Tag Archives: iPhonescoping

Brambling – Medina County, Ohio

On December 30th, Katie Barnes and I set out to twitch two ABA rarities, Kelp Gull and Brambling, before trying to get her additional year birds. More on the Kelp Gull later. We arrived at Allardale Park in Medina County, Ohio to find 30 or so birders staking out the feeder station for the Brambling. We waited, waited, and waited some more. The bird finally showed itself in the top of a Sweetgum after an hour of waiting, but only gave brief looks before flying off. While we waited for it to return, we enjoyed excellent views of Mourning Dove, House Finch, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and a variety of other birds visiting the feeders.

Finches at Allardale Park, Medina County, OH on December 30, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Finches at Allardale Park, Medina County, OH on December 30, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

After a short, cold wait, the Brambling returned to the feeder station, but this time stuck around for a couple of minutes, giving the crowd the desired look and providing a decent photo opportunity. It was well worth the wait! Here are two of my best digiscoped shots of the bird.

Brambling at Allardale Park, Medina County, Ohio on December 30, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Brambling at Allardale Park, Medina County, Ohio on December 30, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Brambling at Allardale Park, Medina County, Ohio on December 30, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Brambling at Allardale Park, Medina County, Ohio on December 30, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Observing this bird without ticking anyone off is somewhat of a challenge, so here’s a map of where to park (red pin), where to stand (yellow pin), and the feeder station the bird visits (blue pin). Click on each pin for more information.

Let me know if you have any info to add to the map. I hope this helps clear up some confusion about seeing the bird as there have been many posts to the Ohio Birds listserv about it.

December Highlights – A Glorious Day of Birding in New Castle County

The plan for the day was to check out the Ashton Tract of Augustine Wildlife Area and then to chum for gulls at Augustine Beach. That all changed when Alan Kneidel, Tim Frieday, and I crossed Reedy Point Bridge to find a large flock of geese in a corn stubble field. Every time we see a flock of geese, we have to check it out. It’s like a game of “Where’s Waldo.” There is usually a “waldo” in the flock, but it may take some time to find it. Anyway, we searched and scanned, but came up empty on the goose front. We did, however, hear two Sandhill Cranes calling from somewhere within or around Thousand Acre Marsh!

Canada Geese at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Canada Geese at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

The effort was not “empty,” and actually paid off as we discovered the landbird activity was phenomenal in the thickets adjacent to the road, which was part of the C&D Canal Wildlife Area (eBird Checklist). Along the edge, we encountered a number of uncommon birds for December, including Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray Catbird, Fox Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, and Baltimore Oriole.

We worked the roadside thickets for a while, then proceeded down a trail that lead to what we call “The Salina.”

C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

We pushed birds the entire length of the trail, encountering Ruby-crowned Kinglet and many, many White-throated, Song, and Savannah Sparrows. Brown Thrasher and White-crowned Sparrow were also good ticks.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

At the end of that trail, we stumbled upon a massive mixed-species flock of sparrows. Mixed in were a handful of American Tree and White-crowned Sparrows (uncommon for the most part in the state), numerous White-throated and Song, and a bunch of Savannah Sparrows.

American Tree Sparrow at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

American Tree Sparrow at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

We progressed towards the Delaware River, picking through the flock of sparrows. Eventually, the flock dissipated, allowing us to make a run for the river with few(er) distractions.

C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

At the river, Alan picked out a Great Cormorant (uncommon in the county) flying upriver and a Marsh Wren sounded off. There was no waterbird movement on the river and landbird activity slowed dramatically on the walk back, so we decided to move on to the next location.

Alan and Tim Frieday scanning the Delaware River at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Alan and Tim Frieday scanning the Delaware River at C&D Canal Wildlife Area on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Our next stop was the Ashton Tract of Augustine Wildlife Area (eBird Checklist). Our primary goal here was to study the continuing Glossy Ibis and tick the immature Little Blue Herons that have been hanging around. Alan immediately found the ibis and the herons, which fortunately were close enough for a thorough study session.

