North American Birds

VOLUME 68 NO4 2015

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/605532

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V O L U M E 6 8 ( 2 0 1 5 ) • N U M B E R 4 489 M i d d l e At l A n t i c chicks. Six Black-necked Stilts were at Queen Sound Channel, Accomack 6 Jul (JH). Ameri- can Avocet numbers at Craney rose from 2 to 77 birds from 5 Jun–31 Jul (RB et al.); singles were at Pleasure House Point, Virginia Beach 15 Jul (EO) and at Chinc. 21 Jul (MY). Four American Avocets were at Hunting Creek bridge, Fairfax 25 Jul (DL, DB); 2 were at Hog Island W.M.A., Surry, VA 30 Jul (FF, NM, ph. AD). The season high 900 Willets came from Chinc. 14 Jul (JBu, CM), probably mostly Western Willets. A Western Willet at Cavit's Creek Park, Tazewell, VA 19 Jul (CD) made a rare summer record for the Mountains & Valley region. With just one previous Virginia Mountains & Valley record, a Marbled God- wit at Willow Lake, Rockbridge, VA 29 Jul (JP) was exceptional. An imm. Marbled God- wit was unexpected at North Beach Marsh, Calvert 28 Jul (SS, m.ob.). A female Ruff was a one-day wonder at Craney 5 Jun (BW et al., ph. MSm). Only two reports of Wilson's Phalaropes came from each Maryland and Virginia: singles at Chinc. 21 Jul (JBu, CM), at Poplar Island, Talbot 9 Jul (TC), and at Truitts Landing, Worcester 23 Jul (TM), plus 3 at Craney 31 Jul (BW et al.). Red-necked Phalarope reports included 2 at Craney 5 Jun (BT, BW et al.), one at Chinc. 28 Jun (ph. AW, NM), and 3 at Craney 31 Jul (RB et al.). GULLS THROUGH FALCONS A molting Bonaparte's Gull was unexpected at Craney 12 & 20 Jun (AM et al.). The H.R.B.T. was the nest site for 3374 Laugh - ing Gull pairs, 20 Herring Gull pairs, and 10 Great Black-backed Gull pairs (RB et al.). The peak Lesser Black-backed Gull count in Virginia was 136 at Back Bay N.W.R./False Cape S.P., Virginia Beach 25 Jul (RLAk et al.). The V.D.G.I.F. organized the Virginia Atlantic Coast Least Tern Survey for the eighth con- Jun+ to the Thoroughgood section of Vir- ginia Beach, where 2 ads. were seen feeding a fedgling 31 Jul (TT, RBr). Although not re- ported during spring, single Mississippi Kites were at South Boston, Halifax, VA 2 Jun (PG) and 7 Jul (JB) and elsewhere in the s. por- tion of the county in early Jul (JB). Numerous observations of the species in s. Halifax since about 1987, sometimes of more than 10 birds per day, surely indicate local breeding, though nesting evidence has been elusive. Sharp-shinned Hawks are rare on the Coastal Plain during the summer, so four reports— one from Calvert, MD 17 Jul (JLS) and three from Dorchester 16 Jun–17 Jul (HTA)—were noteworthy. Unusual summer Broad-winged Hawk reports in the Coastal Plain came from near Onancock, Accomack 8 Jun (DM) and Freedom Park, James City, VA 6 Jul (BT). The C.C.B. conducted a comprehensive survey of potential Black Rail sites in Virginia, fnding only 2 birds at Saxis, Accomack (KRt, ZP, fde MW); the species is almost certainly Endangered in the state, though causes for its steady decline are not known. Two King Rails were heard at Crow's Nest Natural Area Pre- serve, Stafford, VA 6 Jun (MLo), and 3 were heard here 8 Jun (EM), indicating a poten- tial new Virginia breeding site. Single Kings were at Pohick Bay Regional Park, Fairfax 7 Jun (KG) and at Occoquan 20 Jul (MR). Two Virginia Rails were heard at Occoquan 4 Jun (PWB). A Sora in marshes at Cat Point Creek, Richmond 24 Jul (NS) furnished a rare sum- mer report. The Purple Gallinule discov- ered at Waynesboro, Augusta 25 May contin- ued through 13 Jun (TH et al.). A partially feathered juv. Common Gallinule at Craney 3 Jul (BW et al., ph. IC) provided the frst breeding confrmation there since the early 1980s and one of few for coastal Virginia in recent times. The twenty-ninth annual Virginia Plover Survey reported 245 pairs of Piping Plover and 29 pairs of Wilson's Plover, the majority on the n. Accomack Atlantic barrier islands (Assateague to Cedar). The Piping Plover total was 21% above the 203 pairs recorded in 2013; the Wilson's Plover total was one pair above the 28 noted in 2013 (fde RBt). Two American Oystercatcher pairs raised young on the H.R.B.T. (RB et al.), and fve pairs made nesting attempts on the n. end of Grandview Nature Preserve, Hampton, VA (MSm). At least 14 Black-necked Stilt pairs produced young at Craney. Four downy chicks were observed 8 Jun (FD et al.); re- cently hatched broods were noted as late as 24 Jul. The peak Black-necked Stilt count at Craney was 68 birds on 24 Jul (RB et al.) and included ads., fedged young, and 9 downy with at least 2 young being fed in the nest 22-31 Jul (ph. EO, m.ob.). An ad. male An- hinga was at Harwood's Mill Reservoir, York, VA 15 Jul (DY), where this species has be- come a consistent visitor in recent years. A Brown Pelican colony of about 800 pairs was at Wreck Island, Northampton, VA (fde DF) this season. A Brown Pelican colony at South Point Marsh, Accomack was monitored again this summer: 1000 chicks were banded by biologists, and Armistead estimated 1640 "fight capable" Brown Pelicans in the area 24 Jun. Amazingly, another Neotropic Cormo- rant was at Violette's Lock, Montgomery, MD 22 Jul+ (DC), giving this site its third record and the state its fourth. A coastal summer rarity, an American Bit - tern was a nice fnd at the junction of Rail - road Ditch and West Ditch, Great Dismal Swamp N.W.R., Suffolk/Chesapeake 11 & 20 Jun (NF et al.). Least Bitterns were moni - tored and detected weekly at Craney through 17 Jul, with a peak count of 5 birds on 26 Jun (RB et al.). A Least Bittern heard at Bentivar Marsh, Albemarle, VA 14 Jun (WL) made a good summer Piedmont record, where the species is rare and local. A Snowy Egret at Greenfeld Lake, Botetourt , VA 1 Jun (MS) made an exceptional Mountains & Valleys record; this species has been recorded there only as a rare transient and post-breeding summer visitor and never in Jun. Two White- faced Ibis visited Maryland: an ad. at Deal Island, Somerset 24 Jun (CG, MWa) and an imm. at Assateague S.P., Worcester 20 Jul (JoH, JaH). An ad. White-faced Ibis was at Chinc. 27 Jul (TJ et al., ph. BBa); the spe- cies has been reported annually there since about 1999. KITES THROUGH SHOREBIRDS Mississippi Kite reports drew observers 9 This long-staying Neotropic Cormorant was at Violette's Lock, Montgomery County 23 (here 26) July through 9 August 2014. It was accepted as the fourth record for Maryland. Photograph by Suleyman Uncu. The presence of an Anhinga along Blackwater Road, Chesapeake, Virginia was frst noted by Andrew Baldelli on 25 May 2014. A nesting female was subsequently observed by Keith and Karen Roberts on 21 (here 22) June 2014. Photograph by Ellison Orcutt.

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