Birds in Delaware

Birdline Delaware

Rare Bird Alerts - December 5, 2014

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, December 5th, this is Birdline Delaware from the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Greenville. The unofficial Delaware annual list annual list remained at 324 species this week.

Two SNOWY OWLS were seen this week at Port Mahon. The first bird was found Friday morning in the marsh opposite the fishing pier. That OWL was seen later at dusk sitting on the pier. Since then, SNOWY OWLS have been reported intermittently with 2 birds seen since Wednesday. Also reported have been 4 SHORT-EARED OWLS in the same area, plus NORTHERN GOSHAWK yesterday, 2 AMERICAN BITTERNS today, plus GREAT EGRET, BALD EAGLE, and a SEDGE WREN behind the rockpile at the boat ramp parking lot.

SEDGE WREN was also found along the Pickering Beach Road on the south side of Little Creek Wildlife management Area. A big collection of waterfowl at the south impoundments of Little Creek included 600 GADWALL, 200 AMERICA WIGEON, 200 NORTHERN SHOVELER, plus HOODED MERGANSERS, BUFFLEHEAD and RUDDY DUCK with 300 AMERICAN COOTS. GREAT HORNED OWL and 2 GREAT EGRETS were also found.

A big raft of 150 REDHEADS with 40 GREATER SCAUP was seen off the DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Inlet. This could be the biggest concentration of REDHEADS in Delaware in years! Shorebirds seen there included AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, 3 RUDDY TURNSTONES and 44 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS. Nearby, a female BALTIMORE ORIOLE was reported and photographed coming to a feeder near Lincoln.

Upstate, a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD is coming to a feeder in Brandywine Hundred. That bird is at the home of Alissa Kegelman. You can watch her feeders from the roadway in front of her house, at the intersection with Harker and Gibson Rd. To get there from I-95, turn north on Concord Pike (US Rt 202), turn east on Murphy Rd., then turn right onto Shipley Rd. Turn left onto Harker, just past the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and the stop sign at Weldin Rd. This RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was banded on Saturday and determined to be a hatch year female, but has a nice ruby spot in the throat and some rufous feathers in the wing coverts.

In Newark, a COMMON RAVEN was reported at Christiana Towers on the University of Delaware campus. That bird was seen flying west towards Newark Country Club and the Maryland line. At White Clay Creek State Park, an EASTERN WOOD PEWEE was reported on Sunday. Also reported was EASTERN PHEOBE, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, TREE SWALLOW, WHITE-CROWNED and CHIPPING SPARROW. A CACKLING GOOSE was reported at the pond of Fairhill School Rd (aka Nine Foot Rd.). A late MARSH WREN was reported at the cattails pond in the Walter Carpenter Recreational Area. WINTER WREN, 2 PURPLE FINCH and 2 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS were reported in in a yard at Fairfield Crest in Newark.

BUFFLEHEAD and RUDDY DUCK were reported at Newark Reservoir. Raptors there included RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, NORTHERN HARRIER and BALD EAGLE. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was picked out of a flock of 35,000 GRACKLES and RED-WINGS at the reservoir. Carousel Park near Pike Creek had MUTE SWAN, PIED-BILLED GREBE and a COOT. 37 COOTS were found at Hillside Mill Cove on Hoope's Reservoir, along with 7 AMERICAN WIGEON and a GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Also found were 50 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 33 HOODED MERGANSERS, and 4 BUFFLEHEADS.

AMERICAN KESTRELS were reported at Fox Point State Park, Brandywine Creek State Park, and at Coverdale Farm. CHIPPING and SAVANAH SPARROWS were seen at the latter two locations, along with PILEATED WOODPECKERS and SAPSUCKERS. PINE SISKIN was reported at Ashland Nature Center. 6 WINTER WRENS and 8 HERMIT THRUSHES were found at Brandywine Creek. 6 FOX SPARROWS were at a yard in Walnut Ridge near Centreville. A BROWN CREEPER and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET were found at Northminster.

A NELSON'S SPARROW was found in the marsh by Battery Park in New Castle. This is a rare species for northern New Castle Co. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was found at Stave's Landing near Odessa. KING RAIL was also heard calling there. Two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were found at Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area. An immature LITTLE BLUE HERON was found at Grier's Pond near Port Penn. GREAT EGRET and BALD EAGLES were found at Thousand Acre Marsh.