Little Blue Herons at Ashton Tract (Augustine Wildlife Area) on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Little Blue Herons at Ashton Tract (Augustine Wildlife Area) on December 12, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Glossy Ibis at Ashton Tract (Augustine Wildlife Area) on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Glossy Ibis at Ashton Tract (Augustine Wildlife Area) on December 12, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Otherwise, Ashton Tract was relatively slow, but we did manage a few new waterbird species for the day, including Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, and American Coot.

American Coots at Ashton Tract (Augustine Wildlife Area) on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

American Coots at Ashton Tract (Augustine Wildlife Area) on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Augustine Beach was next (eBird Checklist). We were extremely pumped to bird at Augustine Beach because we planned on chumming for gulls. We had a trash bag full of freshly-popped popcorn, saltines, and a variety of other goodies. While we roped in almost 200 Ring-billed Gulls, most other species weren’t interested.

Ring-billed Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Ring-billed Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Ring-billed Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Ring-billed Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

After nearly 45 minutes of chumming, we drug in a few other species, including Herring, Great Black-backed, and Laughing Gull.

Herring Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Herring Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Great Black-backed Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Great Black-backed Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Laughing Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Laughing Gull at Augustine Beach on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Tim (the other Tim) managed to pick out a female-type Black Scoter sitting on the water at a distance. We later saw the same bird flying upriver towards Delaware City.

Augustine Beach was supposed to be our last stop, but we made a last minute decision to check on the continuing Red-headed Woodpeckers at Lums Pond State Park (eBird Checklist). Before we could make it into the park, we found another flock of geese. Of course, we had to spend a few minutes picking through it, but were unable to turn up anything notable.

We then made our way to Area 1, where the woodpeckers have been seen almost daily for a couple of weeks now. The beach at Area 1 is a great place to scan the pond, but today the water was void of avian life.

Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

As we were scanning the pond, we heard one Red-headed Woodpecker. The bird was very active, which made documenting difficult. I did manage a few video clips, in which I grabbed this still shot from.

Red-headed Woodpecker at Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Red-headed Woodpecker at Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

As the bird above was foraging and caching, we heard another bird call behind us. We were able to track this bird down, which was gorgeous in its own right as it had an almost complete, red head.

Red-headed Woodpecker at Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Red-headed Woodpecker at Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

We watched the two woodpeckers for a while and as we were doing so, a number of other birds joined in a flock-like fashion, including Red-bellied, Downy, and Hairy Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Dark-eyed Junco, Eastern Bluebird, and more. On the way out, we were graced by the presence of this beautiful Merlin.

Merlin at Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Merlin at Lums Pond State Park on December 12, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Overall, this ended up being one of my all-time favorite days of birding in Delaware. Unfortunately, this may have been my last day of birding in the First State as I am leaving the state on Tuesday. My wife and I are moving to Grove City, PA, where we’ll start the next “chapter” (more on that later).

Rufous Hummingbird – Jefferson County, PA

On the 1st of November, I woke up shortly after sunrise. My goal for the day was to drive from to Brookville, PA to twitch a continuing male Rufous Hummingbird. I have seen very few Rufous Hummingbirds in Pennsylvania, so I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to score a Jefferson County tick! The bird didn’t take long to show itself and hit the feeder a few times, but then spent several minutes perched in a shrub. Here are some of my favorite digiscoped shots of the wintering hummingbird (eBird Checklist)!

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd.--Jefferson Co, Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd., Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd.--Jefferson Co, Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd., Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd.--Jefferson Co, Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd., Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd.--Jefferson Co, Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Rufous Hummingbird at Moore Bridge Rd., Jefferson Co, PA on November 1, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Check out this bonus video as well!

Photos and video digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter via Phone Skope Bluetooth Shutter.

Bar-tailed Godwit at Chinc – Twice!

