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


With Wandering Birds (1 so-named) in North & South America, & Australia  

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


An American Pipit
In the text below, over 125 are noted as being at one place
(photo courtesy of Howard Eskin)

The Birdline for October 31, 2011:

A couple Birdlines ago, a GREEN VIOLETEAR was referred to as being in Maryland in mid-October in Cecil County.
Actually, there have 3 sightings of single GREEN VIOLETEARS reported in Maryland since August.
The first one, briefly, was at West River in Anne Arundel County, south of Baltimore, east of Washington DC.
The most-recent, after the Cecil County bird, was further south in the state, in Howard County, at Clarksville, between Baltimore and Washington DC, first seen on October 24, and last seen early in the am on October 26.

SELASPHORUS HUMMINGBIRDS have been occurring in the eastern US, as they do this time of year.
Among others in the region, a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD has been in the Cape May, New Jersey area at the feeders at the NJ Audubon center in Goshen. It was first found on October 22, and has continued through at least October 28.
It's the 5th SELASPHORUS HUMMINGBIRD in Cape May County this fall, with most (3) identified as RUFOUS.

In upstate Pennsylvania, there have been 2 SELASPHORUS HUMMINGBIRDS this fall in Lycoming County, where one was found on October 25.

Last time, here, an ANHINGA was noted as reported overhead in Chester County, Pennsylvania, on October 24.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, considerably further north, a female ANHINGA flew by the Stone Mountain Hawkwatch, in Huntingdon County, on Ocober 25, at about 11:45am.

Last time, here, a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE was noted as being in Massachusetts on the offshore island of Nantucket.
Since then, a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE was seen on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at Chatham. Found on October 25, and present until at least October 28.

Also, a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE was seen in New Jersey, near the Delaware River, across from Philadelphia, in Cinnaminson, on October 26 only, in the am.
That Western species has occurred in New Jersey about 10 times. 4 times, we understand, in the northernmost county in New Jersey, Sussex County, with three of those in November and once in September.
Some TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRES in New Jersey have only stayed briefly. Others have lingered, including 1 at Sandy Hook in the winter of 2007-2008, and one in Cumberland County in southern New Jersey, that was found back on December 27, 1998 and overwintered, staying there until April 18, 1999.

Another "westerner" seen in the East lately was an "AUDUBON'S" YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, on October 26 at Lake Minsi.

Also from the West, a TOWNSEND'S WARBLER was seen at the Kiptopeake Hawk Watch, in Virginia, at the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, on October 22.   

From further north, a PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was seen at Turner's Falls, Massachusetts, on October 26.

From the north, GOLDEN EAGLES have been migrating south.
At the Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch, in Oneonta, New York, on October 28, between 1 and 3pm, there were 9 GOLDEN EAGLES. Also 17 BALD EAGLES, migrated by, during those 2 hours.
In Pennsylvania, during the month of October, 61 GOLDEN EAGLES were counted migrating south at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
Further south along the Kittatinny Ridge, 68 GOLDEN EAGLES were counted during October at the hawk watch at Waggoner's Gap.

Two interesting observations of other birds migrating recently in Pennsylvania were:
In Lehigh County, on October 27, over 125 AMERICAN PIPITS at one time in North Whitehall Township, and in Monroe County, more than 100 BRANT at the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, that same day, October 27.
At the opposite (western) end of Pennsylvania, that day, about 90 BRANT were counted, migrating, at Presque Isle, in Erie.

Both EARED GREBE and RED-NECKED GREBE were seen at Presque Isle, Erie, on October 30, as was a LITTLE GULL. 

CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS have been appearing many places throughout the eastern US. On Long Island, New York, alone, last week, they were observed at at least 5 locations: Jones Beach, For Tilden, the Floyd Bennett Field, Plumb Beach, and Montauk.

In Manhattan, New York City, birds in city parks lately have included:
a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at Bryant Park, and an immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in Central Park, north of the Hallet Sanctuary.

Some birds from the North have been coming South:

Among them, NORTHERN SHRIKES, in Maine at Augusta on October 27, and at 2 places recently in Maryland, one in Queen Anne County, and more recently, found on October 30, in Howard County.
In western Pennsylvania, a NORTHERN SHRIKE has been in Crawford County, as has been an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, as of at least October 26.

In Maine, a BOHEMIAN WAXWING was among CEDAR WAXWINGS in the Acadia National Park on October 29.
In far-northern New York, there have been numbers of PINE SISKINS, and some PURPLE FINCHES and WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS.
In Maryland, along the seacoast, on October 30, a RED CROSSBILL.   

The Birdline goes out each week to many people, many places. From Australia, Trevor enjoyed reading about the NORTHERN WHEATEAR that was, earlier this month, in Pennsylvania.
Furthering my comments about the derivation of that bird's name, he tells us also another interesting aspect of the WHEATEAR'S scientific name, OENANTHE OENANTHE:

OENANTHE is also the name of a plant genus, that of WATER DROPWORTS, and is derived from the Greek OENOS meaning "wine", and ANTHOS meaning "flower".
Regarding the plant genus, it refers to the wine-like scent of the floers.
Regarding the WHEATEAR, it refers to the NORTHERN WHEATEAR'S return to Greece in the spring, just as the grapevines are in blossom.
A nice thought as we just had our first (early) snow here in the northeast US.

