Sunday, November 29, 2015

Baywatch Cetaceans

Pods of dolphins have been a daily sight at the baywatch. Ocassionally the dolphins will completely jump out of the water, as pictured below. The regular dolphin show had a whale guest star yesterday: a possible humpback whale. The whale surfaced twice as it headed south towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT). At least three individuals were seen foraging along the islands of the CBBT later that day.

Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin breaching. Photo taken November 28, 2015 from the CVWO baywatch by Katie Rittenhouse

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gray Kingbird continued

The gray kingbird, a rarity from Florida and further south, remained on Magotha Road into Monday. Which provided the opportunity for more people to see this rare bird after a rainy Sunday.

Gray Kingbird on Magotha Road. Photo take November 21, 2015 by Ellison Orcutt.
Gray Kingbird on Magotha Road. Photo taken November 23, 2015 by Brian Taber.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gray Kingbird

A gray kingbird was found yesterday on Magotha Road by Fenton Day and Ellison Orcutt. The bird was perched on the telephone wires catching small insects. As of this morning, the bird was still on Magotha Road.

Gray kingbird on Magotha Road. Photo taken by Zak Poulton on November 22, 2015.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2015 Monarch Butterfly Summary

The monarch butterfly biologist, Angela Zappalla, finished the 2015 season last week with a total of 345 butterflies tagged. One uncommon butterfly that Angela spotted was a long tailed skipper.The monarch biologist performs daily point count surveys at the Kiptopeke hawk watch platform. Angela's high count was around thirty butterflies in three hours during the peak of the migration.

Monarch butterflies and buckeye butterflies on golden rod during the migration peak. Taken by Katie Rittenhouse on October 8, 2015.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Franklin's Gulls

A strong storm in the Midwest and Great Lakes region this past Wednesday pushed large amounts of Franklin's Gulls to the eastern half of the continent. An article on Ebird ( describes the fallout and includes several links, such as a map of recent sightings. Franklin's Gulls have been identified along the Virginia coast on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT), Island 1 on the CBBT, the pier at Kiptopeke State Park, and at Rudee Inlet.

Franklin's Gull by Island 1 on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel; November 13,2015. Photo by Ned Brinkley
~Katie Rittenhouse

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ash-throated Flycatcher

An Ash-throated Flycatcher was identified by Eli Gross at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch yesterday. The flycatcher, a rare visitor from the west, spent ten minutes perching on objects around the platform before flying away.
Ash-throated Flycatcher found on November 8, 2015 at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch. Photo by Brian Taber

~Katie Rittenhouse

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Oregon Junco

A Dark-eyed Junco Oregon form was found at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch feeders on October 16, 2015. More recently, on November 5, 2015; an Evening Grosbeak flew over the hawkwatch while calling. Both birds are rare on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

An Oregon Junco at the Kiptopeke Hawkwatch feeders on October 16, 2015. Photo by Ned Brinkley
~Katie Rittenhouse

Friday, November 6, 2015

Black Scoter

Most scoters detected on the baywatch are at least one mile out in the bay. Although, there are exceptions to this general flight line. One black scoter has been an exception for the past week. One individual has been seen foraging by the pound nets every morning. There were even two spotted only 50 ft from the beach the one day.
A close black scoter foraging by the pound nets. Photo by Katie Rittenhouse
~Katie Rittenhouse

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tundra Swans at Baywatch

Migration activity has greatly increased at the baywatch. A seasonal high count of 327 Northern Gannets were detected on Sunday, migrating south towards the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Migration activity has also increased for waterfowl; now totaling 17 species. The three tundra swans pictured below were floating and vocalizing in front of the baywatch today.

One of three Tundra Swans at that baywatch this morning. Photo by Katie Rittenhouse

~Katie Rittenhouse