Birds in Delaware

Birdline Delaware

Rare Bird Alerts - December 2, 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, December 2nd, this is Birdline Delaware from the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Greenville. The unofficial Delaware year list increased to 334 species, which ties the previous unofficial list record.

This week there's been a pair of hummingbirds found in New Castle County. A hummingbird identified as a RUBY-THROATED was banded at a feeder near Hockessin and a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was banded near Middletown. Both of these birds were on private property that are not accepting visitors, but keep those feeders up because there are rare hummingbirds in the area! A BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE was also seen at the Hockessin site.

Also new this week were 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS found at Cartanza Road near Little Creek. A large flock of HORNED LARK also included 4 SNOW BUNTINGS. A big flock of SNOW GEESE was also in the area. On Sunday, 20 SNOW BUNTINGS were seen at Cartanza Road. Nearby, at the horse pasture south of Little Creek on Route 9 were 5 CATTLE EGRETS. Two SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen along the Port Mahan Road. Along the Pickering Beach Road were YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, FOX SPARROWS, and 14 EASTERN TOWHEE. A RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH was seen in Camden-Wyoming. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was reported in Frederica.

HUDSONIAN and MARBLED GODWITS were again reported at Shearness Pool in Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna. Those birds were seen with approximately 330 AMERICAN AVOCETS and 100 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS. Other shorebirds reported included SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, WESTERN and LEAST SANDPIPER, and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER. Good numbers of both LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS are still being seen. GREATER WHITE-FRONTED and CACKLING GOOSE were seen from the Shearness Tower over the weekend, but have not been reported since. Waterfowl included TUNDRA and MUTE SWAN, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELER, PINTAIL, GADWALL, BUFFLEHEAD, HOODED MERGANSER, RUDDY DUCK, and AMERICAN COOT. PEREGRINE FALCON was seen flying over the impoundments along with a peak count of 12 BALD EAGLES. Three late GREAT EGRETS were seen. Birds found in the early morning included AMERICAN WOODCOCK and BARRED OWL. 12 NORTHERN BOBWHITE were also seen.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen at the Mike Castle trail along the C&D canal off Cox Neck Road near Delaware City. This bird was seen in the brush by the parking lot at the gate to the dirt road. Also seen were EASTERN BLUEBIRD, GRAY CATBIRD, and CEDAR WAXWING. GRAY CATBIRD was also seen at Grier's Pond near Thousand Acre Marsh. Five GREAT EGRETS were seen at the Ashton Tract. A single BRANT was seen among CANADA GEESE at the St. Anne's Church Road retention pond, south of Middletown. Four RUDDY DUCKS were also seen on the pond and EASTERN MEADOWLARK was in the fields.

COMMON RAVENS continue be reported in Northern Delaware, mostly from their stronghold at Ashland Nature Center near Yorklyn. Recently, there've been reports from Alapocas Woods and a new location at Harry's Pond at the Brandywine Town Center off Concord Pike. Also, Harry's Pond had 2 RING-NECKED DUCK, 12 HOODED MERGANSER, 2 RUDDY DUCK and a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT. A REDHEAD was seen among BLACK DUCK on Hoopes's Reservoir near Centreville from the Route 82 Causeway. Also reported were 100 RING-NECKED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, HOODED MERGANSER, and RUDDY DUCK. Two COMMON MERGANSERS were seen along the Christiana River from I-95.

A rare VESPER SPARROW was found at Ashland Nature Center's hawk watch on Monday and AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was found at Ashland on Thursday. HERMIT THRUSH, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE were also reported. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES continues to come to the White's feeder on Center Mill Rd., near Yorklyn. A nice group of raptors at Brandywine Creek State Park included BLACK VULTURE, BALD EAGLE, COOPER'S HAWK, and MERLIN, plus EASTERN SCREECH-OWL. Also seen were PILEATED WOODPECKER and a female PURPLE FINCH. PILEATED WOODPECKER was also seen in Claymont for only the second time in 20 years. RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES continue to come to feeders in Brandywine Hundred off Grubb Road.

