Following our recent items of interest this time, more
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
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
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
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
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:
over 15 BLUE WHALES, over 6 FIN WHALES, 2 or 3 HUMPBACK
WHALES. a NORTHERN MINKE WHALE, 6 to 10 BAIRD'S BEAKED WHALES, 2 pods
of RISSO'S DOLPHINS, in addition to COMMON and BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHINS,
ELEPHANT SEAL, and 3 or 4 GUADALUPE FUR SEALS.
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
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
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
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.
Some HUMMINGBIRD news:
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
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
Back in Arizona:
SHORT-TAILED HAWKS have been reported recently near Tucson on upper
Mount Lemmon and in the Chiricahua Mountains near Barfoot Junction.
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
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.
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
8 of the 10 "new species" were previously considered
subspecies. But two were truly new: the CEBU HAWK-OWL, and the
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
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
Stomach contents from a single specimen indicate that it only
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
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.
the BABIRUSA, a pig-like mammal with tusks that puncture their
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
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
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
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: