Friday, December 13, 2013

Snowy Owl Invasion!

If there is to be an invasion, what could be better than Snowy Owls?! Reports seem inconclusive over the years about whether the survival rate is generally good or bad during these events...something not easy to evaluate. Good productivity for the owls might have happened last summer...though lemming populations and other northern food sources are well-documented as declining.

This bird was at Craney Island, Portsmouth recently...sorry to say, an area not open to the public...and will be monitored by a research team. Virginia has already had about 10 other reports in this epic event...many more to come? Birders should certainly be respectful of the possible stress caused by observation.
Brian Taber

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ross's Goose in James City County

This Ross's Goose,  a first local record, was found and photographed by Bill Williams this morning in a field at Mainland Farm, near Jamestown.
Brian Taber

Saturday, November 30, 2013

End of the season

Today, the last day of the official hawk count for the season was filled with geese! 830 Snow Geese and 109 Canada Geese were counted. The season  for me as a hawkcounter at Kiptopeke has been great. I counted a total of 14,952 raptors of 15 different species. Some of the highlights for me include the opportunity to see a Swaison's Hawk in the hand, counting 3 Rough-legged Hawks, a day count of 230 Merlins, and a daily high count of 1186 raptors. For more details on the hawk count visit hawkcount.org.


Snow Geese with a few blue-morph Snow Geese included
Cheers!
~Katie

Saturday, November 23, 2013

5 Buteo Day

The day started off slow with a couple of Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, two Northern Harriers and some Accipiters moving early. Then a late migrating adult Broad-winged Hawk was spotted, followed by a juvenile the following hour. Then the third Rough-legged Hawk for the season, a juvenile light-morph with a dark chest and belly, was the beginning of the real excitement . The Rough-leg flew over the hawk trapping station as we held our breath to see if it would go into the station. Unfortunately it did not, but less than an hour later a Swainson's Hawk flew into the station! Although it is late for Swainson's Hawks it was the first one of the year, a juvenile dark morph.

A few noteworthy non-raptor migrants have made appearances at the hawk platform the past few days.  Today a flock of 4 American White Pelicans were flying southwest at 1334. Two days ago a flock of 5 Sandhill cranes were spotted flying southwest and then yesterday were seen flying northeast. The Tundra Swan migration continues with 124 individuals counted today.

Dark-morph juvenile Swainson's Hawk
Dark-morph juvenile Swaison's Hawk
~Katie

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eastern Screech Owl

An Eastern Screech Owl that was probably hit by an automobile on the road made its way to the hawk platform yesterday. Unfortunately, its fate was the same as many other birds that are struck by automobiles, and it died.


A gray morph Eastern Screech Owl
A gray morph Eastern Screech Owl
~Katie

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Color-tagged Ring-billed Gull Details

The US Geological Survey promptly responded about the color-tagged bird pictured below, which I found and reported last Friday...it is a male, hatched in 2010 or earlier and banded at Pleasure Bay Beach, Massachusetts, on March 29, 2013. Researchers are always happy to receive such re-sighting information on their work.
Brian Taber

Monday, November 18, 2013

First trapped Northern Goshawk of the year

Yesterday, November 17, the first Northern Goshawk was trapped at the hawk banding station for the season.  The individual that was trapped was a juvenile male, which composes the majority of the Northern Goshawks that are spotted and trapped at Kiptopeke State Park.

A Juvenile male Northern Goshawk trapped at the Kiptopeke Hawk-trapping station by Bob Chapman.  Note heavy streaky on chest

Backside of the Northern Goshawk trapped. Note scalloped back and wide tail.
  ~Katie

Friday, November 15, 2013

Color-tagged Ring-billed Gull

This bird was on the south island of the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel today...we will notify the bander and post the info when we get a reply.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Northern Goshawks

The number of migrating hawks has drastically declined, but rarer birds are appearing.  Today there were two juvenile Northern Goshawks flying south past the hawk platform.  The first one flew low just to the east of the hawk platform, while the second one flew through the hawk trapping station. A good number of Red-Tailed Hawks and a few Red-Shouldered Hawks are also being seen from the platform.

A Predatory Stink Bug preying on a Marmorated Stink Bug on the hawkwatch platform.
~Katie

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 Monarch Butterfly Project

The Monarch Butterfly project has wrapped-up for the season. Monarch Biologist, Rea Manderino, managed to capture and tag 218 Monarchs despite the challenges she faced. The first challenge was a decline in numbers of Monarch Butterflies this year, due to a decrease of Milkweed in the mid-west. The second being the government shut-down, which interfered with her roost counts at Wise Point and prevented her from searching for Monarchs at Fisherman's Island and the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge for sixteen days.

Monarch Biologist, Rea Manderino, holding a Monarch Butterfly that she tagged with an indicator sticker.
A Monarch Butterfly that Rea Manderino tagged with an indicator sticker.

~Katie

Platform Facelift

Kiptopeke Hawkwatcher Katie Rittenhouse, enjoying the newly re-decked (after 20 years) observation platform, thanks to the Kiptopeke State Park work crew and the grant from VA Department of Environmental Quality.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chesapeake Baywatch Week 4 in Review (22 Oct – 28 Oct 2013)

[The Chesapeake Baywatch is conducted daily from Civil Dawn until midday from an elevated bluff located north of Kiptopeke State Park. All species moving both into and out of the Bay are identified, counted, and recorded.]

Common Loons have started to play a key role in the migration this week, with good numbers both migrating past and sitting around on the water. In the early morning, occasionally one of the small foraging groups will break off a yodel or two – always a wonderful sound. A few Red-throated Loons have been detected migrating past already, but that species still has a few weeks before their peak.

All three scoter species put in appearances during the week, but the numbers have been massively dominated by Surf, followed by Black, and then finally with a few White-wings thrown in. One of the interesting parts of a seawatching season is the timing differences between Surf and Black Scoter movements. Typically, one species dominates and then the other. The ratio often flip-flops a few times throughout the migration.

Dabbling duck numbers have been relatively small but with good diversity. Northern Pintail continue to be seen both peppering scoter flocks and in larger homogenous flocks, as do American Wigeon. Green-winged Teal, as is expected, are becoming the most common dabbler over the Bay.

An American Coot flew past with a small group of scoters on 22 Oct. The presence of the species on the Eastern Shore is certainly not shocking, but what was surprising was that this species migration past during the day, a very infrequent sight.


Another highlight of the period was the first Brant of the season on 24 October.

Migration continues to increase in the Bay, and this should keep up for the next month!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rough-legged Hawk

Today, October 29, a juvenile light-morph Rough-legged Hawk passed by the Kiptopeke hawkwatch platform between 900 and 1000 EST. The Rough-leg appeared over the horizon with a Turkey Vulture then flew over the platform and proceeded south. It was spotted about 30 minutes later in a kettle with Turkey Vultures by Sunset Beach Resort. Other noteworthy birds for the day was a juvenile Golden Eagle flying below a kettle of Turkey Vultures and 10 Northern Harriers.

A photograph of the  juvenile light-morph Rough-legged Hawk which flew over the Kiptopeke hawkwatch platform October 29, 2013. Photo taken by Rea Manderino.

A beautiful picture of a male Harrier, also known as a "Gray Ghost". Photo taken by Steven Thornhill October 26 from the Kiptopeke hawkwatch platform. 
~Katie

Monday, October 28, 2013

Golden Eagles

The first three juvenile Golden Eagles for the 2013 fall season were counted this past Friday, October 25. The first two were spotted flying below a Turkey Vulture kettle, while a third one was spotted flying with a Bald Eagle. The eagles flew north and south several times on the east side of the peninsula for one to two hours after they were first identified. Golden Eagles along with other northern species can be seen from the hawkwatch for the next few months.

Golden Eagle (second row, left) in a kettle of Turkey Vultures. Turkey Vultures will try to fly in front and above Golden Eagles to avoid possible predation. Photo taken by Steve Kolbe from the Kiptopeke hawkwatch platform.  
~Katie

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chesapeake Baywatch Week 3 in Review (15 Oct – 21 Oct 2013)

[The Chesapeake Baywatch is conducted daily from Civil Dawn until midday from an elevated bluff located north of Kiptopeke State Park. All species moving both into and out of the Bay are identified, counted, and recorded.]

Migration in the Bay was again generally unspectacular during the period with small numbers of the expected species but no large flights. Northern Gannets and Common Loons were seen almost daily, but only in small numbers. Black and Surf Scoter numbers have been low but seem to be increasing slightly. Small dabbling duck flights have been occurring on some days with Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, and Green-winged Teal accounting for most of the birds.

Certainly the week’s best bird (and no doubt a season highlight!) was an immature Black-legged Kittiwake on 15 Oct. The bird was rather close and gave a beautiful view in the scope as it moved north into the Bay.

Black-legged Kittiwake. "Close" is a relative term when seawatching, and obtaining a photograph of a migrating bird over the Bay is most often impossible. In the scope, this bird was quite stunning. Even in this photo the very dark "M" pattern on the upperwing, the black hind-collar, and the black tail tip are evident. Photo by Steve Kolbe.

Other highlights included the first White-winged Scoter of the season on 15 Oct and an immature Parasitic Jaeger heading north into the Bay on the same day. The first Bonaparte’s Gull of the season was detected on the 18th. A female Common Eider was sitting out in front of the bluff at first light on 17 Oct and eventually drifted down to the Concrete Ships off Kiptopeke State Park. It continues to be seen, often very close to the boat launch, at the time of this post.

Female Common Eider. Note sloping forehead and large bill.


Giant Swallowtail Butterly

CVWO's Monarch Biologist, Rea Manderino, found several Giant Swallowtail Butterflies between September 16-30 of this year. The Giant Swallowtail is a rare visitor to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, only being spotted once last year.  The Giant Swallowtail mainly feeds on citrus, but also feeds on Hercule's Club (Aralia spinosa) which is found on Fisherman's Island.  Five of the seven sightings were on Fisherman's Island, while two took place at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. There were are least four different individuals identified, which suggests that this species of butterfly is becoming less rare in the area.

A Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Fisherman's Island. Photo taken by Rea Manderino
~Katie

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Discussing the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Western Kingbird!

As most of you are probably aware, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was found by Zak Poulton on the morning of 11 October. As luck would have it, this was also the first day of the Birding and Wildlife Festival held each fall on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. As a result, many folks were able to see and enjoy this wonderful and rare bird. The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was quite fond of a dead tree located just south of the intersection of Seaside (Rt. 600) and Cedar Grove Drive. It was last seen on 14 October.

I was able to obtain some photographs of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that show enough detail to age the bird despite the cloudy and rainy conditions over the weekend. Our flycatcher has a molt limit on its wing. The greater and median coverts and tertials are darker and fresher looking and they contrast with the rest of the older and more worn wing feathers. Additionally, Pyle (1997) illustrates the different shapes of the outer (p10) primary depending on a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher’s age. A hatch-year bird’s p10 is not notched, but an older, say after-hatch-year individual, would have a rather impressive notch on the outer primary. As you can see in the photo below, p10 is not notched in our flycatcher. Both of these reasons point to this bird being a hatch-year.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher gleaning prey from spiderweb. Note the un-notched outer primary and darker greater and median coverts and tertials. Photograph by Steve Kolbe.
Determining the sex of this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a bit more challenging. Of course, some in-hand measurements would probably sort it out quickly, but since that was not possible, we have to resort to a bit of conjecture. Females have shorter tails than males of a corresponding age and also tend to have less pink in the flanks and underwing coverts. Check out the photo below and decide for yourself. But I’d be willing to bet that our visitor from the south was a hatch-year male.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher gleaning prey from spiderweb. Note the (moderate?) amount of pink on the flanks and underwing coverts. Photograph by Steve Kolbe.
Today, 17 October, a party led by Bob Ake discovered a Western Kingbird just around the corner from the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher spot. This bird was seen throughout the midafternoon along the easternmost portion of Cedar Grove Drive.
Western Kingbird. Note the long wings, yellow belly, pale gray head and breast, and black tail with white edges. Photograph by Steve Kolbe.
This location is on fire right now. What will show up next?

1186 raptor day

This past Tuesday, October 15, was an astonishing day on the Kiptopeke hawk platform. Mixed flocks of Accipiters filled the sky, with a daily total of 774 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 204 Cooper's Hawks. The grand total for the day was 1186 raptors, making it the first day this year with over 1000 birds!  Another big push of raptors is predicted after the cold front moves through this weekend.

