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Last updated Wednesday, April 2, 2008 3:36 PM

Delaware Valley Rare Bird Alert - Thursday March 27, 2008
brought to you from Philadelphia by the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and the Academy of Natural Sciences

The phone number to report sightings or hear the current RBA is 215-240-7547. You may leave your sightings after the recording or hit the one (1) key at any time to skip the recording and leave a message. The Hotline will be updated every Thursday afternoon and a weekend wrap-up update will be recorded every Monday morning. The Hotline will also be updated in the event any especially important rarities appear in the Delaware Valley Region such as Ivory Gull, Long-billed Murrelet, Red-footed Falcon, etc.

This spoken word version of the hotline is an abbreviated version of what's available here. Our current announcer for the RBA is Tony Croasdale, though, there will doubtlessly be others who contribute in this respect. Please call in and enjoy the Hotline, and feel free to call that number to report rarities.

Submit reports to or 215-240-7547
(Submission guidelines)

How can we make this RBA better? Submit your thoughts to

Current report - February March 27, 2008

- Birds Mentioned
Click Here for species accounts for many of these birds

Eared Grebe ++
Western Grebe (NY)
Western/Clark's Grebe ++
Mississippi Kite ++
Black-headed Gull ++
Brewer's Blackbird +
White-winged Crossbill (MD)

+ (Details requested by New Jersey Birds Records Committee)
++ (Details requested by Pennsylvania Ornthological Records Committee)
+++ (Details requested by Delaware Records Committee)

Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Northern Gannet
Great Cormorant
American Bittern
Cattle Egret
Glossy Ibis
Snow Goose
Tundra Swan
Trumpeter Swan
Black Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
Common Teal (Eurasian Green-winged Teal)
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
Black Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Bald Eagle
Rough-legged Hawk
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
American Golden-plover
Piping Plover
American Avocet
Pectoral Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
American Woodcock
Bonaparte's Gull
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Long-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Pileated Woodpecker
White-eyed Vireo
Common Raven
American Pipit
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Vesper Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Purple Finch
Common Redpoll
Evening Grosbeak

Hotline: Delaware Valley Rare Bird Alert
Email reports to:
Compilers: Steve Kacir, Mike Lyman, and Tony Croasdale - Delaware Valley Ornithological Club
Phone: (215) 240-7547
URL: http://www.dvoc.org/RBA/Current/Active/Index.htm

Welcome to 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 Steve Kacir your guide for birding in the Greater Philadelphia Region. For March 27, 2008 we highlight reports of BREWER’S BLACKBIRDS in Salem County, NJ; MISSISSIPPI KITE in Berks County, PA; BLACK-HEADED GULL & EARED GREBE in Dauphin County, PA; LITTLE GULLS in Kent County, DE & Lancaster County, PA; and EVENING GROSBEAKS & TRUMPETER SWAN in Monmouth County, NJ.

For New Jersey:

Cape May County:
On March 22, Cape May Harbor had 70 RUDDY DUCKS, 75 BUFFLEHEADS, 150 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, COMMON GOLDENEYE and RED-THROATED LOON. On March 21, five RED-THROATED LOONS were offshore from The Nature Conservancy Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (The Meadows), and a CATTLE EGRET was there on Sunday. Monday, 500 NORTHERN GANNETS were offshore of the refuge, while the refuge itself had an AMERICAN BITTERN. Six PIPING PLOVERS were found that day at the refuge and another was seen on March 26. (Click Here for pictures on Karl and Judy Lukens's Website) On RED-THROATED LOONS, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, 12 PURPLE SANDPIPERS, 200 BONAPARTE’S GULLS, RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and AMERICAN PIPIT flew past Cape May Point State Park on March 21. Three WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were at Cape May Point on March 26. That day, Sunset Lake in Wildwood had 37 HORNED GREBES. The Nature Conservancy property on Wilson St had nearly 50 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS on March 23. On March 26, The Villas WMA had 2 RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS (Click Here for pictures on Karl and Judy Lukens's Website), and a TRICOLORED HERON was at Reed’s Beach. Three SHORT-EARED OWLS were at Jake’s Landing on March 21, and two were there on March 26.

Cumberland County:
A RUFFED GROUSE was at Dividing Creek on March 25.

Atlantic County:
Edwin B Forsythe NWR at Brigantine had an AMERICAN BITTERN.

Ocean County:
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park continued to host PURPLE SANDPIPERS, 40 HARLEQUIN DUCKS, BLACK SCOTERS and LONG-TAILED DUCKS.

Monmouth County:
Four EVENING GROSBEAKS were at the mulberry tree parking area near the dam at Assunpink WMA on March 22-27. A COMMON TEAL (aka Eurasian Green-winged Teal was at a little bridge on Imlaystown Rd on the way to Assunpink from I-195. On March 21, an ICELAND GULL was at Point Pleasant Beach, and another was at the Shark River Inlet jetty. That day, Lake Como had several CANVASBACKS. The EURASIAN WIGEON was on Silver Lake in Belmar on March 22. South Amboy had 2 ICELAND GULLS on March 25. A TUNDRA SWAN was on Natco Lake on March 22. A PIPING PLOVER was at Monmouth Beach on March 23, and over 10,000 NORTHERN GANNETS were offshore on the previous day. Sandy Hook had a TUNDRA SWAN at the North Pond on March 24-25. On March 25 the Sandy Hook Migration Watch noted a WHITE-EYED VIREO.

Salem County:
A female and 2 male BREWER’S BLACKBIRDS were at the Freas Rd cow pasture in Pennsville on March 20. A ROSS’S GOOSE was in the Featherbed Lane SNOW GOOSE flock on March 22.

Gloucester County:
On March 24, the National Park overlook had 15 CANVASBACKS, and the dredge spoils area had 7 FOX SPARROWS. An AMERICAN BITTERN was at Wiggins Pond that day.

Middlesex County:
East Brunswick’s 2 TRUMPETER SWANS returned on March 25.

Mercer County:
The Pole Farm at Mercer County Park Northwest had 2 COMMON RAVENS on March 21, and 4 SHORT-EARED OWLS on March 24.

Somerset County:
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS were noted over the weekend.

Warren County:

Two REDHEADS were on Merrill Creek Reservoir March 22-23, and a COMMON LOON was there on March 23. A PINE WARBLER was at Merrill Creek on March 25.

For Delaware:

New Castle County:
Bucktoe Preserve had RUSTY BLACKBIRDS on March 25. GLOSSY IBISES were at Augustine Beach through the week. A PURPLE FINCH visited a feeder in Hockessin. Russell Peterson Marsh had 5 WILSON’S SNIPES on March 25. A BARRED OWL was found along Creek Rd at White Clay Creek State Park on March 25. On March 26, three LITTLE BLUE HERONS and a GLOSSY IBIS flew to the Pea Patch Island heronry, and a RED-THROATED LOON and BONAPARTE’S GULL were seen from the end of Clinton St. A KING RAIL called from the Thousand Acre Marsh that day, and a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was at Grier’s Pond on March 25.

Kent County:
Two LITTLE GULLS were in a BONAPARTE’S GULL flock bayside at Ted Harvey Wildlife Area on March 20, and a EURASIAN WIGEON was at the south end of the south impoundment on March 22. On March 21, a LITTLE GULL and 2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were on the beach at Kitts Hummock; another LITTLE GULL was seen there on March 26. A possible first cycle LITTLE GULL was at Tilcon Pond on March 21. On March 22, three RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and 12 WILSON’S SNIPES were seen from Kitts Hummock Rd. A BONAPARTE’S GULL, GLOSSY IBIS and CANVASBACK were in the area of Mallard Lodge on March 21. A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK flew by Woodland Beach on March 20. Woodland Beach WA had 5 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS on March 25 and an AMERICAN BITTERN & WILSON’S SNIPES on March 26. That day, Slaughter Beach had 7 AMERICAN AVOCETS. WILD TURKEYS were in a field along Route 1 between Little Heaven and St Jones on March 25. A PALM WARBLER was at Port Mahon Road on March 21. Bombay Hook NWR had AMERICAN PIPITS on March 21, and COMMON GOLDENEYE and LINCOLN’S SPARROW were there over the weekend. Other recent sightings from Bombay Hook NWR included HORNED GREBE, TUNDRA SWAN, CANVASBACK, SURF SCOTER, AMERICAN WOODCOCK, BARRED OWL and SALTMARSH SHARP-TAILED SPARROW. On March 25, Bombay Hook’s Shearness Pool had 6 PIED-BILLED GREBES and many WILSON’S SNIPES.

