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With a Booby on its way, a Yellowthroat the wrong way, and more

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

The Brown Booby that left Cape May 
as November was about to begin 
(photo by Howard Eskin)

The Birdline for November 4, 2011:

November came this week, and the long-staying BROWN BOOBY near Cape May, New Jersey, left.
It did so the morning of the last day of October, flying, with determination, out the inlet toward the Atlantic Ocean and then hopefully south to the Caribbean. The bird had been there, at the Jarvis Sound, near Cape May, since August 20.

November came this week, and so have the first CAVE SWALLOWS into the northeast US.
On November 1, at the Allegheny Front Hawkwatch, along the Somerset/Bedford County border in southern Pennsylvania, a single CAVE SWALLOW was seen, as were the 61 GOLDEN EAGLES that passed by that hawkwatch that day.
CAVE SWALLOWS have also been seen lately in New Jersey, at Cape May, and in North Carolina.

Last time here, we mentioned 9 GOLDEN EAGLES in 2 hours at the Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch in Oneonta, New York. 31 GOLDEN EAGLES passed by there on October 30.

That same day, also in upstate New York, a YELLOW-BILLED LOON was seen in flight over Lake Ontario, at Walcott.

The YELLOWTHROAT referred to in the title was a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT that was, last week, in Iceland. More about that and other North American birds there, later, but first a note here, followed by some other bird news:

This week a FONT e-mail was sent out relating to a series of illustrations of 50 Bird Beaks  mostly unusual, as a quiz. So far, 36 people have participated in the quiz. If you did not receive that e-mail, and would like to take a peek at the beaks, click this link: http://www.focusonnature.com/BeaksPhotoFeature.htm              

A HARRIS'S SPARROW has been present this week at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The species comes to the US, but mostly in the Central US, in the winter.
Don't ever look for a HARRIS'S SPARROW NEST in the summer in the United States. The species is one of the very few North American birds that doesn't breed anywhere in the US. Only Canada.

A bird from the western US was in Cape May NJ this week: a WHITE-WINGED DOVE on November 2.

Another westerner was in Maryland this week, a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW on November 1, east of Annapolis. As was another, a CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD in eastern Maryland.

In Massachusetts, an ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, from the West, was seen last weekend at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
Also in Massachusetts, a SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER has continued on Nantucket Island, and a TUFTED DUCK has continued in Attleboro.

SELASPHORUS (probably RUFOUS) HUMMINGBIRDS, from the West, have been this week in western Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County, and in Maryland, in Cecil County, with the latter from November 1 to the am of November 3, not since.

Mostly-western birds that have been seen at various places in the East, this week, have been ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS.
Both species were reported in the city of Philadelphia on October 31, in a weedy area by the Delaware River.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Woods Edge Park in Lancaster on November 1.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was found at Cape May Point, New Jersey, today, November 4.
At Cape May, in the afternoon on Sunday, October 30, a total of 21 AMERICAN BITTERNS were counted as they rose up out of "the Meadow", where that day a BLACK RAIL was flushed. Later, one was seen, and still later, at the end of the day, one was heard.

Last time, we noted that at a field in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, there were, on October 27, over 125 AMERICAN PIPITS. That same field was visited on November 1, and that day only 2 PIPITS were found, but there were up to 50 HORNED LARKS, and 2 SNOW BUNTINGS. Winter is coming!  A SNOWY OWL has appeared in southern Maine.

Most of us know about the remarkable expansion, during the last century, of the CATTLE EGRET. It was unknown in North America prior to 1952.
The species is said to have come on its own from western Africa to northeastern South America, back in the 1870s and 1880s. Not only has it come north, it has also gone south. The first records in Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America, were in the fall of 1975. It has also wandered, on its own, to the Falkland Islands and even South Georgia Island.
The southernmost record is from the Antarctic Peninsula at 65 degrees south.
The CATTLE EGRET is in a rather exclusive club, having occurred on all the world's continents.

In Europe, the CATTLE EGRET occurs commonly only in Spain. But it has also gone as far north, now, on its own, as Iceland!

This week, on November 1, the fifth CATTLE EGRET ever to occur in Iceland, met its demise there in the southeastern part of the country. It was eaten by a GYRFALCON.
However, that same day, the sixth CATTLE EGRET ever to occur in Iceland appeared, also in the southeast.  

Iceland is one of the best places in the world for vagrant birds, especially in the spring and fall. In all, about 380 species of birds have occurred there. The vagrants come both from the east, from mainland Europe, and from the west, from North America.

The assortment of birds from North America that have been noted in Iceland, during the past 3 months (August, September, October) included the COMMON YELLOWTHROAT that was mentioned at the beginning of this text. That little bird from America was found on October 26 in southwest Iceland and was seen through October 29. It was the 3rd record for the species in Iceland.

