally from Philadelphia, on the phone and internet for over 3 decades, and on the radio in Delaware for about 10 years.


A List & Photo Gallery of North American Birds, in 6 Parts

A List & Photo Gallery of North American Mammals  

A Chronological List of Upcoming FONT Tours     Other Birdlines/Naturelines

These photos are of some of what is mentioned in this August 24, 2012 edition of the Birdline/Natureline:

This juvenile dark-morph Reddish Egret in New Jersey
at the Brigantine (or Forsythe) National Wildlife Refuge on August 23, 2012,
the second time for the species in the state.
(photograph by Howard Eskin)

This newly-described rodent on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia,
a rodent that can not chew.
PAUDIDENTOMYS = few-toothed mouse, VERMIDAX = worm-devourer

This newly-described spider in Oregon,
the TROGLORAPTOR, or "cave robber" 

And the White-lipped Peccary,
a mammal that has been seen
during FONT tours in Brazil.
(Jerry, from Arizona, just reminded us 
that we saw this animal when we were there.)

The Birdline & Natureline for August 24, 2012:

Following our recent items of interest this time, more about:
10 newly-described species of birds, all OWLS, 
2 newly-described MAMMALS,
and not only a new species & a new genus but a new family of SPIDERS,
the last of these inadvertently found in North America.

First, some recent bird news:

Last time on the Birdline, I told of BROWN BOOBIES that were offshore in Massachusetts, and at a small lake, well inland, in the hills of New Jersey.
Following that, I immediately received word of a BROWN BOOBY that was, at that time, at a lake, also well inland, in Arkansas. It had been at Lake Norell for over a week, where, as other boobies "out of place", it acted tamely, and often perched on a dock.
That BROWN BOOBY was a first for Arkansas, and it stayed at that lake until August 21st. That day she attempted to join in with a formation of CANADA GEESE, but did not. But she did, that day, go.  
We've learned that prior to being in Arkansas, that BROWN BOOBY had apparently been seen in northern Texas.

Last time, I told of a BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, seemingly the same bird, that had been in Delaware in late July and in Virginia in mid-August. 
We've since learned that another BLACK-TAILED GODWIT was, this summer, in Texas. It was at the Brazonia National Wildlife Refuge in late July and until at least August 10. 

Also last time on the Birdline, a LITTLE EGRET was referred to in Maine, at the Scarborough Marsh. Found there on August 8, but only seen that one day.
However, since then, that LITTLE EGRET was re-found at that marsh on August 18.

Offshore in Maine, a PACIFIC LOON was found on the Atlantic on August 15. 
On the Pacific Ocean, offshore from San Diego, California, during a double-overnight pelagic trip, August 13-15, both the "new" GUADALUPE and SCRIPPS'S MURRELETS were seen, as were 7 RED-BILLED TROPICBIRDS, and a BROWN BOOBY.
Also 32 BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES, and 4 species of STORM-PETRELS: LEACH'S (160), ASHY (7), LEAST (2), and BLACK (125).
Marine mammals included:

Even further offshore from California, we received word, after the last Birdline, from someone who reads us in Australia, saying that he finds the accounts here to be "very interesting".
I mentioned, in response, that sometime I would include a report from Australia. Here it is:

A WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE was mobbed by NOISY MINERS and TORESSIAN CROWS at the Sherwood Arboretum, in Queensland on August 19.
Never previously have I referred to any of those 3 species on the Birdline - in over 30 years. 

Back in the USA:

In New Hampshire, there have been reports of 2 MISSISSIPPI KITES throughout the summer, in a town called Newmarket.
On August 17, in Newmarket, the pair of MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen feeding a juvenile.

Do we have any other information about successfully-nesting MISSISSIPPI KITES this summer in the northeast US? 

At a "hawk-watch" in southern Pennsylvania, "Waggoner's Gap" in Cumberland County, a MISSISSIPPI KITE was observed on August 12. It flew, however, north, back up the ridge, not passing the watch, and so it was not noted as a southbound migrant in the daily tally.  

