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Last updated Thursday, November 8, 2007 7:19 AM

Delaware Valley Rare Bird Alert - Thursday August 16, 2007
brought to you from Philadelphia by the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and the Academy of Natural Sciences

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Current report - August 16, 2007


* PA, NJ, DE
* Delaware Valley: Southeast PA, Central/Southern NJ & DE
* PADV0708.02
* August 16, 2007

- Birds Mentioned
Great Knot (W. VA)
+ Roseate Spoonbill
+ White Ibis

+ (Details requested by NJBRC)
++ (Details requested by PORC)
+++ (Details requested by DERC)

Common Loon
Manx Shearwater(probable)
Cory’s Shearwater
Greater Shearwater
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
White Ibis
Mute Swan
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Green-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal
Wood Duck
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
American Kestrel
Northern Saw-Whet Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Common Nighthawk
Common Moorhen
Northern Bobwhite
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
American Avocet
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Eastern Willet
Western Willet
Marbled Godwit
Upland Sandpiper
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Baird’s Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Ruff (Reeve)
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson’s Phalarope
Red-Necked Phalarope
Laughing Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Hairy Woodpecker
Great Creasted Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood Pewee
Eastern Kingbird
Horned Lark
Red-eyed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Tree Swallow
Northern Roughed-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Purple Martin
Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Sedge Wren
Wood Thrush
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
Cedar Waxwing
Canada Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Prairie Warbler
American Redstart
Black-Throated Blue Warbler
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Canada Warbler
Black and White Warbler
Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Eastern Towhee
Lark Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Salt Marsh Sharp- Tailed Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
European Goldfinch (origin unknown)
Indigo Bunting
Blue Grosbeak
Rose- breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole

- Transcript

Hotline: Delaware Valley Rare Bird Alert
Email reports to:
Compilers: Mike Lyman, Paul Guris, Rob Hynson, and Tony Croasdale
Delaware Valley Ornithological Club
URL: http://www.dvoc.org/RBA/Current/Active/Index.htm

This is the Delaware Valley Rare Bird Alert, a service provided by the joint efforts of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC), covering the Delaware Valley Regions of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

I'm Michael Lyman, filling in for the vacationing Steve Kacir. For Thursday August 16, 2007 we highlight reports of GREAT KNOT (West Virginia), AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, WILSON’S and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, ROSEATE SPOONBILL, WHITE IBIS, and LARK SPARROW. Please note that the URL for the website has changed, and remember to check out the website for additional content and information: http://www.dvoc.org/RBA/Current/Active/Index.htm

In West Virginia on August 13 some lucky observers at the Winfield Locks and Dam were treated with views of an apparent GREAT KNOT. GREAT KNOTS breed in Siberia and primarily winter in Australia through Indonesia, if accepted this will be West Virginia’s first state record. The bird has not been reported since this date, for more information see:


Here is a range map of the Great Knot

Here are some pictures of the bird

For New Jersey:

The long staying ROSEATE SPOONBILL at the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR at Brigantine was last reported the evening of August 14. The bird deviated from its normal protocol of flying to the Gull Pond in the evening and instead landed closer to the start of the drive, very close to a group of birders looking in the opposite direction for a reported White Ibis. All observers were treated to close views of the SPOONBILL.

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR at Brigantine is still running hot this week. At least two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, one of which was a juvenile, were seen up to August 12 in the SW corner of the W Pool. STILT, WESTERN, PECTORAL, LEAST, SEMIPALMATED, WHITE-RUMPED SANPIPERS, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, WHIMBREL, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2/3 of which were juveniles, and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER have all been seen in the last week.

Non-shorebird sightings from the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR at Brigantine this week have included CATTLE EGRETS, along with SALT-MARSH SHARP-TAILED and SEASIDE SPARROWS, TRICOLORED HERON and two BLUE GROSEBEAKS, one of which was singing near the experimental pool. A LEAST BITTERN was seen in one of the small ponds just before the tire grate. Other reports include 20 or so BOBOLINKS along the dikes, a BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 4 juvenile YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, LITTLE BLUE HERON, and an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN. On the 13th a juvenile WHITE IBIS was seen feeding with a small group of GLOSSY IBIS at the beginning of the south dike.

A second WHITE IBIS, again an immature, was seen from the Skimmer (a wildlife tour boat sailing out of Cape May) at the Sunset Lake Rookery between Wildwood and Wildwood crest. Sunset Lake is off New Jersey Avenue in Wildwood Crest and the rookery itself is on an island on the west side of Sunset Lake (Delorme Atlas K-8). The Skimmer runs salt marsh cruises out of Cape May. Their web site can be seen at www.skimmer.com.