During the month of August, I made the hour and a half drive to Chincoteague NWR, twice. The reason for both trips was to see the MEGA – Bar-tailed Godwit. The first trip took place on August 5th, where I met up with studs like Alex Lamoreaux and Tom Johnson as well as a dude doing a Big Year (you’ve all seen the movie, right?) and several other folks I’ve never met before.

Before I started the drive, Alex texted me that the bird was not refound, yet. I decided to make the drive anyway, just to meet up and bird with friends I only get to see every couple of months. When I rolled into the parking area at the Tom’s Cove Visitor’s Center, I saw Alex and proceeded to shoot the you know what for about fifteen minutes. I then suggested we walk across the road to look in Swan Cove as I saw several large shorebirds in the pool when I drove in. We walked over and started scanning through the birds – “Willet. Dowitcher. Marbled Godwit. Hey, wait, what is that dowitcher-type bird with a bicolored bill? Oh man, that’s it!” We jumped for joy as we drooled at the sight of this European rarity. OK, so maybe we didn’t drool, but I know Alex was close. We watched the bird for over an hour and got exceptional scope looks.

Bar-tailed Godwit (ssp. lapponica) - Virginia

‘European’ Bar-tailed Godwit at Chincoteague NWR, Virginia on 5 August 2013. Digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

The second round ensued on August 24th. After a morning of bird surveys, Ben Zyla and I made the trek down to Chinc. Ben was looking to add the bird to his growing ABA year list. Again, we rolled up to the Tom’s Cove Visitor’s Center and started scanning Swan Cove. A few other birders were there and had already spent several hours searching for the bird. Discouraged and having no luck with the MEGA, Ben did what any sensible birder would do – look through flocks other than the flock of Marbled Godwits we stared at for what seemed like hours. Boom. He found it. The Bar-tailed Godwit was mixed in with a nice, tidy flock of Willets.

‘European’ Bar-tailed Godwit at Chincoteague NWR, Virginia on 24 August 2013. Digiscoped with an iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Epic. Ben was stoked, as were the the rest of the bird nerds present. We watched the bird for an hour or so. It took flight several times and flew over to Tom’s Cove, then came right back. Eventually it decided to chill with it’s own kind – Marbled Godwits, and that’s when we hit the road back to Milton.

Bar-tailed Godwit (ssp. lapponica) - Virginia

‘European’ Bar-tailed Godwit and Willet at Chincoteague NWR, Virginia on 24 August 2013. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Two for two. I consider that a success. Until next time, bird hard my friends.

THE TUBENOSE THAT LOST ITS WAY…

I would like to introduce Bobby Wilcox, a good friend of mine, who just got started in field ornithology. I had the pleasure of working with him this spring in Blythe, CA and along the lower Colorado River. Recently, Bobby found Arizona’s second state record of Sooty Shearwater. Here’s his story!

Part of what makes me a birder is that I love looking at any bird, all the time.  If one is out there looking and paying close enough attention they are bound to witness beautiful moments perpetrated by the commonest of birds that might otherwise be overlooked.  A proud father House Sparrow feeding his new baby discarded crumbs from your breakfast table.  A mother American Coot tirelessly scouring the bottom of a pond to bring up tasty morsels for her two begging zebra striped fuzz balls.  While these moments are precious and wonderful, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of what keeps me going out there to the same spots day after day is the possibility of stumbling upon a diamond in the rough.  I think every birdwatcher, from casual to maniacal can relate to the thrill of getting an unexpected lifer or encountering a cryptic bird and then feverishly sketching notes and details and putting your Sibley through its paces in search of a positive ID.

