Birds in Delaware

Birdline Delaware

Rare Bird Alerts - May 20, 2016

To Report: Andy Ednie 302-792-9591 (VOICE)
Compiler/Transcriber: Andy Ednie (
Coverage: Delaware, Delmarva Peninsula, nearby Delaware Valley, Southern New Jersey, Maryland

For Friday, May 20th, this is Birdline Delaware from the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Greenville. The unofficial Delaware year list increased to 297 species this week. This has been one of the better spring migrations on record, with 30 species of warbler seen this week.

MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen in two locations in Delaware. One was seen flying over Middle Run Natural Area near Newark on Monday. Another MISSISSIPPI KITE was reported at Big Stone Beach Road and Milford Neck Wildlife Area yesterday. Also reported was a SWALLOW-TAIL KITE at the Cape Henlopen Hawkwatch in Cape Henlopen State Park on Saturday afternoon.

There were two sightings of WHITE IBIS at opposite ends of the state. Eight WHITE IBIS, including one sub-adult were seen flying in to the Rehoboth Marshes south of Dewey Beach in Delaware Seashore State Park on Saturday. This area is located on the bayside of Route 1 between Key Box and Conquest Road. There's lots of activity in this area, other birds seen included TRICOLORED, LITTLE BLUE, and GREEN HERON, plus 50 SNOWY EGRETS and 25 OSPREY. GREEN HERON was also seen flying over Dewey Beach. Another WHITE IBIS was seen again behind Kathy's Restaurant in Delaware City along Route 9. The WHITE IBIS was seen with several GLOSSY IBIS and 30 CATTLE EGRETS.

The Heron census at Veteran's Park by the ABA headquarters in Delaware City had 3 BLACK CROWNED and 2 YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, along with 52 GREAT EGRETS, 54 LITTLE BLUE HERONS, 270 CATTLE EGRET, and 240 GLOSSY IBIS. Also reported were 4 BALD EAGLES, 6 OSPREY and a PEREGRINE FALCON, plus SPOTTED SANDPIPER and large flocks of 200+ SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, along with WOOD DUCK, PURPLE MARTIN, BANK, and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW.

Flycatchers finally arrived this last week. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen yesterday at Ashland Nature Center near Hockessin. Also reported at Ashland this week was WILLOW and LEAST FLYCATCHER on Sunday. WILLOW FLYCATCHER was also reported at Harry's Pond in Brandywine Town Center, the Ag Farm in Newark, at Bombay Hook, and Cape Henlopen State Park.

Other reports from Ashland included a BROAD-WINGED HAWK on Sunday plus migrating DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT. YELLOW-THROATED and WARBLING VIREOS were found along the creek bottom. WARBLERS seen included WILSON'S, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED BLUE and GREEN, and YELLOW. Other rarities included SWAINSON'S THRUSH and BLUE GROSBEAK. The last PINE SISKIN was reported at the White's feeder near Yorklyn on Sunday.

Goatsuckers made a big splash in the state. There was an amazing discovery of a CHUCK-WILLS-WIDOW calling Saturday morning in White Clay Creek State Park. This is the first report of this species north of the canal. A COMMON NIGHTHAWK was seen roosting by the kiosk at the Ashton Tract at Thousand Acre Marsh near Port Penn. NIGHTHAWK was also seen flying over White Clay Creek State Park, the Route 273 retention pond in Bear, Ashland Nature Center, and the First State National Historical Park, Woodlawn Tract, north of Wilmington. Downstate, COMMON NIGHTHAWK was seen flying over downtown Dover, at Cods Road in Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, at Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, in Seaford, at Angola Neck, and at Assawoman Wildlife Refuge near Fenwick Island. Also reported Assawoman were 6 CHUCK-WILLS-WIDOW. CHUCKS were also reported at Rementer- Rum Road near Georgetown, and Cape Henlopen State Park. Four WHIP-POOR-WILLS were reported at Big Stone Beach and CHUCK-WILLS-WIDOW was heard at Bennett's Pier in Milford Neck Wildlife Area.

SANDHILL CRANES were also found at opposite ends of the state on Saturday. Three were seen flying over the Nanticoke River east of Seaford. Another SANDHILL CRANE was seen flying over Thousand Acre Marsh towards the canal heading towards Delaware City.

Also reported at Thousand Acre Marsh this last weekend was a GULL-BILLED TERN. LEAST BITTERN was at Grier's Pond. A TRICOLORED HERON and 3 LITTLE BLUE HERONS were seen at the Ashton Track along with 17 BALD EAGLES. There was also SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and calling NORTHERN BOBWHITE. Warblers seen included BAY-BREASTED, CAPE MAY, MAGNOLIA, BLACKPOLL, YELLOW-THROATED, WORM-EATING, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. SUMMER TANAGER was also found in the pines plus a late WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. A late WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was found at the Mike Castle Trail near Delaware City on Sunday.