A Sharp-shinned Hawk compared to a Cooper's Hawk. Note the squared tail and smaller head projection on the Sharp-Shinned Hawk, compared to the larger head projection and rounded tail of the Cooper's Hawk.
~Katie

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chesapeake Baywatch Week 2 in Review (8 Oct – 14 Oct 2013)

[The Chesapeake Baywatch is conducted daily from Civil Dawn until midday from an elevated bluff located north of Kiptopeke State Park. All species moving both into and out of the Bay are identified, counted, and recorded.] 

A cold front swept through the region 7 Oct and ushered in fairly strong NE winds and slightly cooler temperatures. A “mini-Nor’easter” continued for the remainder of the second week of the month with mostly cloudy skies and scattered precipitation.

Migration in the Bay was generally unspectacular during the period with just a smattering of highlights and no large movements of birds. A few Great Cormorants are already loafing about the concrete ships and the pound net poles including at least one immature and one adult. Small numbers of Northern Gannets have been seen moving south out of the Bay. One Red-throated Loon was spotted migrating south on 12 October, and Common Loon numbers have been steadily increasing.  Of the two “dark-winged” scoters, more Surf than Black Scoters were counted during the period. At this point, the bulk of the season is still very much ahead of us.


The unchallenged highlights of the second week of the Baywatch have been the migrating jaegers. A jaeger was detected on 10 Oct, two moved past on 11 Oct, two more the following day, and finally one migrated by on 13 October. All jaegers seen during the second week flew south, and surprisingly none have engaged any other species, preferring to move out of the Bay using straight-line powered flight. A few of the jaegers had to be left as “jaeger species” due to distance, but all that have come close enough to identify have been adult Parasitic Jaegers. 

Caspian Tern foraging over the Chesapeake Bay. Note the large red bill, dark underside to the primaries, and dark forehead to separate this species from Royal Tern.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Big Sit

The "Big Sit" is an annual competition between bird watchers to find and identify the highest number of species from within a 17 foot diameter circle. Every year, CVWO participates in this competition with their circle located on the hawk watch platform at Kiptopeke State Park. This year, the strong winds and foggy weather conditions did not make the competition easy, but from the hawk watch we were able to identify 57 species. Our species list was as follows:

1. Wood Duck
2. Mallard
3. American Black Duck
4. Common Loon
5. Brown Pelican
6. Double-crested Cormorant
7. Great Blue Heron
8. Turkey Vulture
9. Black Vulture
10. Osprey
11. Bald Eagle
12. Northern Harrier
13. Sharp-shinned Hawk
14. Cooper's Hawk
15. Broad-winged Hawk
16. Red-tailed Hawk
17. American Kestrel
18. Merlin
19. Peregrine Falcon
20. Killdeer
21. Rock Pigeon
22. Mourning Dove
23. Laughing Gull
24. Ring-billed Gull
25. Herring Gull
26. Great Black-backed Gull
27. Caspian Tern
28. Royal Tern
29. Forster's Tern
30. Great Horned Owl
31. Belted Kingfisher
32. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
33. Northern Flicker
34. Blue Jay
35. American Crow
36. Tree Swallow
37. Carolina Chickadee
38. Tufted Titmouse
39. Carolina Wren
40. Gray Catbird
41. Northern Mockingbird
42. Brown Thrasher
43. European Starling
44. Yellow-rumped Warbler
45. Palm Warbler
46. Common Yellowthroat
47. American Redstart
48. Eastern Bluebird
49. American Robin
50. Indigo Bunting
51. Song Sparrow
52. White-throated Sparrow
53. Northern Cardinal
54. Red-winged Blackbird
55. Common Grackle
56. Brown-headed Cowbird
57. Wilson's Snipe

~Katie

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival

The 21st annual Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival is happening this weekend October 11-13. CVWO will be doing presentations again this year. To find out more information or to sign up for the festival go to http://www.esvafestivals.org/ . Hope to see you all there!