When I left my house in Yuma, Arizona at 6 a.m. the other day my plan was to get in a couple hours of birding, scour the countryside for flooded agricultural fields (notorious shorebird traps in the desert), hit up nearby Mittry Lake and maybe pick up a few terns or early migrant ducks and head home before 10 a.m. so I could get in a jog before the temps topped 100 degrees.  My first stop was a flooded field that had been draining for days leaving mudflats behind.  The shorebirds were abundant and fairly diverse and I was excited to pick up my first Snowy Plovers of the year, figuring this would probably be my ‘best’ bird of the day.  As I was getting ready to head out it started blowing up a gale and I had to retreat to my car lest my optical equipment (including my eyes) get sandblasted.  I thought to myself that this was perhaps an inauspicious omen for my planned morning of birding and briefly considered heading home.  In the end I decided to try Mittry Lake anyway since it was somewhat sheltered by mountains and as I recall, I really didn’t have anything better to do.

Half an hour later I pulled into a favorite spot of mine that looks out on a big open expanse of lake as well as a marshy area with a hidden pond that is sheltered from the main body of the lake.  By this time I can pretty much enter my eBird checklist without even getting out of my car (6 Western/Clark’s Grebes, 50 Coots, 2 Least Bitterns, 2 Green Herons, 1 Snowy Egret, a few Pied-billed Grebes, Loggerhead Shrike, flyover flock of White-faced Ibis, etc., etc.) but I always stop there anyway because there are lots of birds and you just never know what you might see.  So I set up my scope and started tallying up the usual suspects when half a kilometer off in the distance something caught my eye.  When I locked onto it with the naked eye I just saw a fairly large brown bird with long wings fly low over the surface of the water and then come in for a landing on the surface.  My first thought was cormorant but when I zeroed in with the scope it was clearly not a cormorant.  From that distance it appeared to be gull-shaped with a gull-like bill so this is the point from which I began my ID process.  It would be a phenomenal understatement to say that gulls are not my specialty so I decided to use this rather cryptic bird as an opportunity for study since it was the only bird there that I hadn’t seen 100 times already.  I took out my notebook and began to scribble down features: gull-like, dark brown overall, all dark head with a very clean, sleek look, bill somewhat lighter at the base and dark at the tip, throat and breast feathering a bit lighter brown than back, wingtips also darker than back, seen initially flying low over water then landing and floating.  This is what I wrote down as I popped on my scope adapter and iPhone and let the cameras roll.  Once I had some notes down I cracked the Sibley and started sifting through the options.  At this point I was pretty convinced it was a juvenile gull so I’m leafing through the gull section giving closer examination to the ones with potential.  I narrowed it down to Herring Gull, California Gull and Heermann’s Gull but I couldn’t convince myself that any of them quite fit.  A few times I almost decided to pack it in and just send the pictures to my gull-obsessed friend David Vander Pluym but as I was mulling this option over in my head the bird kept floating closer and as I mentioned before, I had nothing better to do, so I kept watching and videoing.  When it approached to within about 150 m I began to get the suspicion that there was more to this ‘gull’ than I had originally surmised.  Upon closer inspection I began to notice a peculiar structure at the base of its upper bill and thought, ‘No, this can’t possibly be a tubenose, can it?’.  I’d never even seen a tubenose before but I was well aware that they are open ocean birds so if I was indeed seeing one on a tiny lake in SW Arizona, this bird was pretty far from home.  I went back to Sibley with a new focus and kept watching the bird, all the while becoming more convinced of its true identity.  Then all of a sudden I was blessed with the moment I’d been waiting for as the bird lifted it’s long narrow wings to reveal a bright silvery white panel on its underwing (sadly my phone had died by this point due to all the previous videoing).  Sooty Shearwater!!

Sooty Shearwater at Mittry Lake, Yuma Co, AZ on 5 August 2013. iPhone photo by Bobby Wilcox.

Or at least I was pretty sure based on my incredibly limited knowledge and the agreement of the field guide with my observations.  Shortly after the fortuitous wing lift, it took off and skimmed the water for a few hundred meters before landing again near the shore.  I hurriedly packed up my gear to drive over and get a closer vantage.  Unfortunately there was a car in front of me on the way over and I think it flushed the bird and by the time I got there the bird was nowhere to be found.  The wind was whistling by this time so he must have just lifted off and caught a breeze back home.