A SAW-WHET OWL was found at Middle Run Natural Area near trail marker 10 in the predawn hours on Monday, along with GREAT HORNED OWL and AMERICAN WOODCOCK. A flyover HORNED LARK was found at Middle Run, plus BROWN THRASHER, BLUEBIRD, and SAPSUCKER. A PALM WARBLER was found in the middle wetlands at the University of Delaware farm with KILLDEER and RED-SHOULDERED HAWK. A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was found by Townsend Hall. Another BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE was found today coming to a feeder in Brookside near Newark.

NELSON'S and SALTMARSH SPARROWS plus MARSH WREN continue to be found at Fowler's Beach in Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Milton. SURF and BLACK SCOTER, BUFFLEHEAD, HOODED MERGANSER and RED-THROATED LOON were seen at Fowler's. Shorebirds fouond included BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, DUNLIN and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. A flock of 230 AMERICAN AVOCETS were found at Broadkill Beach marsh along with HOODED MERGANSER and BUFFLEHEAD.

BLACK and SURF SCOTER were seen at Indian River Inlet, along with LONG-TAILED DUCK, NORTHERN GANNET, and SANDERLING. BONAPARTE'S GULL and FORSTER'S TERNS were seen in the inlet. An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen in the marsh by the South campground along with SEASIDE, NELSON'S and SALTMARSH SPARROW, and PALM WARBLER plus a calling CLAPPER RAIL. 120 BRANT were seen at the South Marina. Today, 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were found on the Burton's Island Trail with RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and FOX SPARROW.

A CACKLING GOOSE was still being seen on Silver Lake and Rehoboth Beach along with HOODED MERGANSER. MUTE SWAN was reported at Assawoman Wildlife Area, along with AMERICAN WIGEON GADWALL, BUFFLEHEAD, PIED-BILLED GREBE, AMERICAN COOT, plus HOODED and 2 COMMON MERGANSERS. Three BALD EAGLES were seen in the area, plus KINGFISHER and 5 BROWN HEADED NUTHATCHES.

A flock of 30 SNOW BUNTINGS, RUDDY TURNSTONE and SANDERLING were seen at The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park. SURF and BLACK SCOTER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, and COMMON LOON were seen on the water. 30 AMERICAN PIPIT were seen flying over. BROWN-HEADED and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were found in the pine trees.

Also downstate, PURPLE FINCH was seen at Old Landing near Rehoboth Beach. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was photographed near Harleson. A PALM WARBLER was found in a yard near Hollyville along Route 5, west of Lewes.

The Delaware Hawk Watch season came to a close this week. Ashland Nature Center had 9 BALD EAGLES yesterday, for a total of 440 for the season. Cape Henolpen Hawk watch had 10 BALD EAGLES on Sunday for 409 for the season. Who would believe you would see that many BALD EAGLES in a season about 40 years ago! A GOLDEN EAGLE and MERLIN were seen at Ashland on Monday. There were migrating RING-BILLED GULLS and GREAT BLUE HERONS seen this week. Cape Henlopen had LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, GANNETS, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, and COMMON MERGANSER this week. PINE SISKIN was seen on Saturday and 20 SNOW BUNTINGS were at the hawk watch on Monday. The last PEREGRINE FALCON was reported as the storm approached on Tuesday at Cape Henlopen. Thanks for another great season!

And thanks to everybody that contributed this week, including, Mike Bowen, Mike Smith, Amy O'Neil, Al Guarente, Wayne Longbottom, Andrew Bogush, Shannon Modla, Alex Wiebe, Amy White, Melanie Mancuso, Keith Leonard, Christine Stevens, Dick Plambeck, Chris Bennett, Chris Rowe, Gerry Teig, Bob Edelen, Ian Stewart, Bill Stewart, Kim Steininger, Steve Graff, Phil Thompson, Hank Davis, Joe Sebastiani, Kelley Nunn, Jerald and Aaron Reb, Ken Wat, Frank Lenik, Alissa Kegelman, Teddy Burke, Lynn Smith, Sharon Lynn, Sue Gruver, Joe Swertinski and Colin Campbell. Special thanks to our two hawk counters, Hannah Greenberg and Jen Ottinger. 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.