A RUDDY TURNSTONE and 6 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were at the Port Penn impoundments of Augustine Wildlife Area. COMMON GALLINULE and TRICOLORED HERON were reported at Port Penn on Saturday. 14 CASPIAN TERNS were seen on Monday. There was an influx of landbirds in the woods by the dike trail, including YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, TENNESSEE, BLACKPOLL, YELLOW-THROATED and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS. COMMON GALLINULE was also found at Hangman's Creek near Stave's Landing. NORTHERN HARRIER was found at Stave's Landing south of Odessa, plus KING and CLAPPER RAIL. A peak count of 24 CLIFF SWALLOWS were reported at the Appoquinmink Bridge on Route 9. 6 CLIFF SWALLOWS were seen at the Fleming's Landing Bridge.

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was also found at Lums Pond State Park on Saturday. Another WHITE-THROAT was at the Van Dyke Tract in Blackbird State Forest along with BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. A KENTUCKY WARBLER was found at the Tybouts Tract of Blackbird State Forest along with YELLOW-THROATED VIREO and BARRED OWL. BOBOLINK, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, SAVANNAH and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW were at Charles E. Price Park in Middletown.

Besides the previously mentioned MISSISSIPPI KITE at Middle Run, this place has been a hotbed of birding activity. Other raptors seen included OSPREY, COOPER'S, and RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, plus flyover COMMON LOON and 2 LAUGHING GULLS. A LITTLE BLUE HERON was seen by the ponds. Warblers seen included WORM-EATING, CAPE MAY, TENNESSEE, WILSON'S, MAGNOLIA, PARULA, BLACK-THROATED BLUE and GREEN, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. Other highlights included BLUE GROSBEAK, WARBLING VIREO, VEERY and SWAINSON'S THRUSH.

BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO continue to be found at White Clay Creek State Park at Wedgewood Road. WARBLERS reported included a HOODED WARBLER at Hopkins Bridge plus BLUE-WINGED, CAPE MAY, BLACKBURNIAN, CHESTNUT-SIDED, TENNESSEE, BLACK-THROATED BLUE and GREEN, and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. At least 3 BARRED OWLS were also been reported along the creek this spring.

A CAPE MAY WARBLER was found in Arden by the Candlelight Dinner Theater. Other birds seen in the Arden Woods included BLACKBURNIAN, CANADA, BLACK-THROATED BLUE and GREEN, PARULA, and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS. Thrushes along Naaman's Creek included GRAY-CHEEKED, SWAINSON'S and VEERY.

A drake HOODED MERGANSER was seen Saturday at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna along with NORTHERN PINTAIL, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELER, RUDDY DUCK, plus AMERICAN COOT. A MUTE SWAN continues to be seen at Sheerness Pool. Three YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS were seen with BLACK-CROWNS at Night Heron Island on Friday. Shorebirds included BLACK-NECKED STILT, AMERICAN AVOCET, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, and 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. NORTHERN BOBWHITE, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW were found behind Bear Swamp.

Three WESTERN SANDPIPERS were found among the peep at Little Creek Wildlife Management Area. Sandpipers seen included 2700 DUNLIN, 250 LEAST SANDPIPER, plus STILT, SPOTTED, and SOLITARY SANDPIPER, WILLET, LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was seen with a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER plus 130 SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, and 9 GLOSSY IBIS.

RED KNOTS were seen at Port Mahon and Pickering Beach. 500 RUDDY TURNSTONE were at Port Mahon, plus an immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. BLACK SKIMMER was seen earlier in the week, along with a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER.

200 RED KNOTS were reported at Mispillion Inlet from the DuPont Nature Center, with 500 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 2000 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 1000 DUNLIN, and 50 SANDERLING. Also seen were 2 BLACK-NECKED STILTS, 4 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, BLACK-BELLIED and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. Both MERLIN and PEREGRINE FALCON have been seen in the area.

The big flock of 230 BLACK SKIMMERS are along the Prime Hook Beach Road. LEAST TERNS were on the sandbars. Six BLACK-NECKED STILTS and 215 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS plus SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, and RED KNOT were in the field by Cods and Prime Hook Road, A female HOODED MERGANSER was seen at Turkle's Pond in Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. SUMMER TANAGER was reported in the woods by the entrance gate. WILD TURKEYS were seen in the fields through the refuge. BLUE-HEADED VIREO was seen along the Blue Goose Trail. Warblers reported included BAY-BREASTED, BLACKBURNIAN, CAPE MAY, CANADA, MAGNOLIA, PROTHONOTARY, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. A HOODED WARBLER and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO were found along Deep Branch Road.