Among birds, by the way, in Trevor's part of the world, this past month, in Queensland, Australia, these: 11 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS between October 11 & 18, one WANDERING TATTLER during that time, 1 RUDDY TURNSTONE October 10, and 12 RED KNOTS on October 1.
All of these, of course, are migrants from probably way-north, from Siberia, although the mostly-American WANDERING TATTLER is very rare in Siberia. Of course, it is called "WANDERING" for a reason.

If you missed the summary of last season's Winter Bird Counts that was here last time on the Birdline, it is, among other Birdlines, in the Archives in the FONT websitehttp://www.focusonnature.com/Birdline.htm

Birds were mentioned in diverse places ranging from Texas to Alaska to the French islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

Also, from the above website page, a link, among others, to the birds in the Pumicestone Region of Queensland, Australia.

Now, some interesting notes of birds in the country with the most species of birds in the world, Colombia.
FONT has not done tours in Colombia, nor do we in the future have plans of doing so. 
The following is given here as interesting information:

As noted Colombia, in South America, is the country with the most species of birds of any country in the world. As of this month, October 2011, the total number of species that have been found in Colombia is 1,889.
That's up from 1,869 species in 2007, 1,871 species in 2009, and 1,879 species in 2010. Species "new" for the country have continued to be discovered.
Among them, this past year, these:
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, both new records for South America, and both vagrants from the North.
Also: RUFOUS-BREASTED WOOD-QUAIL, WHITE-BELLIED PARROT, and MASKED WATER TYRANT, newly-confirmed Colombian species, that occur in northern Ecuador.

Not yet, but maybe ahead: A review of the bird now called the THRUSH-LIKE SCHIFFORNIS (formerly THRUSH-LIKE MANAKIN) concludes that at least 5 new species should be recognized from it. 3 of them occur in Colombia.

As a matter of interest, here are the latest numbers for the countries with the second and third most bird species: Peru has 1,834, and Brazil 1,785.

There certainly is a connection with birds between continents. Even though Central America is in actuality part of North America, there's yet, in the anecdote that follows, a poignant story about an individual bird with a long-distance migration. It's a story that relates to Pennsylvania and Nicaragua, with North Carolina having played a part.

Recently, a WOOD THRUSH in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, flew into a window. Sadly, upon that impact, it died. The bird was seen to have a band. Looking into it showed that the banding had been earlier in the year, in February, in Nicaragua at the El Jaguar Reserve.

So, that WOOD THRUSH had been banded where it wintered, and found later in the year to have died in the area where it bred.

The banding of it, and other birds, at the reserve just mentioned in Nicaragua, was a cooperative effort with Audubon North Carolina. 
That partnership has been part of 60 years of effort by the Bird Banding Laboratory. There are records, from during that time, of over 346,000 songbirds (and woodpeckers) banded. Of those birds, only about 80 have been recaptured in the United States during the breeding season, from April to August. 
Other than the WOOD THRUSH that died in Pennsylvania, only 2 of the 80 birds in the U.S. were WOOD THRUSHES, and they had both been banded in April probably during their northward migration. Never had one been banded where it wintered and found where it bred (but unfortunately, not alive). 
A photograph of that particular WOOD THRUSH, as it was being banded in Nicaragua last February, by Lili Duriaux Chavaria, is in: www.ncaudubonblog.org

Earlier this fall, a birder in Maryland made some comments on the internet about the hazards experienced by migrating birds, again relating to them and glass.
Apparently, during migrations, a large number of birds unfortunately strike windows.
The birder in Maryland works in Anne Arundel, where there is a high-rise reflective glass building. Since 1991, he has observed the problem, that is most pronounced in the spring and fall seasons.
With, as he has noted over the years, about twice as many strikes in the fall as in the spring.
He has records of about 70 species, with a total of about 500 individuals, during the 20 years.
This year, the RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD sadly reached the 100 threshold. In second place, has been the WHITE-THROATED SPARROW with nearly 40 deadly strikes.  
Most of the birds strike at night, or at least they are present at dawn. The HUMMINGBIRDS, however, overwhelmingly strike in daylight.
Apparently, clear weather has been the most deadly, but fog can also be bad.

And, now, just one more account of the hazards had by migrating birds - referring to an incident that happened lately, and that's been publicized a great deal on the internet.
That incident was in West Virginia, at Laurel Mountain, where there is a wind turbine facility. What is noted here is from those at the American Bird Conservancy who have been investigating the occurrence.

Nearly 500 birds died, mostly BLACKPOLL WARBLERS, but other species as well. The situation was at a power substation associated with the facility, and not, as we understand it, resulting from the turbines themselves.
At the substation, lights were left on at night. They should not have been, and especially during a night with bad visibility. The birds were flying low over the ridge. Some, after they crashed, had broken limbs. Others appeared to have died of exhaustion, having been disoriented, and their migratory flight disrupted.
More information may be found in the website for the American Bird Conservancy: www.abcbirds.org
Sorry for the all the bad news here pertaining to birds succumbing to hazards, but an awareness is good so that efforts can be made to reduce such hazards that the birds face.

Armas Hill has presented the Birdline, originally from Philadelphia, on the phone and 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.

Please visit our website for upcoming tour info and to see photographs of over 1,300 different birds, mammals, butterflies, dragonflies & damselflies, amphibians & reptiles, plants, and other nature: www.focusonnature.com

To Top of Page