Tag Archives: rarity

Brown Booby – Baltimore, MD

I was fortunate to catch up with the adult Brown Booby in Baltimore, Maryland a few months ago (September 27 to be exact – eBird Checklist). The adult is still being seen this week, which is surprising in itself. Will it ever leave? Emily Dunn, Matt Boone, and I saw the bird from the Baltimore Water Taxi Purple Line, where the boat captain was kind enough to motor slowly passed. Here are two of my favorite shots of the bird.

Brown Booby in Baltimore, Maryland on September 27, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Brown Booby in Baltimore, Maryland on September 27, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Brown Booby in Baltimore, Maryland on September 27, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

Brown Booby in Baltimore, Maryland on September 27, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.

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.


Link to Rufous-necked Wood-Rail Video!

Check out the footage of the MEGA Rufous-necked Wood-Rail from Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge over at 10,000 Birds! Cheers to Matt Daw on finding a first for the ABA! Be sure to check out the post on the ABA Blog for details.

Neotropic Cormorants at the Blythe Fish Ponds

This morning, the Tobins (Michelle and Jennifer), Bobby Wilcox, and I had two Neotropic Cormorants at the Blythe Fish Ponds in Blythe, CA. Who would’ve guessed the Blythe Fish Ponds would be in Blythe, CA? Anyway. Neotropic Cormorant is a review species in California. There was one individual present 1 March 2013 that David Vander Pluym and Lauren Harter of Phainopepla Fables found. Based on David’s photo here, I think these two birds are new. Both birds seen today were not missing or molting primary feathers like the one in David’s photos. Here are the photos of today’s birds. If you’re interested in looking for these birds or birding the fish ponds in general check out this Google Map I created: http://goo.gl/maps/bq5dy

Neotropic Cormorants - California

Neotropic Cormorant - California

Neotropic Cormorant - California

Neotropic Cormorant - California

Neotropic Cormorant - California

Neotropic Cormorants - California

Blythe Fish Ponds, Riverside, US-CA

Apr 18, 2013 7:55 AM – 8:34 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.4 mile(s)
Comments: Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.5.2
24 species

Cinnamon Teal  1
Redhead  6
Ruddy Duck  3
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Neotropic Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  10
Great Egret  9
Snowy Egret  4
White-faced Ibis  190
Turkey Vulture  6
Osprey  1
Common Gallinule  1
Black-necked Stilt  3
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Least Sandpiper  3
Long-billed Dowitcher  9
Rock Pigeon  2
Burrowing Owl  1
Cliff Swallow  25
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  15
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow-headed Blackbird  30
Great-tailed Grackle  15

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S13788527

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Pink-footed Goose at Peace Valley Park on 18 November 2012

Last night, August Mirabella posted to PABirds that he found a Pink-footed Goose at Peace Valley Park in Bucks County. He speculated that this could be the same bird the showed up in late November of last year. According to the Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee, or PORC, there are five previous records for the state.

Pink-footed Goose at Peace Valley Park on 18 November 2012

Since I was heading back to Delaware this morning, I was able to swing by Peace Valley Park to see the bird. There were many other birders on the scene when I arrived already scoping the bird. The bird was not being very cooperative for photos as it had it’s head tucked for the majority of my stay.

Pink-footed Goose at Peace Valley Park on 18 November 2012

Eventually the bird provided a few quick photo opportunities and I was able to capture a decent video despite a nasty glare.

Pink-footed Goose at Peace Valley Park on 18 November 2012

August Mirabella’s photos from last evening can be seen on his Flickr Photostream.

The video and photos were taken with a Samsung Stratosphere on a Vortex Skyline 80 Spotting Scope using the Phone Skope Universal Adapter set up.

Phone Skope makes custom adapters for any smartphone and spotting scope combination. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

#ABArare – Pink-footed Goose post on the ABA Blog.

Rufous Hummingbird in Lycoming County

Today an immature female Rufous Hummingbird was banded by Wayne Laubscher just outside of Muncy in eastern Lycoming county. The bird was first reported earlier in the week but confirmed as a Selasphorous hummingbird today. Steve Pinkerton and I spent a better part of the early afternoon photographing the bird, which was very cooperative. We were fortunate enough to see the bird hawking a few insects and resting on a snag as well. I was very excited as this was my first Rufous Hummingbird for Lycoming county. Here are a few of my better pictures.

Rufous Hummingbird (immature female)

Rufous Hummingbird–Kent County, Delaware

Brian McCaffrey discovered a beautiful male Rufous Hummingbird visiting his backyard two days ago on October 7. Fortunately, the bird stuck around long enough for Kyle Horton, Chuck Fullmer, and I to see the bird for ourselves. We arrived on site around 9:20 this morning and only had to wait for 15 minutes before we caught an unsatisfying glimpse of the bird. After 40 minutes of waiting, the bird was more active and we were detecting it by the sound of it’s wings as it flew around Brian’s backyard oasis. Another ten minutes rolled by and the bird presented itself for photographs on its usual perch.

Rufous Hummingbird, Kent County, Delaware on 10-9-2012

Rufous Hummingbird, Kent County, Delaware on 10-9-2012

Brian is also getting Pine Siskins and Purple Finches in his yard along with the suspected species that are listed in our eBird Checklist from the morning.

Brian is allowing birders to come see the Rufous Hummingbird, but those inquiring need to call beforehand to check on the status of the hummingbird. He does not want people walking around his yard without him there. You can contact him at (302) 359-0294. Here is a link to the location.

More photos of this bird taken by Chuck Fullmer and Brian McCaffrey can be viewed by clicking on their names.

There are quite a few sightings of Rufous Hummingbirds outside of their normal range. They appear to be the most vagrant prone hummingbird.

Rufous Hummingbird sightings reported to eBird this fall.