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September: Eastern Shore trip

A two day trip to Chincoteague Island in search of shorebirds, herons and migrants.

The trip started in Washington, DC and we made our way to the Eastern Shore and the barrier island near the border of Maryland and Virginia on the Atlantic coast. An overnight stay in Chincoteague allowed us to visit the National Wildlife Refuge at different tidal conditions.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus -- 5 birds where the Shoveler Pool meets the Wildlife Loop.

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus -- a single bird seen with Turkey Vultures.

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura -- a max count of 10 over the reserve.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus -- 3 birds watched around the reserve including a juvenile fishing with limited success.

Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus -- 2 'Ringtails' circling on a thermal on Sunday morning.

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus -- at least 3 birds with an adult, a first year bird and a sub-adult.

Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris -- 1 bird working its way along the edge of the reed bed.

Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola -- a max day count of 8 including mouting adult and juvenile.

Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus -- a max count of 6, many smaller numbers than the previous week.

Piping Plover Charadrius melodus -- 2 birds watched on Sunday.

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus -- 2 seen on Saturday on the Wildlife Loop.

American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus -- 7 birds seen in Toms Cove.

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius -- a single bird seen briefly on Sunday morning.

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca -- up to 4 single birds around the area.

Willet Tringa semipalmata -- 200 Western birds with one obvious Eastern-race counterpart.

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes -- 12 birds at various locations.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus -- a single bird seen.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica -- the long staying local rarity, seem well.

Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa -- up to 7 birds feeding, generally near the Willets.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres -- 4 birds in various stages of moult.

Sanderling Calidris alba -- 5 birds around the sandbars and on the beach.

Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla -- Up to 50 birds on Swan Cove Pool.

Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla -- 6 birds observed creeping around in cover, typically away from the water.

Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus -- just a couple of birds often in the company of the Willet flock or feeding with the Marbled Godwit.

Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla -- maximum count of 50, common on Swan Cove Pool, moulting adult and juvenile plumages.

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis -- surprisingly few with a max of 5.

Herring Gull Larus argentatus -- up to 18 large and powerful Gulls often intimidating the smaller residents of Swan Cove Pool.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus -- 1 sub-adult bird flying close off shore.

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus -- just 2 birds seen with a juvenile on the Swan Cove Pool and another out to sea.

Least Tern Sternula antillarum -- up to 15 of this diminutive bird with distinctive shrill keDEEK call, the smallest tern in the world, size comparisons with Semi-Palmated Plover show just how small this species is (slightly longer including its bill but lighter in weight).

Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia -- up to 9 of this powerful tern, mainly roosting up on sandbanks in Swan Cove Pool.

Black Tern Chlidonias niger -- A max count of 4 birds feeding or resting up with the other terns.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo -- Up to 6 birds in adult and juvenile plumage.

Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri -- with max day counts of 147, a common species around the island, including feeding from the bridge as you enter the reserve.

Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus -- the common large tern with maxima of 40 recorded.

Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis -- up to 9 birds found rooting with the large terns.

Black Skimmer Rynchops niger -- a maximum count of 31 (adults and spotty juveniles) of this most unlikely looking species.

Rock Pigeon Columba livia -- seen on the approach to the reserve.

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura -- 5 odd singles around the reserve.

Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica -- a single bird over the town.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris -- a single bird, seen by one observer, while watching Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon -- a couple of birds seen flying noisily about.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus -- a single heard on the woodland trail.

Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens -- a couple of birds seen around the reserve or heard on the Woodland Trail.

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus -- 2 seen well on the Woodland Trail.

Merlin Falco columbarius -- presumably a single bird seen a couple of times skimming the top of the reeds at speed.

Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens -- 2 calling birds on the Service Road.

Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe -- one individual near the Service Road.

Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus -- one bird near the above species, a hot spot for flycatchers!

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata -- two birds calling along the Service Road.

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos -- a couple birds calling each day.

Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus -- a particularly vociferous individual near the beach.

Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor -- a passage of at least 30 birds on Sunday morning (none the previous day).

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica -- 2 over Swan Cove.

Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis -- 3 along the Woodland Trail.

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor -- a single bird calling along the Woodland Trail.

Brown-headed Nuthatch Sitta pusilla -- easily seen with a few small (family) parties and at least 15 individuals seen on Sunday morning both on the approach road and along the Woodland Trail.

Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus -- Maximum daily count of 3 singing birds.

Bicknell’s Thrush Catharus guttatus -- 2 birds along the Bivalve Trail (off of the Woodland Trail).

American Robin Turdus migratorius -- obvious passage of at least 25 birds around the Woodland Trail.

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris -- max count of 30.

Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia -- 3 birds along the Service Road.

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla -- 2 individuals along the Service Road and a further 5 around the Woodland Trail.

Pine Warbler Setophaga pinus -- 2 birds along the Woodland Trail.

Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus -- An adult female and a juvenile seen along the Service Road.

Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus  -- 1 individual repeatedly returning to feed on roadside grasses despite being constantly disturbed by cars and bicycles.

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis -- Maximum Count of 10 birds.

Blue Grosbeak Passerina caerulea -- A fine male on wires along the approach road.

Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea -- A juvenile bird seen at the woodland edge along the Service Road.

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus -- 30 birds around the reed bed.

Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula -- up to 3 birds.

Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major -- a single tailless bird watching ‘singing’.

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater -- a single bird following the Starlings
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) -- 3 watched on the Woodland Trail.

House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus -- a single bird seen on the WoodlandTrail.