The SANDHILL CRANE continues to be seen at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna. That bird seems to have settled in at Raymond Pool. The last time a SANDHILL CRANE stayed the winter at the refuge was 1969 — 45 years ago! SANDHILL CRANES are rapidly increasing on the east coast, besides birds in southern New Jersey, a flock of 7 SANDHILL CRANES were seen and heard flying over East Reservoir near Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.

Also at Bombay was a possible SNOWY OWL, but the observer was not sure, and BARN OWLS do roost out in the marsh. An unusual goose was at Shearness Pool, unfortunately the bird was too far out for positive ID. Thousands of SNOW GEESE are at the refuge, Six MUTE SWANS were seen with 50 Tundra Swans. A peak count of ten MARBLED GODWIT remains with 45 AMERICAN AVOCETS, and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Shearness Pool. Other birds reported included AMERICAN PIPITS along the entrance road, plus EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, and BARRED OWL. A CACKLING GOOSE was found today at Wicks Potato Farm on Rt 9 north of Leipsic.

CANVASBACKS are still being seen at Silver Lake in Rehoboth Beach. A high count of 41 HOODED and 3 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were also seen with 60 RUDDY DUCKS. HOODED MERGANSER and BUFFLEHEADS were seen at Thompsons Island, along with both WHITE-BREASTED and BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH, and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. An injured AMERICAN WOODCOCK was found in a yard at Bay Vista near Rehoboth. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was also seen in the area. A BROWN THRASHER and 6 FOX SPARROWS were seen at the Rehoboth Golf Park off Country Club Road.

Another WOODCOCK was seen at Assawoman Wildlife Area. Waterfowl there included AMERICAN WIGEON, COOT, plus HOODED and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. PILEATED WOODPECKER and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH were also reported. A leucistic RED-TAILED HAWK, almost completely white and looking very similar to a snowy owl was seen along Rt 1 just north of Indian River Inlet.

The previously reported AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN at Fowler's Beach in Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge was not seen this week. By contrast, the flock of WHITE PELICANS at nearby Blackwater NWR in Maryland increased by one this week. COMMON GOLDENEYES were seen at Broadkill Beach impoundments along with BUFFLEHEAD and RUDDY DUCKS. 25 BONAPARTE'S GULLS were seen on the marsh at the Prime Hook headquarters, along with SHOVELER, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and HOODED MERGANSER. PURPLE FINCH was found by the headquarters, plus BROWN THRASHER, CHIPPING SPARROW and MEADOWLARK.

SNOW BUNTINGS are still being seen at the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park. SURF and BLACK SCOTERS were also reported. PINE SISKIN and PURPLE FINCH were reported in the pines by the hawkwatch.

Delaware Hawk watches finished another outstanding season this week. Numbers were down due to missing the big flight of BROAD-WINGS this year, but everything else was improving. Ashland Hawk Watch had only 3512 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS this year, compared to over 14,000 last year. However, BALD EAGLES increased from 365 to 386, a new record. 18 GOLDEN EAGLES were seen, along with 237 OSPREY, 1 NORTHERN GOSHAWK and for the second year in a row, a MISSISSIPPI KITE.

The Cape Henlopen Hawk watch ended with a GOLDEN EAGLE on Friday and PEREGRINE FALCON on Saturday. The annual total at Cape Henlopen included 2700 OSPREY, 992 AMERICAN KESTRELS, 500 MERLINS, AND 541 PEREGRINES. There were also 18 GOLDEN EAGLES, 2 GOSHAWKS and for the second year in a row, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. Special thanks to our two hawk counters this season, Jennifer Ottinger and Will Almeida. You guys did a great job; I looked forward to your reports every evening. Also to all those great volunteers, especially Mike Gardner, Kim Steininger, Sally O'Byrne, Bob Rufe, and Sue Gruver.

Thanks to everybody that contributed this week including, Andrew Bogush, Chandler Wiegand, Mike Moore, Gina Sheridan, Steve Collins, Colin Campbell, Randy Murphy, Bruce Lantz, Melissa Jernakoff, Debbie Beers, Adrian Binns, Anthony Gonzon, Chris and Karen Bennett, Ian Stewart, Wayne Longbottom, Desiree Narango, Dave Fees, Glen Lovelace, Alissa Kegelman, Kelly Nunn, Chris Rowe, Matt Sarver and Lauren Morgans, Sharon Lynn, Lynn Smith, Alan Kneidel, Tim Schrenkengost, Tim Freiday, Derek Stoner, Joe Sebastiani, and Joe Russell. 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 and safe holiday!

Birdline Delaware is posted on the Delaware Audubon web site as a public service. It is neither created nor sponsored by the Delaware Audubon Society.