The BIRDLINE, by ARMAS HILL
Hummingbirds, Other Birds, and Some Whales and Butterflies
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.
List & Photo Gallery of North American Birds, in 6 Parts
List & Photo Gallery of North American Mammals
for October 5, 2011:
During a pelagic
trip, offshore from Barnegat Light, New Jersey,
on October 2, seabirds included:
1 SOUTH POLAR SKUA, 25 GREAT SHEARWATERS, 2 MANX SHEARWATERS, 12
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATERS, 2 CORY'S SHEARWATERS, and 10 WILSON'S STORM
Also: MINKE WHALES, and many COMMON DOLPHINS.
The captain said "you should have been here last week; there
were so many birds".
Maybe they went north. Because, in that direction, during a pelagic
trip a few days earlier, offshore from Chatham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts,
2,000 GREAT SHEARWATERS, 100 SOOTY SHEARWATERS, almost 40 MANX
SHEARWATERS, almost 40 PARASITIC JAEGERS, 3 CORY'S SHEARWATERS,
and 3 NORTHERN FULMARS.
Some RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are still lingering in the northeast
US, seen this week at places such as northern
Delaware near Newark, and in a small yard in the
Bridesburg section in the city of Philadelphia - at
a butterfly bush.
Near Philadelphia, at the arboretum on the Temple University
campus in Ambler, feeding on Salvia leucantha, Mexican Bush Sage.
But now is the time to start being alert in the eastern US for
HUMMINGBIRDS from elsewhere in North America:
A RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, an immature female, appeared near Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania on October 2.
Of course, hummingbird feeders can attract the little
visitors. But, maybe more often it's the plants,
such as: PINEAPPLE SAGE, and in addition to the MEXICAN BUSH SAGE,
mentioned a moment ago, these:
RED TEXAS SALVIA, ANISE SALVIA, BLACK & BLUE SALVIA, WENDY'S WISH
SALVIA, MULBERRY JAM SALVIA, INDIGO SPIRES SALVIA, MARASCHINO CHERRY
SALVIA, LITTLE RED MORNING GLORY, and as mentioned earlier, the
BUTTERFLY BUSH, and also LANTANA, and PALE TOUCH-ME-NOT.
Of course it's too late now to plant for this year, but in case
one might think ahead.
Most of the above list of plants, was on PA Birds, by Carl,
"hoping for a western stray hummingbird to visit sometime
The most famous of the western stray hummingbirds to visit
Pennsylvania last fall, and well into the winter, was a female ANNA's, that
stayed even when the weather was cold (visiting feeders, but
probably not in January plants just noted, such as the
Wendy's Wish or whatever).
Having said that, though, it's hard to believe that a hummingbird, apparently miles
out of range, would exist only because of a feeder or two. Such
hummingbirds could eat some insects that would also be
Looking again at the capitalized list of plants above, I can't
help but think how nice they would appear on an
attractive menu in an "upscale hummingbird restaurant"!
Other than, of course, the TOUCH-ME-NOT.
The FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER is normally a bird of Central & South
America. Those that nest during the summer in southern South America
are quite migratory, normally going, outside their breeding season, to
northern South America. Central American birds are not strongly
Sometimes FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHERS travel beyond northern South
America, to the Caribbean islands and to North America.
Such a FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER was seen on October 1 at the Kiptopecke
State Park, on the lower Delmarva Peninsula in Virginia.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS are normally in western North
America. But this past week, the species was in the East, seen on both
sides of the Delaware Bay: at Cape Henlopen in Delaware
on September 30, and at Cape May in New Jersey on
PURPLE MARTINS are not normally found in Pennsylvania
in October. But one was seen near Lake City, in Erie County PA,
on October 1.
And that was an interesting sighting because the bird was seen to be a
vagrant from the West, as it was a female with a distinct white ring
around the neck, as had by females of the subspecies Progne subis
PURPLE GALLINULES are not normally found by Lake Ontario.
An immature, that was injured, found there this past week at
Sodus Point, New York, has since died.
By Lake Erie, in northwest Pennsylvania,
birds are counted, lakeside, as they pass by. This past week, there
were some high waterfowl numbers counted at Erie:
On September 30, there was a flight of 560 BLUE-WINGED TEAL.
On October 1, there was a flight of 745 NORTHERN PINTAIL.
Other waterbirds counted there that day were: GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON,
AMERICAN BLACK DUCK, MALLARD, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER,
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GREATER SCAUP, LESSER SCAUP, SURF SCOTER, WHITE-WINGED
SCOTER, CANADA GOOSE, COMMON LOON, and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT.
But all of these combined did not add up to the total of NORTHERN
Also on October 3, at Erie at the lake, it
appeared that a cold front passed by, unfortunately, during the biggest
movement of MONARCH BUTTERFLIES there this season, during their
long migration south to the coniferous-clad mountains of central
That day at Erie, there was a high butterfly mortality, with hundreds,
perhaps thousands, washed ashore all along the beaches of the Presque
Isle State Park. Many were still alive, but their wings were battered
Back to birds, a WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL was seen on September 26 in Florida
- Florida, New York.
Elsewhere in New York lately, a MISSISSIPPI KITE was over Strawberry
Fields, in Central Park, Manhattan, New
York City, on September 25.
A male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was on eastern Long Island,
at the Smith Point Park, in Shirley on September 26.
SWAINSON'S HAWKS are in North America mostly in the West. However,
this past week, they were in the East, with single birds at the
hawkwatch at Cape Henlopen, Delaware on September 30
and at Cape May, New Jersey on October 4.
A LARK SPARROW, another bird mostly in the West, was at Cape
Henlopen, Delaware on September 30.
A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen in Washington DC on
October 4, at the lower Senate Park near the U.S. Capitol Building. It
was with 8 HOUSE SPARROWS and 2 FIELD SPARROWS.
In the last Birdline, RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were told of in
the Northeast. Sightings continued there this past
With 11 at Turkey Point, Maryland on September 30,
and still there on October 4 were an adult and a juvenile, and then,
seen by another person, 3 juveniles.
And elsewhere in Maryland at the Eastern Neck
National Wildlife Refuge, and as many as 4 at the Jug Bay Wetlands
Center on October 1.
In New Jersey, an adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was
seen at Assunpink on October 2, a first there for a person who
often birds there.
The SMITH'S LONGSPUR in Maine, told of here two Birdlines
ago, was last seen there on September 25.
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.
A number of people correctly answered the two quiz questions
in the FONT E-Newsletter this week. The
Number 1 - Marbled Murrelet
Number 2 - Acorn Woodpecker.
It's interesting to also note that a fine book has been written
about the Marbled Murrelet, by the daughter of a
national CBS network newscaster, Roger Mudd, who was on that network
at the time of Walter Cronkite.
The book is entitled "Rare Bird - Pursuing the Mystery of the
Marbled Murrelet", by Maria Mudd Ruth.
A nice, good read.
Information about upcoming Focus On Nature Tours can be found in the website:
along with numerous listings & photos of birds & other nature.
Now, over 1300 photos of different birds, mammals, butterflies,
dragonflies, amphibians, reptiles, plants, and more.
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