Higbee Beach on the morning of August 14 yielded 8 species of warblers, including a male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER and a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. Also at Higbee's on the 14th was a remarkable count of 57 BLUE-GREY GNATCATCHERS, 11 YELLOW WARBLERS, 4 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, 3 juvenile AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 1 PRAIRIE WARBLER, 40 or so EATERN KINGBIRDS, and up to 50 CEDAR WAXWINGS. The fields and hedgerows at Higbee's produced one WORM-EATING WARBLER and a LEAST FLYCATCHER.

Also in Cape May at the bunker pond (Cape May State Park), of note were 5 STILT SANPIPERS, 1 WESTERN SANDPIPER, and 5 fresh plumaged juvenile LEAST SANDPIPERS. A BAIRD’S SANDPIPER (adult) was reported here on August 16. On August 12 a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was seen flying by with a flock of SANDERLING at the state park. A HOODED MERGANSER was an unexpectedly early arrival at the new Plover Pond at The Nature Conservancy Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (The Meadows). Sea watching at Cape May Point produced 3 NORTHERN GANNETS and a single WILSON'S STORM-PETREL.

On August 11 a LARK SPARROW was reported at the Cape May State Park. It was observed at the first "new" metal bridge on the red trail. It was seen for a while in this area before it flew to the mud flat along Lighthouse Pond at the end of the creek. Click here for pictures of this bird on Karl and Judy Lukens's website.

On the 11th at Nummy's Island held a single MARBLED GODWIT, many RED KNOTS, a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and provided a side-by-side comparison of TRICOLORED and LITTLE BLUE HERONS.

At Woodbine Airport there were HORNED LARKS, an AMERICAN KESTREL and a pair of NORTHERN BOBWHITE in the afternoon, and an EASTERN-SCREECH OWL responded to some whistling.


On the 13 a first year BROWN PELICAN was at Stone Harbor Point. One of the first juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS of the season was also seen at Stone Harbor. 170 RED KNOTS were roosting on Champagne Island along with 9 feeding PIPING PLOVERS and hundreds of SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and SANDERLING.

At Stone Harbor point a PIPING PLOVER of the interior race (C. m. circumcinctus) was found roosting with a small flock of Atlantic PIPING PLOVERS on the morning of August 11. How many times has an interior race PIPING PLOVER been seen in NJ? Also on August 11, a female NORTHERN BOBWHITE, MARBLED GODWITS, 125 RED KNOT, 50 WILLETS (5 or so of the eastern race) were at Stone Harbor. At the nearby Champagne Island a COMMON LOON was hauled out pretty far up the beach.

On August 12, the Salem/Cumberland County. Sod Farms produced the following birds; Delea Sod Farm, a.k.a. East Coast Sod Farm (Salem Co.) held 200+ SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 6 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, KILLDEER, and numbers of SEMIPALMATED and LEAST SANDPIPERS. Johnson Sod Farm(Cumberland Co.) held 7 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS along Hannah's – Olivet Road and many KILLDEER along Grier's Lane. On August 14 an UPLAND SANDPIPER was seen along Rt. 77 at the north side of Hannah's – Olivet rd. Also in the area were 73 CATTLE EGRETS at the pond along Featherbed Lane. Another count at DeLea noted 220 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 150 KILLDEER, WHITE-RUMPED, LEAST, SEMIPALMATED, and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS.

At the Sunset Rd. area at Mannington Marsh 6 COMMON MOORHENS were seen. Also seen at Mannington were 13 LITTLE BLUE HERONS, including 12 adults and 1 immature.

On August 11 a nature walk in the Pine Barrens produced 22 GULL-BILLED TERNS and a GLOSSY IBIS at the Franklin-Parker Preserve. Several PURPLE MARTINS were still hunting over the bogs. Other birds seen and still being heard were EASTERN PHOEBE, EASTERN KINGBIRD, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE and GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER.

An interesting count of 7 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were found in Wharton Forest. This species seems to be irrupting this year in many other states in addition to New Jersey. Also seen in the area was a singing RED-EYED VIREO.

On August 11 a LEAST BITTERN and 5 GREEN HERONS were seen feeding at dusk in the main pit at Palmyra Nature Cove.

For Delaware:

Bombay Hook NWR was alive with shorebirds this past week. Notable birds included a REEVE, 2 WILSON’S PHALAROPES, LONG-BILLED DOWTITCHERS, and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS.


A BLACK TERN was reported over the bay at Ted Harvey Wildlife Area.

Two SEDGE WRENS were found on Saturday in Prime Hook NWR. Earlier in the week GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS were seen at Prime Hook.

A fishing trip out of Lewes found roughly 30 CORY'S SHEARWATERS, 1 GREATER SHEARWATER, a probable MANX SHEARWATER, 70-80 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS, and 2 NORTHERN GANNETS.