Magnolia Warbler by Sarah Cashwell, Winner of the 2013 Festival Art Contest
~Katie

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kiptopeke Challenge

The 19th annual Kiptopeke Challenge took place on September 21st. Bird watchers teamed up and competed to find and identify the highest number of bird species in the area. The "Maryland Biodiversity Screaming Hellgramites" won the 24-hour challenge with 116 species. The team consisted of Jim Brighton, Mikey Lutmerding, and Ron Gutberlet.

The winning team "Maryland Biodiversity Screaming Hellgramites"
~Katie

Monday, September 30, 2013

Amazing Days

At the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch, we are continuing to have large flights of Sharp-Shinned Hawks, American Kestrels, and Merlins. In the past 4 days there have been over 2500 birds counted from the hawk watch providing for fantastic views of numerous raptors, like the Peregrine Falcon below.

Stunning image of an immature Peregrine Falcon taken last Saturday at Kiptopeke by Steve Thornhill
~Katie



Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's Raining Falcons

It has been raining falcons at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch!  Merlins were zipping by the platform yesterday at a rate of close to one Merlin/minute. The grand total for falcons yesterday was 230 Merlins! Today, the falcons continued to fill the skies with a new season daily high count of 123 American Kestrels. New season high counts for falcons will continue to be set within the next couple of weeks. Stop by the platform later in the afternoon for a chance to witness an amazing falcon flight.

A Merlin passing the Kiptopeke hawk platform taken  yesterday by Steve Kolbe
~Katie

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Migration Update

The raptor migration is picking up with an average of 100+ birds a day.  The falcons are the current stars of the show and the best time to view these flights is from 3pm to sunset.  Other noteworthy flights taking place currently are morning flights of Northern Flickers and Blue Jays.

The monarchs are also becoming more abundant with over 30 spotted and 12 tagged yesterday.

The hawk banding station is averaging 5-10 raptors daily. The majority of the birds being captured at this time are Sharp-Shinned Hawks and Coopers Hawks.

Also, a reminder that there is an educational program on the migration and CVWO's programs held at 10 A.M. and 2 P.M.on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the pavilion near the hawk watch platform.

~Katie

A Merlin in the hawk banding station

A juvenile Northern Harrier in the hawk banding station




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program

The Virginia Coastal Zone has granted Kiptopeke State Park money to thin some pines west of Taylor Pond, to create more suitable habitat for songbirds.



The Virginia Coastal Zone also granted money to Kiptopeke State Park to re-deck the hawk observatory platform. The hawk watch will remain open throughout the construction but portions of it will be closed at times.

Working on the hawk observatory ramp

~Katie

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monarch Biologist

The Monarch biologist this year is Rea, a recent graduate of the UVA environmental science program. She started her research today, which involves counting monarchs at their roost location and catching them to place indicator stickers on them. The data collected will provide information on survival rates of migrating Monarchs.

A monarch tagged with an indicator sticker
 ~Katie








Saturday, September 14, 2013

CVWO Educator

New to CVWO this year is an educator position at Kiptopeke State Park. The educator this year is Jesse, a biology graduate from James Madison University. She will be giving free presentations to the public on bird and butterfly migration on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. Her presentations will be held at the pavilion near the hawkwatch platform most days, but if that is taken by a different group she will be located on the hawkwatch platform.

Jesse (left) and myself (right)



~Katie

Monday, September 9, 2013

Opening of hawk banding station

The number of migrating raptors has been increasing steadily on the hawkwatch.  Ospreys have been sailing through in large numbers most days, while the American Kestrel flight has really picked up the past few days. Today there were 57 American Kestrels and a total of 182 raptors counted from the hawkwatch!

The Kiptopeke hawk banding site opened today (sorry, it is not open to the public). Bob is heading the banding station for his 5th year, and is teaching his assistant Alex the ropes. The first capture of the year was a female Sharp-Shinned Hawk, pictured below.  They also captured a second Sharp-Shinned Hawk, an American Kestrel, and a Red-tailed Hawk today.

Sharp-shinned Hawk



 ~Katie


Friday, September 6, 2013

Kiptopeke Programs


Hello CVWO blog readers! 

My name is Katie Rittenhouse, the hawkwatch compiler at Kiptopeke State Park, and I will be making regular posts on the blog. I am ecstatic to be working at Kiptopeke where there are high numbers of migrating raptors along with a variety of other avian orders. Prior to coming to work for CVWO, I was the hawkwatcher at Bake Oven Knob, PA, an intern at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, PA, and a seabird technician on two islands in ME. 

