Connecticut Warbler at McCabe Nature Preserve

Early this afternoon I found a Connecticut Warbler at McCabe Nature Preserve (eBird checklist). I think this is the first record for the preserve, which is located just outside of Milton, Delaware. I had high hopes of landing a Nashville Warbler or Blue-headed Vireo for my Delaware year list, but had no expectation of finding a Connecticut Warbler (CONW). The bird wasn’t acting like a textbook CONW (you know, skulky and hard to see), but was straight up chillin’ on bare branches in a young hardwood stand. Who goes out to find a Nashville Warbler and finds a Connecticut Warbler? Anyway, I don’t have much time to write so here are the photos.

The next three photos are a bit overexposed, but still get the job done.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Cape Henlopen SP

Taj Schottland and I spent Saturday morning at Cape Henlopen Sate Park scouring the veg for migrants. We found a Common Yellowthroat, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and two Red-eyed Vireos. Pretty lame, right? It got better as soon as we walked out to the beach near the hawk watch. We found a decent-sized flock of gulls resting on the beach containing Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring, and Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. There were five Lesser Black-backed Gulls mixed in with the flock. We later had two flyovers.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls are relatively common along the Delaware coast in fall and winter, but can be found year round.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls records for August through March. Credit – eBird.org

I cannot remember the ages of all five gulls, but I have photos of at least three different birds. Two adults and one immature bird. I don’t have much experience with ageing, but I think the immature bird is a second or third winter bird. Suggestions or corrections are greatly appreciated.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Second or third winter Lesser Black-backed Gull at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Cape Henlopen State Park on 28 September 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

The four bottom photos were digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter.

Again, let me know in the comments what you think about the ageing of these gulls. Thanks!

Until next time, bird hard my friends.

King Eider at Mispillion Inlet

Last Tuesday, Chris Bennett posted that he had a King Eider at Mispillion Inlet, AKA the DuPont Nature Center. He sent the report out around 2:00 PM, but I didn’t find out until Taj Schottland messaged me about an hour later. Luckily, Mispillion Inlet is only 25 minutes from my field house and Ben Zyla and I were on spot in no time. Chris was still there when we arrived and pointed us in the direction of the bird. Although distant and wrapped in heat haze, we had decent scope looks of our lifer King Eider!

King Eider at DuPont Nature Center (Mispillion Inlet), Kent Co, DE on 13 August 2013. Digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

We think this bird is an adult male in eclipse plumage. Compare the bird pictured above (I know it’s a terrible photo, but for what it’s worth) to this immature male that Alex Lamoreaux of Nemesis Bird photographed in Cape May earlier this year.

According to eBird, this represents the first August record of King Eider for Delaware. In fact, there aren’t many records for the northeast in August. There are records from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.

King Eider eBird Records for August. Credit – eBird.org

This is an exceptional sighting and is the only bird being reported in the east this month, August 2013. King Eiders breed in the arctic and winter along the northern half of the east coast and in southwest Alaska and the Bering Sea in the west. A quick look through eBird records shows about a dozen sightings, give or take, in Delaware, all-time.

It’s an unusual year for sea-dwelling waterfowl with Common Loons, Black Scoters, and Red-breasted Mergansers summering along the east coast. Some of these birds that are showing up now may have failed during the breeding season and dispersed early. Why do you think this is happening? Let us know in the comments!

Again, thanks to Chris Bennett for getting the word out quickly! Since the initial report, dozens of birders have twitched the eider. It is still being seen today, August 18.

One-a-Day eBird Challenge – How are you doing?

Robert introduced the One-a-Day eBird Challenge a year or two ago. Since then, I have made submitting an eBird checklist a top priority each day. I submit checklists from my yard, gas stations, grocery store parking lots, state parks, etc. You get the point, right? It’s not hard to submit one checklist each day, especially with BirdLog for iOS and Android. BirdLog is a necessity and should be on every birder’s smartphone. Check out Robert’s review of BirdLog here.

Continue reading here…

BirdsEye Hotspots App – Get it!

I’ve been beta testing BirdsEye Hotspots for iOS, a co-produced app by BirdsEye Birding and Nemesis Code, for a few weeks now. I use it multiple times a day when I’m birding. It comes in handy when I’m not entirely sure where a birding hotspot is located or when I want to bird somewhere new. The app is essential for a fun-filled, smooth day of birding! (P.S. This will be crucial for navigating to spots during a Big Day.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIRDSEYE HOTSPOTS: Worldwide hotspot finding

BirdsEye Hotspots is a simple tool for birders. It makes it quick and easy to find nearby hotspots so you can quickly get there and start birding!

  • County listers rejoice! Always know which county you are in and which county your hotspots are in.
  • Get driving, walking and transit directions to any hotspot worldwide in your favorite apps. Hotspots currently works with many of the popular map and navigation apps.
  • Link directly to the new BirdsEye apps to view local abundance charts of the birds found at each hotspot. (requires BirdsEye NA or any of the other regional BirdsEye apps)
  • One tap button to copy the latitude and longitude of a hotspot or your current location to quickly share with others.
  • Local weather data – you need to know what the conditions will be when searching for your next birding spot. That spot that is excellent in sunny conditions can be brutal when its stormy while rainy weather can prompt you to head to nearby lakes to look for waterfowl.
  • Sunrise and sunset times so you always know how much more daylight you have to twitch that rarity.
  • World wide access to eBird hotspots

Note: Requires WiFi or data connection to access hotspot data.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Every birder should own this app. For $4.99 you can’t beat it!