On the August 13, MARBLED GODWITS (2) were seen at Port Mahon Road, Little Creek. Also reported this day were 25 CASPIAN TERNS at 1000-Acre Marsh, Delaware City

Near Mt. Cuba on Barley Mill Road, there was some good migratory bird activity that included sightings of CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART, and a TENNESSEE WARBLER.

A CANADA WARBLER was seen at Flint Woods Preserve.

For Pennsylvania:

John Heinz NWR at Tinicum has hosted BOBOLINKS this past week. Most were seen in the wild rice area between the main impoundment and the 420 entrance, although one was reported near the Visitor’s Center. A SNOWY EGRET and LITTLE BLUE HERON (both juveniles) have joined the throngs of GREAT EGRETS and GREAT BLUE HERONS feeding on stranded carp. Shorebirds continue in impressive numbers with WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, STILT SANDPIPERS and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS being birds of note.

A COMMON NIGHTHAWK was heard on Wednesday night from the Market St Bridge in Philadelphia.

Church Rd Mudflats at Green Lane State Park continues to be a productive spot with up to 3 CASPIAN TERNS seen there on August 13. Also this day there were 8 species of shorebird encompassing multitudes of KILLDEER and LEAST SANDPIPERS, and lesser numbers of PECTORAL, SEMIPALMATED, SOLITARY and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS and SEMIPALMATED PLOVER. On the evening of the 15th an observer did not have any terns but 2 eclipse plumaged GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 2 COMMON MERGANSERS were present in addition to the continuing variety of shorebirds.

Reports had the following species at various stops in Bucks County:


Core Creek Park August 11 and 12 had 2 BALD EAGLES, GREAT EGRET (high count of 26 on August 11), GREAT BLUE HERON (high count of 11 on August 11), WOOD DUCK, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, BELTED KINGFISHER, and EASTERN KINGBIRD.

At the Lower Makefield Township Memorial Park, on August 11 one observer counted 50+ swallows (BARN, TREE, CLIFF, and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED) sitting in the parking lot. Also there this day were RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS.

On August 11 a low flying MERLIN was spotted over a woodworking
shop in Levittown.


The Saturday Bird Walk at Churchville Nature Center on August 11 reported DOUBLE-CREASTED CORMORANT, GREAT BLUE HERON, RED-TAILED HAWK,


At a home near Langhorne, a happy homeowner had a molting male RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH land on a feeder just 6 inches from their face!

Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust on the morning of August 10 had a good warbler fallout for this early in the season. Birds noted there were BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, AMERICAN REDSTART and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS. In trees by the creek bridge were a juvenile BALTIMORE ORIOLE, RED-EYED VIREO, and many CEDAR WAXWINGS.

On the morning of August 10 along Pennsbury Rd at Quaker Penn Park, in Falls Township an observer witnessed an OSPREY (1 of 3 or 4) carrying a stick longer than its body, with vines hanging from it. In researching, the observer found that Ospreys re-use their nests, and sometimes maintain a 2nd nest, making repairs all during the nesting and post-nesting season. Thanks Bill Keim for this little tidbit of avian knowledge! Other interesting birds noted here were, GREAT BLUE HERON, GREAT EGRET, LAUGHING GULL, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, EASTERN KINGBIRD, CEDAR WAXWING (noted to also be building a nest) and YELLOW WARBLER.

Morrisville Levee on the morning of August 13 had a COMMON LOON in 1st summer plumage underneath the Calhoun Street Bridge to Trenton. The bird was swimming within ten feet of the PA side, and the observer got within 20 feet of the loon. The observer noted that COMMON LOON is seldom seen this time of year around inland locations like Bucks County. Other species noted from here were 4 COMMON MERGANSER, 27 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, GREAT BLUE HERON, GREAT EGRET, a juvenile BALD EAGLE noted to be circling slowly right above the levee path, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 500+ NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, and CEDAR WAXWING.

Another COMMON LOON was reported on August 13, this bird in breeding plumage and found at the Tohickon launch ramps of Nockamixon State Park.

On August 12, an observer notes being woken up by the tooting sound of a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL in Levittown. Also this day in Levittown migrant warblers included BLACK-THROATED BLUE, AMERICAN REDSTART (female) and a CANADA WARBLER.

In Chester County an observer reports RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES. A few birds were heard singing on private property in SW Chester County on Saturday, August 11th.

In Eastern Berks County an observer had RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH calling at dawn on August 10. Also this day a WHIP-POOR-WILL was noted calling. Nocturnal flight calls from this area have included VEERY, WOOD THRUSH and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. An observer noted that RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD migration seems to be at peak in this area, with daily pulses of bickering birds at flowers and many feeder refills.

In Northampton County RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES are being seen mostly in the early mornings. Also here BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, and YELLOW and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS are putting in sporadic visits to the observer’s feeder area, as are INDIGO BUNTINGS. Also noted here was that RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity at feeders and flowers remain steady and high.