CVWO began counting the fall migration on August 30th this year and the raptors have begun their migration south. There have been nice flights of Osprey and a mixture of other raptors with 11 species total thus far.  A lot of song birds have also been spotted from the hawkwatch platform, including high numbers of bobolinks, Baltimore orioles, warblers, and swallows. Migration numbers will continue to increase as the month progresses. 

Stop by the platform to witness the migration and say hi!

~Katie




Saturday, August 17, 2013

Marbled Godwit

This elegant juvenile Marbled Godwit was a highlight of today's field trip to Craney Island, Portsmouth, by the Virginia Society of Ornithology, led by researcher and Observatory Vice-president Ruth Beck.
Brian Taber

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rare Butterfly

This Hayhurst's Scallopwing, very rare in the area, was seen yesterday and today by Adrienne Frank and Gary Driscole...photo by Gary...at their garden here in James City County. The faint concentric light rings and scalloped wing edges are perfectly shown. One was also found on the Observatory's annual July Butterfly Count at the tip of Virginia's Eastern Shore on July 28th.
Brian Taber

Friday, June 21, 2013

Prothonotary Warblers on pace for a record year

By Shirley Devan

As of June 18, 143 Prothonotary Warbler nestlings have been banded at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, VA. And we've banded 24 new females.

A personal highlight for me occurred June 18 when I recaptured a female that I had banded as a nestling in 2011, the first year I was involved in the project. She was the smallest of four nestlings in box 39 on June 7, 2011. She was recaptured at box 32 about 1/4 mile from where she hatched.

Meanwhile, here's a photo of a newly banded nestling almost ready to fledge. It weighed 13.4 grams -- a very robust "teenager." His band # is 2640-44172. See you in a couple of years!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prothonotary Warblers are back!


By Shirley Devan, CVWO Volunteer


Prothonotary Warblers are at back at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, VA for the sixth year. This is one of the songbird research projects sponsored by CVWO. Brian Taber invited me to post info about this CVWO songbird project as the season progresses.

Prothonotary Warbler in photo is a recap banded originally in June 2009! She is incubating 5 eggs.

Under the supervision of Dr. Bob Reilly, CVWO’s Master Bander, Steve Living and I are monitoring these cavity-nesting birds again this year. Steve Living is a Terrestrial Biologist with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. I am a CVWO Board Member and volunteer, Certified VA Master Naturalist and avid birder in Williamsburg Bird Club. Both of us are licensed to band songbirds as subpermittees working under Dr. Bob Reilly. Each of us relies on volunteers to help with the project.


We are monitoring 98 nest boxes again this year. This spring has been wet so the number of hours on the river monitoring the boxes is down. Still, the Prothonotary Warblers are building nests, laying eggs, and incubating because that’s what they do in May whether we’re watching or not.

May 10, 2013 – We checked 43 boxes, captured 8 incubating females and found 76 eggs.

The site fidelity of Prothonotary Warblers is astounding. These cavity-nesting warblers show remarkable “box fidelity” too.

One recap female was banded as an adult June 14, 2009. This year she is incubating 5 eggs in the box adjacent to where she was banded 4 years ago.

Another recap female was banded as an adult in June 2011, again at the box adjacent to where she was banded in 2011.

Three other recaps were banded as adults in 2012, at the same boxes where we captured them this year. We should find nestlings this week!

Prothonotary Warbler eggs are creamy white with dark brown spots or splotches.





Happy Mother's Day


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Break in Migration

The recent cool spell, with northerly winds and rain, caused this Black Vulture, like other birds at College Creek Hawkwatch, to take a break...while waiting for more favorable flying conditions. This bird was on the river bank at the hawkwatch site...trying to look even more lovely by sitting in the buttercups...
Brian Taber

Monday, April 22, 2013

Migrants at the Bridge-tunnel

These handsome migrants will soon depart for northern breeding grounds...they are at the south island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-tunnel...Long-tailed Duck, Horned Grebe and Purple Sandpiper.
Brian Taber

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sea Monster at College Creek?

On APRIL FIRST...this was in the James River at College Creek Hawkwatch...not sayin that it is...but...