Also in south-central Pennsylvania, a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was seen in a thermal in the sky over East Berlin on August 23, firstly with 2 TURKEY VULTURES, then with an adult BALD EAGLE. 

Up to 4 SWALLOW-TAILED KITES were seen from August 14 to 20 in Virginia, outside of Lexington, in Rockbridge County, north of Lynchburg.

Elsewhere in Virginia, an ANHINGA has been in Henrico County, at the Chamberlayne Marsh, north of Richmond, with sightings there on August 17 & 19.
Further east in Virginia, 3 ANHINGAS were reported in flight near Newport News on August 19.

Also not DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, there's been at least one smaller NEOTROPIC CORMORANT in Memphis, Tennessee. Seen, comparatively, with DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS.  
The length of the NEOTROPIC is 26 inches, that of the DOUBLE-CRESTED is 32 inches.  

North of its normal range, a REDDISH EGRET was found in Virginia at the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge on August 20.
Further north, a REDDISH EGRET was found in New Jersey, on August 23, at the Brigantine (or Forsythe) Wildlife Refuge. Apparently, both birds (or the bird): a young dark morph.  
In New Jersey, it is the 2nd record for the species.  


PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROATS have been lately at 2 places in southern Arizona:
one at Ash Canyon south of Sierra Vista as of August 16, and another at Montosa Canyon in the Santa Ritas as of August 15.
The Ash Canyon bird has been said to be "sporadic and unpredictable".

LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS have also been at Ash Canyon. And one has been near Portal as of August 15. 

Also in Arizona, a WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD has been at Miller Canyon, as of August 15.

In western Texas, a VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD was reported in Alpine on August 4.

Back in Arizona:

SHORT-TAILED HAWKS have been reported recently near Tucson on upper Mount Lemmon and in the Chiricahua Mountains near Barfoot Junction.

Back east:

At Hawk Mountain, in Pennsylvania, at the South Lookout, very early in the morning, on August 22, while still dark, there were 110 nocturnal flight calls of VEERIES, about 10 calls of SCARLET TANAGERS, and numerous unidentified calls that were heard.
Later, when light, at the North Lookout, there were about 60 SCARLET TANAGERS, 13 species of WARBLERS, including over 30 BLACK-THROATED GREENS, and many VIREOS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, and FLYCATCHERS moving southwest either in or just above the canopy. Many SWALLOWS and SWIFTS were overhead. Migration, there, is underway.

The evening migration of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS has been underway in the northeastern US this week.
In upstate New York, on August 22, above the town of Peru, there were many. During one half-hour, more & more were above the "main drag" of that town. Some close, some higher in the sky. During those 30 minutes, there were always NIGHTHAWKS in view, except when an immature PEREGRINE FALCON also appeared in that sky. That scattered the NIGHTHAWKS, but within 5 minutes they were back, and the big flight resumed.
That same evening, in western Pennsylvania, over the township of Moon, there were NIGHTHAWKS. There at tally was made. From a hilltop, 102 birds between 7:15 and 8pm. 
In eastern Pennsylvania, at Haverford College, west of Philadelphia, on August 23, as many as 265 NIGHTHAWKS were tallied, including one kettle of about 70 birds. 
On August 22, in New Hampshire, over a place called Contoocook, 50 NIGHTHAWKS were counted. Other places with nice numbers in that state, this past week, were: Concord, Conway, Hancock, and Webster. Sounds like a law firm.
In Massachusetts, 138 NIGHTHAWKS were counted one day this past week over Southwick. Others were over Belchertown, Longmeadow, Holyoke, and Gill.

Now, a couple items regarding BUTTERFLIES:

On August 8 in Kent County, Delaware, a GULF FRITILLARY was photographed at the Bombay Hook Refuge. To the south of Kent County DE, that species is more common, and it is said to has occurred in Kent County previously, but a documenting photograph of it there had never been taken until August 8, 2012, when it was by Howard Eskin. To see the photo, click the link below & go down the list to #83.

