Thursday, June 23, 2011

Purple Martin Youngsters

These young Purple Martins were trying out their new wings at Craney Island, Portsmouth today.

Brian Taber

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Prothonotary Warbler Update

Guest Blogger Shirley Devan back with an update on the nest boxes at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, VA.

Prothonotary Warblers (PROW) typically have two clutches each season. The PROWs at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake are now well into their second clutches and females are still laying eggs as of June 14. Fifty-seven eggs are being incubated as of June 14. Nest boxes that have not been occupied all season now have their first nests.

Since the end of April, Stephen Living and I have banded 59 PROW nestlings, and 18 adults – 3 males and 15 females. A male PROW and newly banded nestling (complete with fecal sac) shown in above photos.

We have “recaptured” 12 individual birds, meaning that they already had bands on them when we captured them. Several have been captured more than once this spring. All are females and were banded in 2009 or 2010 at Northwest River.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rare Shorebirds

This week, a Red Knot was a bit tardy at Grandview Beach in Hampton and Black-necked Stilts were found nesting at Craney Island, Portsmouth, which is closed to the public.
Brian Taber

Thursday, June 2, 2011

College Creek Hawkwatch Season Ends

Thanks to other volunteers Tom Armour, Fred Blystone, Bill Williams and Dean Shostak, we were able to set a new season total of 1811, surpassing the previous high of 1666 set in 2007. The hawkwatch operated from February 9th through May 24th. Our 177 hours were the most in our 15 years and our 85 days were also the most, surpassing the 82 in 2007. We had our best February, 2nd best March, 5th best April and 6th best May. The early season boosted our totals, despite much wind, rain and and cool temperatures and the second half of the season mostly saw very small flights, despite seemingly fine weather for migrating. Our biggest day was the 3rd best ever for the site, 146 on April 3rd.

We recorded 14 species and set new season highs for Turkey Vultures and Ospreys. Northern Harrier was 2nd highest. The single Broad-winged Hawk was the lowest, except for 1998 when none were seen and coverage was less than half of this year.


Black Vulture 65

Turkey Vulture 1189

Osprey 289

Mississippi Kite 1

Bald Eagle 82

Northern Harrier 41

Sharp-shinned Hawk 49

Cooper's Hawk 10

Red-shouldered Hawk 9

Broad-winged Hawk 1

Red-tailed Hawk 38

American Kestrel 29

Merlin 5

Peregrine 1

Rarities at the site included Glaucous Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Least Bittern, Sandhill Crane on 2 occasions and White-winged Dove.

We see many variations on immature Bald Eagles, including the quite unusual and striking one pictured above.

It's always a pleasure watching birds cross the James River at this site during late winter and spring. If anyone wants further details, please contact me.

Brian Taber