Sussex County:
MERLINS flew by the Cape Henlopen State Park Hawk Watch this week. BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCHES were behind the Cape Henlopen Nature Center. On March 23, a MERLIN was seen from the entrance road to Prime Hook NWR. The GREAT HORNED OWL nesting on an osprey platform at Prime Hook NWR’s Fowler Beach was seen on March 21. On March 23, Fowler Beach had RUSTY BLACKBIRDS at Fowler Beach Rd, ICELAND GULL at the beach, and PIPING PLOVER and 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS at the sod banks. That day, the flats north of Evans Ave in Slaughter Beach had 8 PIPING PLOVERS, and 75 AMERICAN AVOCETS were feeding in the bay. The Deep Branch Rd RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was seen on March 23 & 25.

For Pennsylvania:

Philadelphia County:
John Heinz NWR at Tinicum had PINE WARBLER, PALM WARBLER, 8 CANVASBACKS, HORNED GREBE and MERLIN on March 23. AMERICAN WOODCOCKS were noted at the refuge on March 22.

Chester County:
A SHORT-EARED OWL patrolled fields next to Struble Lakeon March 22. Longwood Gardens had a PILEATED WOODPECKER on March 23. Marsh Creek State Park had a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER on March 24. Two BLACK SWANS were seen from the Struble Trail in Downingtown.

Picture by Rosann Grose

Montgomery County:
A SHORT-EARED OWL flew by the Church Rd area of Green Lane ParkPark on March 21. A WILSON’S SNIPE was near Molasses Creek off Church Rd on March 22; an AMERICAN WOODCOCK called from that area the night before. On March 22, Green Lane’s Walt Rd area had BALD EAGLE, COMMON LOON, CANVASBACK and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. On March 20, HORNED GREBES and LONG-TAILED DUCKS were seen there.

Bucks County:
Core Creek Park had a HORNED GREBE and 300 TREE SWALLOWS on March 20. Bradford Dam had RUSTY BLACKBIRDS on March 22. GREAT CORMORANTS were on a channel marker across from Torresdale Manor on March 21. A PINE WARBLER and 15 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were at Silver Lake Nature Center on March 26. On March 22, Churchville Nature Center (see also)had HORNED GREBE, ICELAND GULL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS; the YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was at the Kelly Tract that day. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK and 2 VESPER SPARROWS were at the edge of a field near the Covered Bridge parking lot on Swamp Rd at Tyler State Park on March 24. Peace Valley Park had HORNED GREBE, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER and hundreds of flyby SNOW GEESE through March 22, and two CANVASBACKS were there on March 22. On March 24, Nockamixon State Park had 270 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS but only 50-60 on March 26, when Lake Nockamixon had 17 HORNED GREBES. Up to 4 ICELAND GULLS were seen at Nockamixon through the week.

Northampton County:
Green Pond had over 100 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS through the week, with a high count of 301 on March 26 when 3 ICELAND GULLS were also found there. On March 22, a HORNED GREBE was at the Gremar Rd retention pond, and they were seen at Christian Springs and Nazareth Quarry on March 23. The Koch property had WILSON’S SNIPES and displaying AMERICAN WOODCOCKS. On March 23, a CANVASBACK was at the Albert Rd Ponds, and 8 REDHEADS were at PP&L Martins Creek Preserve. That day, 2 COMMON GOLDENEYES were at the Portland Foot Bridge, and 2 BONAPARTE’S GULLS loafed on the Martins Creek Quarry. SORAS were found at School Rd and East Bangor Dam on March 23. Two LONG-EARED OWLS were at a pine stand in Lower Mount Bethel. On March 23, a SHORT-EARED OWL patrolled the Richmond Rd LTS Development Site, and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS called from National Park Drive. Tekening Nature Trail had a PINE WARBLER. On March 24, over 50 AMERICAN PIPITS were along Hillside Rd in East Allen Twp.

Schuykill County:
Up to 20 COMMON REDPOLLS continued to visit feeders in McAdoo.

Berks County:
Lake Ontelaunee had an ICELAND GULL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, REDHEAD and 28 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS on March 22. A MISSISSIPPI KITE flew past Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on March 26.