Butterflies of Eastern North America

On August 12, at Cape May Point, New Jersey, a single GIANT SWALLOWTAIL was seen & photographed. That species is not often found there. There were single sightings in 2008, 2009, & 2011. None in 2010. And now, one in 2012.     

Now, the things "new": 

It took 10 years to do, but the word has just come out that 10 new species of OWLS have recently been described in Philippines
Ornithologists, zoologists, and others from Birdlife International and Michigan State University used museum samples and high-quality photographs and recordings to determine their findings.
8 of the 10 "new species" were previously considered subspecies. But two were truly new: the CEBU HAWK-OWL, and the CARNIGUIN HAWK-OWL.
Only one CEBU HAWK-OWL was sighted. But overall, it was the recording of the OWLS that was the clincher. According to one of the zoologists, "When we first heard the songs of both of the owls, we were amazed because they were so distinctly different causing us to realize that they were new species".
As an aside: there are 7,000 islands in the Philippine archipelago with a diverse assortment of nature found already, and with even more, possibly, yet to be.

In Indonesia, word has just come of a newly-discovered RODENT, that has only two teeth. On the island of Sulawesi, it is PAUCIDENTOMYS VERMIDAX.
Unlike the other 2,000 known species of rodents in the world, this one lacks cheek teeth, which makes it impossible for it to chew on its food. So, if it doesn't gnaw on nuts and seeds, what does it eat?
Stomach contents from a single specimen indicate that it only consumes EARTHWORMS.
it was found to be in forest on only two mountains, and researchers determined that the new species was unique enough to warrant its own genus: PAUCIDENTOMYS which means "few-toothed mouse". The name of the species, VERMIDAX, translates to "worm-devourer".

Last month, word came that another new Indonesian species of RODENT was described, the CHRISTINE'S MARGARETA RAT. Found in the Mekongga Mountains, MARGARETAMYS CHRISTINE is only the fourth in that genus, all of which occur on the island of Sulawesi.

That island, Sulawesi, is truly a place with odd creatures. Also:
the BABIRUSA, a pig-like mammal with tusks that puncture their snouts,
the MALEO, a ground bird that lays its eggs in geothermal heated sand,
and the ANOA, the world's smallest wild cattle.

Now, to the United States, where the first new family of SPIDERS in North America since 1870 has been found by amateur cave explorers, or spelunkers, in southern Oregon.
It is named for its raptor-like claws, the never-before-seen creature is being called TROGLORAPTOR, or "cave robber".
The discovery was not just of a new species and genus, but a new family, the first such new family found in 140 years.
The spider, by the way, is 4 centimeters wide, about the size of a US half-dollar coin.
Its complete name is TROGORAPTOR MARCHINGTONI, named after the Deschutes County sheriff's deputy who led the explorers to the cave.

While new creatures are being discovered, we also learned, conversely, this past week that in another part of the world, Brazil, wildlife is vanishing at a "staggering rate".
A recent news report, on August 14, 2012, has stated, from an academic study, that animals living in patches of Brazilian rainforest cut off from bigger expanses of jungle, by roads and farms, have been dying off at a faster pace than previously thought.    
It has been found that in forest patches, ranging up to 12,000 acres, that on average only 4 of 18 expected mammal species have been found. Bad news. WHITE-LIPPED PECCARIES have been completely wiped out from the forest patches, and JAGUARS, TAPIRS, various MONKEYS, and GIANT ANTEATERS has virtually disappeared from such places.    

Not that a month, or a couple months, is relevant as to the above, but within the next few months there are FONT tours to Brazil, where we do expect to see good wildlife, including many birds, and hopefully JAGUARS and other animals. And to go to an active HARPY EAGLE NEST. There's info, about the tours, and the Brazilian wildlife in the Focus On Nature Tours website:


And there's now a sale in effect for flights to/from Brazil. Contact us for the info.

The Birdline (and the Natureline) are affiliates of Focus On Nature Tours.

Armas Hill has presented the Birdline, originally from Philadelphia, on the phone and the internet for over 3 decades, and on the radio in Delaware for 10 years.

To Top of Page