Get the app here!

Migration – It’s Starting!

US Composite for 1 August 2013.

Migration is starting all over the country. Shorebirds have been on the move the past few weeks, but now songbirds are on the move as well! I was not aware that songbird migration started this early, but it was brought to my attention that migration happens at Higbees Dike year round. Sam Galick witnessed a decent morning flight of passerines on July 30th. He had a lone Louisiana Waterthrush, five Northern Waterthrushes, four American Redstarts, and an impressive count of 53 Yellow Warblers! Be sure to check out the eBird Checklist for his count.

Yellow Warblers

Yellow Warblers in morning flight at Higbees Dike, New Jersey, on 30 July 2013. Photo by Sam Galick.

Migrants should be trickling south through the northeast and upper midwest throughout the month of August and will begin to heat up near the end of August and into September. Here’s this week’s update from BirdCast:

“Scattered precipitation begets a slow start to many areas of the region this weekend, with light movements occurring where it is dry. However, portions of the western Great Lakes show signs of more movements to come, with favorable conditions that facilitate light to moderate movements there early in the weekend building South and East to begin the week. However, as high pressure moves off the Carolina coast, precipitation returns to shut down migrants in most places, again with the exception of portions of the western Great Lakes where light movements continue. This precipitation is tracking a low moving East across Canada, and as it departs more northerly flow builds over parts of the region. As this happen late in the week, more favorable conditions are in place for light to moderate movements to occur in areas free of precipitation. Birds on the move this week include Blue-winged Teal, early Ospreys, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers, Solitary, White-rumped, and Pectoral Sandpiper, Yellow Warbler, and American Redstart.”

American Redstart

American Redstart at Higbees Dike, New Jersey, on 30 July 2013. Photo by Sam Galick.

What have you been seeing? Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers have been increasing in numbers along the Delaware Bayshore. Pectoral, Solitary, and White-rumped Sandpipers have been around for a week or two now, but not in significant numbers.

For Fall Migration Updates, check out the following links:

Upper Midwest – Woodcreeper.com by David La Puma
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula - The Northwoods BIRDAR by Max Henschell
New England - Tom Auer’s blog
Florida/SE - Badbirdz Reloaded by Angel and Mariel Abreu
PA/Ohio Valley - Nemesis Bird by Drew Weber
NW Ohio - Birding the Crane Creek by Kenn Kaufman
Pac NW - Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth
Continental US - eBird BirdCast Forecast & Report by Team eBird

Bombay Hook NWR 7/6/2013

Northern Bobwhite at Bombay Hook NWR on 6 July 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

I met Kyle at Bombay Hook NWR this morning for a few hours of birding. I needed to pick up some year birds and also start sifting through migrant shorebirds for anything unusual. We didn’t find anything phenomenal, but did pick up the continuing Dickcissel, my lifer Acadian Flycatcher, and 72 other species! Here’s the complete list with Delaware year birds in bold:

Bombay Hook NWR, Kent, US-DE
Jul 6, 2013 6:50 AM – 10:11 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 mile(s)
Comments: Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.1
74 species

Canada Goose  46
Tundra Swan  1
Mallard  2
Northern Bobwhite  3
Great Blue Heron  6
Great Egret  24
Snowy Egret  8
Little Blue Heron  1
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1
Glossy Ibis  40
Turkey Vulture  3
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Clapper Rail  1
Killdeer  2
Black-necked Stilt  7
American Avocet  4
Greater Yellowlegs  15
Lesser Yellowlegs  75
Semipalmated Sandpiper  73
Short-billed Dowitcher  305
Laughing Gull  150
Caspian Tern  7
Forster’s Tern  25
Mourning Dove  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  4
Eastern Wood-Pewee  4
Acadian Flycatcher  4
Great Crested Flycatcher  2
Eastern Kingbird  3
White-eyed Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  2
Purple Martin  25
Tree Swallow  100
Barn Swallow  1
Carolina Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  2
House Wren  4
Marsh Wren  15
Carolina Wren  1
Eastern Bluebird  2
Wood Thrush  2
American Robin  7
Gray Catbird  4
Northern Mockingbird  1
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  1
Cedar Waxwing  2
Ovenbird  1
Common Yellowthroat  26
Yellow Warbler  1
Yellow-breasted Chat  6
Eastern Towhee  7
Chipping Sparrow  2
Field Sparrow  3
Grasshopper Sparrow  7
Seaside Sparrow  1
Swamp Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  2
Blue Grosbeak  10
Indigo Bunting  16
Dickcissel  1
Red-winged Blackbird  500
Common Grackle  30
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Orchard Oriole  2
Baltimore Oriole  2
American Goldfinch  9
House Sparrow  1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14583184
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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Phone Skoped photo of Northern Bobwhite © Tim Schreckengost 2013