Sooty Shearwater at Mittry Lake, Yuma Co, AZ on 5 August 2013. iPhone photo by Bobby Wilcox.

I puttered around the area for a while but came up dry so headed home to pull some screen shots from my video and get them out to some experts to make sure I wasn’t just making this all up.  It took the aforementioned David Van der Pluym and partner Lauren Harter, two Southwest birding luminaries, about 2 minutes to verify my suspicions and excitedly inform me that they were immediately driving down from Lake Havasu City (3.5 hours away) to try and resight it.  Sadly, the combined efforts of the three of us and local birding superstar Henry Dutwiler and his wife failed to produce the bird but another open ocean bird, the Brown Booby, was found just a few miles north of my initial Shearwater sighting.  It would seem that these birds were probably just enjoying a leisurely soar over the Sea of Cortez, a hundred odd miles south of here, when the wind kicked up and they just happened to be at the wrong altitude and before they knew it they were on a podunk lake in the middle of the desert.  This is a fairly common phenomenon that often occurs during tropical storms and the like but can obviously also happen on really windy days with no storm in sight (see David and Lauren’s blog for more detailed info on this topic – http://phainopeplafables.com/2013/08/07/inland-seabirds/).

So the moral of the story is, when the weather sucks, go birding anyway!  You might just get lucky and find yourself in the right place at the right time.  And to top it all of it turns out this was only the second state record for Sooty Shearwater and the first one was found dead so it’s kind of like the first and a half record.  First tubenose, lifer and second state record all in one bird…not too shabby.

Check out Bobby’s photos on the AZFO Photo Documentation page as well.

Good birding!
Bobby Wilcox

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in southern Delaware!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in Rehoboth, DE on 18 July 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

A pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were first reported on July 15 at King’s Creek Country Club in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are casual vagrants in Delaware with eight previously accepted records.

Image provided by eBird (www.ebird.org) and created 31 July 2013.

Looking at eBird records (pictured above), Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks are common vagrants throughout the eastern half of the country. There was a single bird in northern Maryland during the same time the birds in Rehoboth Beach were present. Golfers at the country club said that there were five birds present, but birders only observed two, max. I was fortunate to see only one of those birds. It took me about a dozen tries and a few afternoons/evening of solid birding to find one. I think only three other birders were able to track down this bird.

 

 

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks seek refuge in marshes in the southern US, feed on aquatic plants, grains, grass, insects, and mollusks, and nest in tree cavities.

During my visit, I watched the bird from a distance for about five minutes. It was not associating with the flock of Canada Geese directly, but outside of the golf course it most likely was. It spent most of its time feeding during my stay, but also started calling as I was leaving. It was doing a similar call to the recording below:

I was able to obtain a decent digiscoped video from a distance with my iPhone 4S + Celestron Regal M2 80ED & Phone Skope Adapter (Watch on 1080p for best quality).

This bird was gave me 388 for my ABA Year List and 199 for my Delaware Year List. I dipped super hard on it in southeast AZ and all of my searching/recon in southern Delaware paid off. It is a great addition to my Delaware Life List, which is now at 243. Here’s to hoping more vagrants start showing up in Delaware!

Literature Cited:

Andrew Spencer, XC102174. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/102174.

James, J. D., and J. E. Thompson. 2001. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis). In The Birds of North America, No. 578 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Sullivan, B.L., C.L. Wood, M.J. Iliff, R.E. Bonney, D. Fink, and S. Kelling. 2009. eBird: a citizen-based bird observation network in the biological sciences. Biological Conservation 142: 2282-2292.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/black-bellied_whistling-duck/id

Birding The First State – Back at it!

Up now at Birding is Fun!

Sunset at Broadkill Marsh on 3 July 2013. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.