Lancaster County:
Middle Creek WMA had BALD EAGLES, TUNDRA SWANS, 3 REDHEADS and 4 CANVASBACKS on March 21. HORNED GREBES were noted at Middle Creek on March 21 & 26. On March 22, Octoraro Reservoir had RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, 4 CANVASBACKS; and a COMMON TEAL (aka Eurasian Green-winged Teal) was at the Mount Eden Rd area. On March 22, four LITTLE GULLS were with over 400 BONAPARTE’S GULLS at the Susquehanna River between Long Level and Wrightsville, and 2 LITTLE GULLS flew over the Route 462 bridge. That day, a LONG-TAILED DUCK and over 50 HORNED GREBES were at Long Level. Over 500 BONAPARTE’S GULLS were at the Conowingo Pond area of the Susquehanna River on March 22. On March 24, the Conejohela Flats had 5 LITTLE GULLS, 60 BONAPARTE’S GULLS, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, 6 TUNDRA SWANS and 2 CANVASBACKS.

PA Extralimitals:
A WESTERN/CLARK’S GREBE was near the causeway at Lake Pymatuning in Crawford County on March 23. The breeding-plumaged BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen on March 25-26. It was reported from just below the boat launch in Marysville and just upriver from the north end of North Main St. On March 26, an EARED GREBE was seen on the Susquehanna from West Fairview, Dauphin County.


A breeding-plumaged EARED GREBE was on the north side of the Point Lookout State Park causeway in St Mary’s County on March 24. Another EARED GREBE was on the bay north of 32nd St at Ocean City, Worcester County on March 22. On March 25, the WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL returned to the feeders it had previously visited in Silver Spring, Montgomery County. The bird can be seen from the Sligo Creek Pkwy: Look north towards the hill at the wooden deck with hanging feeders at the three sewer caps on the north side of the parkway.

A WESTERN GREBE was seen from Staten Island, Richmond County through March 26. The GREBE has been seen from the Mt Loretto area, Wolfe’s Pond Park, the Lemon Creek Bridge, Lemon Creek Park and the Lemon Creek Pier. This may be the same grebe that had been seen at Sandy Hook. A WESTERN TANAGER was in Central Park, New York County March 26-27.


On March 29, Frank Windfelder will lead a DVOC field trip to Southwest New Jersey’s Pedricktown and Mannington Marsh areas. The trip will meet at 6:15AM at Center Square Rd for American Woodcocks, but an alternate meeting place is at the Pedricktown Rd Causeway at 7:30AM. Target species include Ross’s Goose, Common Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Rusty Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Ruff, Cackling Goose and Sandhill Crane. Please contact Frank Windfelder if you plan on attending. Directions and a map detailing the meeting locations along with contact information for the trip leader are on the DVOC website: http://www.dvoc.org

The next meeting of the DVOC is on Thursday April 3 at 7:30pm at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, when David Errol Pattemore will present “On the Brink: Conservation of Endemic New Zealand Birds.” Colin Campbell will present an Ornithological Study entitled “New North American Birds - Expert Predictions and Actuality.” The meeting after that will be on April 17, featuring a program by Frank Windfelder and Yoav Chudnoff. Details are on the website, and guests are always welcome.

See Life Paulagics is running a pelagic trip out of Lewes, DE on April 5 and another out of Cape May, NJ on April 13. These trips hope to take advantage of the schools of baitfish that attract high counts of Northern Gannets and Gulls, which, in turn, could attract the attention of Great Skua. Additional target birds include Northern Fulmar, Common Murre, Razorbill, Red Phalarope, Sooty Shearwater and Jaegers. For more information, call 215-234-6805 or visit them on the web at http://www.paulagics.com

The second Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas kicks off this year. Please consider taking part in this massive citizen science project to study the map the distribution of birds breeding in Delaware and compare the data with that gathered by the first Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas from 20 years ago. For more information contact the BBA Coordinator, Anthony Gonzon at Anthony.Gonzon@state.de.us or (302)-653-2880.
More information is available at: http://www.fw.delaware.gov/BBA

A hybrid LESSER BLACK-BACKED X HERRING GULL hatched and was banded this past summer at Appledore Island in Maine. The bird has a large white-on-green “N02” band on the left leg, and a silver ring on the right. If you see this bird, please contact Bill Etter or email us at and we will forward the sightings to the interested parties. For photos of this gull, visit http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v230/billetter/Apple/

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 Steve Kacir, 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

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