In Carbon County at the lower parking lot of Blue Mountain Ski Area in the town of Little Gap an observer found the following migrants on the morning of August 15; PHILADELPHIA VIREO, found foraging with WARBLING VIREOS, paused and sang for observer and WILSON’S WARBLER. Other birds noted here were BLACK-THRAOTED GREEN WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, 5 PRAIRIE WARBLERS, OVENBIRD, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, ORCHARD ORIOLE, SCARLET TANAGER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO.

On a last ditched try to beat the PA Breeding Bird Atlas safe dates for Eastern Screech Owl (last safe date considered to be August 15), one ardent observer found 39 calling EASTERN SCREECH OWLS in 12 Upper Bucks County blocks. Now that is dedication! Unofficially, Upper Bucks is the EASTERN SCREECH OWL capital of North America according to recent CBC stats.

On August 16, a report was received of a male EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH coming to a feeder near Core Creek Park in Langhorne. One well respected naturalist reminds us, we shouldn't just assume these Eurasian birds are recently escaped cagebirds. Any sightings should be documented and reported, since this may be the beginning of new breeding populations. (Or not; European goldfinches were established on Long Island in the early 20th century, and eventually died out.) Julie Craves at the Rouge River Bird Observatory in Michigan has been tracking European goldfinch sightings in the Midwest since a large importer apparently released many in 2002; her site is
http://www.umd.umich.edu/dept/rouge_river/eugo.html. She is also
tracking sightings of other Eurasian songbirds, including
chaffinches, Eurasian siskins and jays, which may also have been
released and which may now be breeding across eastern North America.


There is a DVOC field trip to Edwin B Forsythe NWR at Brigantine scheduled for August 18, which will meet at the refuge headquarters at 8:00 am. There is no field trip fee, and members and non-members are welcome to attend. Please contact the trip leader if you plan on attending. Details can be found on the website: http://www.dvoc.org

The next meeting of the DVOC is a special day at the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday, September 8, 10 am. Details are on the website, and guests are welcome.

See Life Paulagics will be running pelagic trips in the Delaware Valley region for the next month. Scheduled trips include an overnight trip out of Lewes, DE on August 23-24, a trip out of Belmar, NJ on August 26, and a September 16 trip out of Freeport, NY. These trips are all filled and names are being taken for a waiting list. Details can be found on their website at www.paulagics.com.

The Delmarva Ornithological Society is conducting research to study the American Kestrel in Delaware, estimating population size, identifying reasons for their decline, and developing strategies to stabilize the population or reversing the decline. Please report all summer Kestrel sightings in DE to the DOS website:


An agreement was reached concerning Palmyra Cove Nature Park with the Army Corps of Engineers, Bridge Commission and DEP. The ACE will deposit dredge spoils in only about 20 acres of the park, restricted to the big pit area. A berm will be built to preserve the pond.


The Delaware Valley Rare Bird Alert is a weekly report on birding in the Delaware Valley Region including Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. To report birds or significant upcoming birding events and planned pelagic trips, please email . This is Michael Lyman, good birding to you all and thanks for calling, surfing and reporting.


On this page....


  • Daily Field Checklist (A handy pocket list for your daily adventures. Available to everyone courtesy of the DVOC)
  • Delaware Valley Birding Checklist (A major publication covering status and distribution of Delaware Valley birds. Available to everyone courtesy of the DVOC)


General Guidelines for Submission

- Rarities
- Good concentrations (e.g. 8 sp. of shorebirds at Green Lane)
- High numbers (e.g. 2,000 Common Mergansers at Peace Valley)
- Early/late occurrences (1st Indigo Bunting, lingering Phoebe)
- Unusual breeders
- BRIEF report on out of area mega rarities(e.g. Red-footed Falcon or even a stint in MA)
- Announcements (DVOC meetings and field trips, Academy events, CBC dates and pelagics!)






What is the Delaware Valley?

The Delaware Valley is the name given to the region that lays on either side of the Delaware River, centered on Philadelphia. This consists of southeastern Pennsylvania, central and southern New Jersey and the state of Delaware.
The following counties fall within our boundaries.
(Click on a county name for information specific to the county)

In Pennsylvania;
Berks County
Bucks County
Chester County

Delaware County

Lancaster County

Lebanon County

Lehigh County
Montgomery County

Northampton County
Philadelphia County

Schuykill County

In New Jersey;
Atlantic County
Burlington County

Camden County

Cape May County

Cumberland County

Gloucester County

Hunterdon County

Mercer County

Middlesex County

Monmouth County

Northampton County
Ocean County
Salem County

Somerset County

Warren County

In Delaware;
New Castle County
Kent County

Sussex County



DVOC Rare Bird Alert Committee
Steve Kacir - Chair
Tony Croasdale
Bert Filemyr
Paul Guris
Rob Hynson
Mike Lyman
Nate Rice