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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


Sooty Tern

The 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: armas@focusonnature.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 affected. 

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 Eastham.    

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 was photographed. 
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 rehabilitator's.

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 photographed.      

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 birds.   

Along the Hudson River, from Edgewater on the New Jersey side, opposite New York City, a BRIDLED TERN was seen flying downriver. 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, NJ.  
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 Sciver Lake,
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 Delaware River, 
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: 
some unidentified JAEGERS
Also, a "large swift", maybe a BLACK SWIFT. That species does occur, as a resident, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

Also seen that day at Cape May, flying in a 40-mile wind, a MONARCH BUTTERFLY!    

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 day.
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
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 be omitted.

The Birdline is an affiliate of Focus On Nature Tours, Inc.

In the FONT website, there is a large collection of photographs of birds and other nature, but behind the scenes we have even more. If you're interested in having Armas Hill doing a presentation to your club, organization, or group of any kind, please contact us. It would be his pleasure to do so. 
Topics, among others, include the birds & nature of Brazil, Iceland, Japan, Costa Rica, and Guatemala & Belize.  

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