SPECIAL BIRDLINE, by ARMAS HILL
Bird Sightings resulting from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene
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
Birdline for August 30, 2011,
updated on September 5, 2011:
Please note that while presenting this in no way minimizes the bad effects
of the recent storm in the eastern US & Canada, that is the loss of
lives as well as the hurt and damage for many people, it is nonetheless
interesting to have this composite of various birds affected by
the severe weather.
Apparently all of the sightings noted here were on Sunday, August
28. Some of the sightings were substantiated by photographs. Some were not.
If you know of any interesting sightings not noted here, please send them by
e-mail to: email@example.com
We did receive further reports of storm-related bird sightings, and they
are incorporated here in the update:
Irene has been a wide-ranging storm, causing disruption in at least 3
Wilmingtons: Wilmington, North Carolina; Wilmington, Delaware; and
Wilmington, Vermont, with the last of these maybe the most adversely
In west-central Massachusetts, at the Quabbin Reservoir Dam, on August
28th, a WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD and SOOTY TERN were noted, as were: 2 COMMON
TERNS, 3 BLACK TERNS, a PARASITIC JAEGER, and a LEACH'S STORM PETREL.
Also, 4 BONAPARTE'S GULLS and 11 HUDSONIAN GODWITS.
Further west in Massachusetts, at Onota Lake in Pittsfield, there was a
WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD, 2 SOOTY TERNS, and a WILSON'S STORM PETREL.
A dead WILSON'S STORM PETREL was found in Florence, Massachusetts.
In southeastern Massachusetts, along the seacoast near the Rhode Island
border, in Westport, along the Westport River, on August 28th, birds
included: a LEACH'S STORM-PETREL , 3 BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS, 6 SOOTY
TERNS, and 3 BRIDLED TERNS.
Not too far away, on the offshore island of Martha's Vineyard, that day,
there were BRIDLED, ROYAL, and SANDWICH TERNS.
While further offshore, at the island of Nantucket, there were LEACH'S
STORM-PETREL, BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL, several SOOTY TERNS, hundreds of
BLACK TERNS, a SANDWICH TERN, and a LONG-TAILED JAEGER.
In the area of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, BRIDLED TERNS were at Bourne and
In New Hampshire, in Claremont, a couple days after the storm, on August
30th, a WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD was found. It was taken to a wild bird
hospital where it died.
During, or just after Irene, at least 5, or maybe 6, WHITE-TAILED
TROPICBIRDS were found in New York State.
What may have been the same adult bird was seen from Manhattan, over the
Hudson River, from West 70th Street, and from West 23rd Street where it
An immature bird was seen from West 180th Street, flying south.
Another adult WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD was seen and photographed in New
York City, by the ocean as it flew west over Point Lookout, heading toward
where one was found dead at Rockaway Beach.
Another WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD was found dead on the North Fork in East
Marion in eastern Long Island.
A WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD was found as far north along the Hudson River as
the Albany area, in Stephentown in Rensselaer County. That bird died at a
Also a good distance from the ocean, up the Hudson River in New York
State, a female-type MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD was seen on August 28th over
the town of Hudson in Columbia County.
A BLACK-CAPPED PETREL was in New York State on August 28th flying back and
forth over Mecox Bay In eastern Long Island, where it was
In New York City, on August 28th, a SOOTY TERN and a POMARINE JAEGER were
seen from 81st Street in Manhattan, over the East River.
An incomplete tally of SOOTY TERNS thus far, along the Hudson River north
to the Tappan Zee Bridge and along the southern Long Island shoreline
from Brooklyn to Montauk, is 25 birds.
An incomplete tally of BRIDLED TERNS thus far, for the same areas, is 56
Along the Hudson River, from Edgewater on the New Jersey side,
opposite New York City, a BRIDLED TERN was seen flying
It landed briefly on some flotsam.
A group of 3 SOOTY TERNS were seen flying south along the river, where
there were more COMMON TERNS and LAUGHING GULLS than usual.
A CORY'S SHEARWATER was reported, and a GREAT SHEARWATER was also reported
over the Hudson River, seen from the Ocean Terminal in Bayonne,
Also observed from Edgewater were several WILSON'S STORM PETRELS and a probable (likely)
LEACH'S STORM PETREL.
In all, thus far, 19 LEACH'S STORM PETRELS were tallied in the New York
City area, from the Hudson River and Brooklyn east to Montauk. What were
believed to be 3 BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS were also noted.
4 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS were seen in the Long Island area during or just after
Irene. One was observed sitting on a Jones Beach parking lot.
An immature LONG-TAILED JAEGER was in Rye, New York. Both POMARINE and
PARASITIC JAEGERS were also seen on August 28th in the New York City area,
with about a dozen of the latter.
Over 200 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were reported in the New York City area
during the storm.
Along the Delaware River, from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania side on
August 28, there were TERNS, including SANDWICH, apparently a new
species for Philadelphia.