Other American species in Iceland, in recent weeks, going back to August, have been:
2 drake AMERICAN WIGEONS on September 24, 25, October 7, 14, 18, 21 & 22, 1 on September 2, 9, 11, 16, 21, 23, October 1
2 RING-BILLED GULLS on September 27, 28, October 4, 7, 10 & 22, one on October 1, 2, 13
a drake WHITE-WINGED SCOTER on October 16
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS on August 23, September 9, 16, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, October 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11
a single PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER on September 30, October 1, 2 (a first record for Iceland) 
AMERICAN PIPITS on September 26, October 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 
SNOW GOOSE on September 15, 16, 22, 24, 25, 26, October 1, 2, 3
a blue-morph SNOW GOOSE on October 7
RED-EYED VIREOS, 2 on September 21 & 23, 1 on September 20, October 3  
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS on September 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 27, 28, 29, October 1, 2, 3 (in all, there were 3 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, the 8th, 9th, and 10th records for Iceland)  
PECTORAL SANDPIPERS on September 3, 25, 29, 30, October 1, 2, 3
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS, 3 on September 24, 2 on October 1, 1 on September 1, October 3
BLUE-WINGED TEALS on September 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, October 1, 2, 3      
a NORTHERN PARULA on September 19 & 20 (the 8th record for Iceland, and the first found there since 1989)
a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER on August 29, 30, 31, September 6, 7, 17 (the 7th record for Iceland
LESSER YELLOWLEGS on September 4, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13
a RING-NECKED DUCK on September 11 
a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER on September 6, 7
a WILSON'S PHALAROPE on September 5 (the 5th record for Iceland)
a SOLITARY SANDPIPER on September 4 (the 5th record for Iceland)
a PIED-BILLED GREBE on August 2 (the 3rd record for Iceland

As noted, a large number of vagrant birds also go to Iceland from mainland Europe. Among those that did this fall, these:  
With just a few of the more-notables mentioned here.
A DUSKY WARBLER found on October 28 was a first record for Iceland. (The species is from Asia.)
A BLYTH'S REED WARBLER found on September 18 was the 7th record for Iceland. (The species is from Russia).
A juvenile PALLID HARRIER that was in Iceland September 14-17 was the first record for Iceland.
A juvenile MONTAGU'S HARRIER that was in Iceland August 24 was the 4th record for Iceland.
An ALPINE SWIFT found on August 3 was the 4th record for Iceland.
Both a EURASIAN HOBBY and a WHITE-WINGED TERN were seen in Iceland on August 8.
And EURASIAN COLLARED DOVES have made their way to Iceland, on their own, from mainland Europe, with a few occurrences this fall.
But maybe the most unexpected avian visitor to Iceland this fall was a juvenile LITTLE BITTERN that was found on October 16. It was the first live record for Iceland. The only previous record was a bird found washed ashore in May 1823!

To see a list of all the 380 or so birds that have occurred in Iceland, click:  http://www.focusonnature.com/IcelandBirdListIceland.htm   
The list in that link, in the FONT website, is probably the most complete and informative listing of Icelandic birds, outside of Iceland.
FONT schedules tours to Iceland twice a year, in June & in September/October.   

The two HARRIERS just-noted as being in Iceland notwithstanding, we often hear that RAPTORS are reluctant to cross extensive bodies of water. Following, now, is an updated report about OSPREY having done so during their non-breeding time in the Caribbean and in South America.     

In a Birdline, just over a month ago, we told of OSPREYS being tracked by transmitting devices during their migration south to the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The project is being done by Rob Bierregaard, Jr. of the Biology Department of the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.

Anyway, since our last report, the news about those OSPREY has not been good. And especially during the last couple weeks when, very unfortunately, 4 of the 8 migrating birds were lost.
Two of the OSPREY, a juvenile from New Hampshire and an adult male from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, went down over the Caribbean.
A juvenile from Martha's Vineyard safely crossed the Caribbean, to the shore of the Gulf of Venezuela, where another OSPREY in the tracking program has spent a lot of time. But then, that Martha's Vineyard juvenile started moving inland and "stopped" in the middle of nowhere. She might have lost the transmitter. But maybe not.
In the United States, an adult male from southeast Massachusetts "stopped" moving in Florida just east of Orlando. He was flying south at 4pm on October 23 when he "apparently fell out of the sky". He had been cruising at about 25 miles per hour. About an hour later, the next location was in a cattle pasture about 3 miles from the 4pm location. Beyond that, the story is yet unknown. 

The other OSPREY that are still being tracked include:
one seemingly safely nestled in the mountains of Colombia,
another, maybe "enjoying Caribbean life", on the cape, Cabo Beata, in the Dominican Republic, after two aborted attempts to travel further over the sea,
and another that also settled down in the Dominican Republic.
These are in addition to two that have already been in Amazonian Brazil, where they seem to be doing fine.   

And let's end now, on that, a good note.

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

The Birdline (and the Natureline) are affiliates of Focus On Nature Tours:  www.focusonnature.com

To go to the archives with previous Birdlines & Naturelines: http://www.focusonnature.com/Birdline.htm  

For information about upcoming birding & nature tours in the Caribbean, where as you read, OSPREY already are, and the BROWN BOOBY from New Jersey may soon be, please click:  http://www.focusonnature.com/CaribbeanDestinationPage.htm    

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