There has been an influx of BAY-BREASTED WARBLER reports this year. Reports were from Casio Mill Road in Newark, Lums Pond State Park, Little Creek Wildlife Management Area, Abbott's Mill Nature Center in Milford, Greenwood, Georgetown, and Old Landing in Rehoboth Beach.

AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER and 6 PIPING PLOVERS were seen at The Point in Cape Henlopen State Park. BRANT, RED-THROATED and COMMON LOON, and MERLIN were also seen at the point. ROSE-BREASTED and BLUE GROSBEAKS were seen on the feeders at the Seaside Nature Center, along with 6 BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCHES. BLACK SKIMMER and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL were seen from Herring Point. A YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON was at the Monroe Ave Ponds. AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER was also reported at Gordon's Pond.

A single ROYAL TERN was at Indian River Inlet, with 12 COMMON and 40 FORESTER'S TERNS. RUDDY TURNSTONE and SANDERLING were seen flying up the beach. 2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were on the beach north of the inlet. TRICOLORED HERON and COMMON LOON were seen at the North Marina.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are still being seen at various locations in Sussex Co. A pair was at Assawoman Wildlife Area. Another was seen at Assawoman's Piney Creek Unit near Dagsboro. A pair continues to be seen at Angola Neck near Herring Creek. A pair of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were seen at Redden State Forest along Raccoon Ditch Road. Another RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at Phillip's Landing at the Nanticoke Wildlife Area near Laurel today.

There was a very late WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at a feeder in Bay Vista near Rehoboth on Wednesday. GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was found along Holly Tree Road, north of Ellendale. A VESPER SPARROW was found along Maple Branch Road in Redden State Forrest. SUMMER TANAGER and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO were found at Redden's Headquarters tract, warblers seen included WORM-EATING, KENTUCKY, MAGNOLIA, BLACKPOLL, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, and YELLOW-THROATED.

HOODED and WILSON'S WARBLER was found at the Pete Gum Tract in the Nanticoke Wildlife Area on Saturday, along with NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, MAGNOLIA, YELLOW-RUMP, YELLOW-THROATED and PROTHONOTARY. BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH and YELLOW-THROATED VIREO were also at Pete Gum. VEERY and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH were at Chapel Branch Nature Area in Seaford, along with BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER.

The PEREGRINE FALCONS continue to be seen in downtown Wilmington. They are currently raising 4 hatchlings and things are getting very hectic. Their nest box is on the Brandywine Building along Pennsylvania Ave. A SCARLET TANAGER was seen in Surrey Park. A leucistic AMERICAN GOLDFINCH was reported in Alapocos Woods. LESSER SCAUP, WOOD DUCK, GADWALL, NORTHERN SHOVELERS plus AMERICAN COOT were seen at the Veolia Water Treatment Plant near Cherry Island. 4 BONAPARTE'S GULLS and 12 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS were also at the ponds.

Thanks to everybody that contributed this week, including, Rod Murray, Andrea Martin, Andy McGann, Will Almeida, Hank Davis, John Janowski, Mike Moore, Bob Crows, Don Morgan, Jeff Climie, Chris Machulski, Susie Ball, Jeff Holmes, Vince Gambal, Mike Smith, Keith Leonard, Sally O'Byrne, Alice Mohrman, Steve Mickletz, Keith Maley, Chris Bennett, Anthony Gonzon, Richard Jullian, Phil Thompson, Andy Urquhard, Nancy Goggin, Bob Edelen, Matt Sarver, Racheal Shapiro, Robert Blye, Colin Campbell, George Armistead, Ian Stewart, Rich Clifton, Joe Swertinski, Hannah Greenberg Kelly Nunn, Dave Fees, Glen Lovelace, , Bill Stewart, Kim Steininger, Holly Merker, Amy White, John Long, Jerald and Aaron Reb, Ken Wat, Amy and Parker O'Neil, Derek Stoner, Chris Rowe, Lynn Smith, Sharon Lynn, Sue Gruver, Alissa Kegelman, Tim Freiday, Melanie Mancuso, John Dunn, Teddy Burke, and Joe Russell. Sorry if I missed anybody, there were lots reports to go through this week. Remember, the birdline needs your sightings. Please call your reports into 302-792-9591 or email Until next week, this is Andy Ednie wishing you good birding!

Birdline Delaware is compiled by Andy Ednie, the 2010 recipient of Delaware Audubon's Conservation Award. It is posted on the Delaware Audubon web site as a public service. The Birdline is not sponsored by the Delaware Audubon Society.