Two SOOTY TERNS seen from Northeast Philadelphia were actually on the New
Jersey (Burlington County) side of the river. Other TERNS were maybe
a hundred COMMON, a dozen BLACK, 3 ARCTIC, 35 LEAST, a single ROYAL, and 4
CASPIAN, along the more-normal FORSTER'S TERNS.
From the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, that afternoon, TERNS
that were sighted were: 1 BRIDLED, 2 COMMON, 2 BLACK, 2 ARCTIC, 6 LEAST, 3
ROYAL, and 3 CASPIAN, along with FORSTER'S.
Northwest of Philadelphia, in the sky above the Plymouth Meeting Mall
in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, a FRIGATEBIRD, probably a
MAGNIFICENT was seen soaring on August 28th.
North of Philadelphia, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on August 28th, one
observer noted these birds:
a probable LONG-TAILED JAEGER at Peace Valley, and maybe the same
bird later at Lake Nockimixon,
at least 3, maybe 5, SOOTY TERNS, with 2 seen at Peace Valley, and either
another or the same twosome at Lake Nockamixon, and another at Van
over 40 BLACK TERNS (over 20 at Van Sciver Lake),
over 40 CASPIAN TERNS (22 sitting together at Van Sciver Lake),
a probable ARCTIC TERN at Lake Nockamixon,
2, maybe 4, GULL-BILLED TERNS at Van Sciver Lake,
7 LEAST TERNS, at Van Sciver Lake, Peace Valley, Core Creek, and along the
9 ROYAL TERNS at various places, including Van Sciver Lake, Core Creek,
Lake Nockamixon, and along the Delaware River,
and probably over a hundred COMMON TERNS.
Also 2 or 3 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, at Lake Nockamixon and Van Sciver Lake.
A WHIMBREL was seen on a field in Bucks County, near Newtown, where 3
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were noted, along with a BUFF-BREASTED
SANDPIPER (maybe not storm-related).
ROYAL TERNS were observed at other locations in Pennsylvania (outside
Bucks County) on August 28th:
along the Delaware River near the Philadelphia Airport and at Marcus Hook,
along the Susquehanna River, at the Conejohela Flats,
in Berks County, at Lake Ontelaunee,
in Northampton County, at Lake Minsi,
and at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area along the
Lancaster-Lebanon County border.
In Lancaster County PA, along the Susquehanna River, in addition to the
ROYAL TERN, on August 28, there were:
about 60 BLACK TERNS, and a flock of about 20 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES.
in Cape May, New Jersey, birds observed on August 28 by the "concrete
ship" at Sunset Beach, by the mouth of the Delaware Bay included:
3 WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRDS
a BLACK-CAPPED PETREL
11 BRIDLED TERNS
12 SOOTY TERNS
15 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS
a LONG-TAILED JAEGER
2 PARASITIC JAEGERS
some unidentified JAEGERS
2 ROSEATE TERNS
7 BLACK TERNS
3 SANDWICH TERNS,
and 24 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES.
Also, a "large swift", maybe a BLACK SWIFT. That
species does occur, as a resident, on the Caribbean island of
Also seen that day at Cape May, flying in a 40-mile wind, a MONARCH
The adult BROWN BOOBY that was at Cape May, New Jersey, prior to Irene,
has continued there after the storm.
Across the Delaware Bay, in Delaware, in the area of Fowler Beach and
Prime Hook, on August 28, notable birds were a WHITE-TAILED
TROPICBIRD, SOOTY TERN, BRIDLED TERN, POMARINE JAEGER, an
unidentified JAEGER, and 3 WILSON'S STORM PETRELS.
Further north along the Delaware River that day, between Delaware City and
Pea Patch Island (in Delaware), there were: STORM PETRELS (probably
WILSON'S), and BLACK and BRIDLED TERNS.
In Ocean City, Maryland, from 30th Street, that same day, a BRIDLED
TERN was seen as was a BLACK TERN and a WILSON'S STORM PETREL.
Elsewhere in Maryland, on August 28, near the east end of the
Chesapeake Bay (Route 50) Bridge, either 2 or 3 adult SOOTY TERNS were
seen, as were 8 BLACK TERNS.
BLACK TERNS were noted at a number of eastern Maryland localities that
An ARCTIC TERN was carefully observed at the mouth of the Choptank River
on August 28 - an adult in breeding plumage.
On the Delmarva Peninsula, in Maryland, at the Pocomoke Sandpits, on
August 28, there were:
2 SOOTY TERNS (one adult and one juvenile)
a possible adult BRIDLED TERN
and 16 BLACK TERNS in addition to CASPIAN, ROYAL, SANDWICH, GULL-BILLED,
LEAST, COMMON, and FORSTER'S TERNS.
A few miles away, an immature SOOTY TERN was seen at Cedar Hall.
As I noted earlier, there may have been other sightings of note,
but this is the info we have, gleaned from the internet. I would note
the names of the observers, but I am sure that some would inadvertently
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