The newsletter of the Baltimore Bird Club

December 2002-January 2003 -- Online Edition


  1. Fort McHenry Big Sit Results by Jim Peters
  2. Fort McHenry Ranger is MOS Scholarship Winner by Steve Sanford
  3. MOS Scholarship Applications for 2003
  4. Dues Reminder
  5. Fall Count 2002 Results: Baltimore City and County - Sep 21, 2002 by Debbie Terry
  6. Field Trip Reports by Steve Sanford
  7. Chimney Swifts -- Spring and Fall 2002 by Carol Schreter
  8. Trip to Phoenix by Ben Poscover
  9. BBC Mail Order
  10. Back Yard Birding and Beyond by Gail Frantz
Deadline for next CHIP NOTES: December 31, 2002 (the next issue will be February-March 2003). If possible, please email material to

Otherwise, Send material to:
Please help CHIP NOTES get out on time.
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Fort McHenry Big Sit Results
By Jim Peters

The night was cool, damp and overcast with the possibility of rain in the forecast when the Star Spangled Birders assembled at 11:30 p.m. at the Fort McHenry Wetland to begin our second "Big Sit" which started at the stroke of midnight October 12th.

This year a trail shelter had been built to provide protection from the weather. The maintenance personnel of the Fort erected a 16-foot high scaffold adjacent to the shelter to act as an observation tower. We had all the comforts of home and a wealth of technology, (binocs and night vision scopes) in our 17-foot circle to assure our success.

The night crew consisted of Keith Costley (our eyes and ears), Wendy Taparanskas (bean counter) and Jim Peters (team captain). We were joined during the day Sunday by Gail Frantz (bird stalker) who helped us round out our list of birds by acting as an extra pair of eyes and ears.

The observation tower was crucial to our success as it put us a total of 34 feet above the marsh and much of the vegetation so that we could monitor birds moving up and down the trail on both sides of the dike as well as giving us excellent views of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River and the shore line at Fairfield and the Masonville Cove. With the 77mm Kowa scope we were able to see and identify birds over long distances as well as close by.

Originally scheduled to last 24 hours our group decided to stop after 17 hours because we felt we had a good list and probably were not going to add much more in the final 7 hours after dark on Sunday night. Our list of 66 species was 11 more than last year's total of 55 and included a vagrant Clay-Colored Sparrow, which became the 196th bird on the Fort list.

A Black-Crowned Night-Heron was in the marsh but refused to show itself to those in the circle and therefore could not be counted. In all, we missed 12 birds from last year's list, but added enough new species to best our last year's count. Following is the official count for Big Sit 2002.

Pied-billed Grebe    1   Carolina Wren          5
D-c Cormorant      169   House Wren             1
Great Blue Heron     5   Winter Wren            1
Canada Goose        31   Marsh Wren             1
Mute Swan            2   Golden-cr Kinglet      5
Black Duck           6   Ruby-cr Kinglet        5
Mallard             17   Swainson's Thrush      2
Osprey               1   American Robin         1
Red-tailed Hawk      1   Gray Catbird          25
American Kestrel     1   Northern Mockingbird   4
Killdeer             3   Brown Thrasher         3
Spotted Sandpiper    2   European Starling     35
Laughing Gull      121   Cedar Waxwing         12
Ring-billed Gull    22   Palm Warbler           1
Herring Gull         3   B&W Warbler            1
Gr Black-back Gull   8   Yellowthroat           9
Caspian Tern         1   Eastern Towhee         8
Forster's Tern       4   Chipping Sparrow       2
Rock Dove            6   Clay-colored Sparrow   1
Mourning Dove       28   Field Sparrow          3
Chimney Swift       13   Savannah Sparrow       2
Belted Kingfisher    2   Song Sparrow          15


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Fort McHenry Ranger is
MOS Scholarship Winner
By Steve Sanford

You may have heard about MOS Scholarships but had little concept of what they are all about. Winners attend Audubon camps or workshops giving instruction in ecology and ornithology. The May-June 2002 issue of the Maryland Yellowthroat (page 7) lists the 10 winners of the 2002 scholarships. They include 6 teachers, 3 Park Rangers, and one Naturalist. Three 2002 winners work in Baltimore City or County.

One of them is "Ranger Vince", Vincent J. Vaise, a Park Ranger at Fort McHenry, and a Baltimore Bird Club member. With his scholarship he attended a week-long Audubon Camp session at Hog Island, Maine. Afterwards he wrote some letters that really bring the experience to life. Ranger Vince wrote:

One of the most outstanding aspects of the Audubon camp at Hog Island, Maine, was the quality of the instructors. While being experts in ornithology, each had a particular specialty that provided a well-rounded understanding and appreciation for birds. Being able to learn from these experts for a week and to converse with them informally forged contacts that I intend to use during my entire Park Service career. In the future, if the park needs a guest speaker, assistance in developing an interpretive program or wayside markers, the contacts made at Audubon camp will be an invaluable resource.

Ranger Vince particularly cited Scott Weidensaul for his presentations on migration and the impact of human development; Tom Lecky for demonstrating field trip techniques; and Steven Kress for pointers on giving effective slide programs.

As for the personal and career impact of the experience, he said:

The trip to Hog Island, Maine represents a new direction in my National Park Service career. I am deeply appreciative for this opportunity to expand my knowledge regarding birds and natural history and fully recognize the responsibility to share this knowledge - particularly with younger visitors. Since returning, I have developed a three-fold plan to share my insights and experiences at Audubon camp.

1. To pledge support in bird banding and monitoring operations in the wetland on-site and to recruit more members to assist.

2. To develop a traveling slide show and display detailing the changes of bird life in this region of Maryland over the past 400 years. This will be made available to other National Park Sites and local, county parks upon request.

3. To lead bird walks in the spring at Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine.

Finally, he wrote:

One last note: I owe a debt of gratitude to Jim Peters who started the bird monitoring program at Fort McHenry. Over the past several years he has served as mentor and guide by recommending books to read, leading walks, teaching bird banding and introducing me to the Maryland Ornithological Society. I'm sure his letter of recommendation was a deciding factor in my scholarship award

Thank you, Ranger Vince, for showing what the MOS scholarships are all about!

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MOS Scholarship
Applications for 2003

MOS is now accepting applications from Maryland teachers, park rangers, and nature center coordinators and instructors for scholarships to attend summer ecology workshops. State Audubon societies hold them at their camps in Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Also, MOS is accepting applications from Maryland teachers and youth leaders for a scholarship of an intensive six-day course in ornithology at the Audubon summer workshop in Maine.

The value of these scholarships is between $600-$900. Deadline for applications is January 31, 2003.

For further information contact:

Benjamin Poscover
BBC Scholarship Representative

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Dues Reminder

If you have not already done so, please pay your dues promptly! Notices have been sent to everyone whose 2002-2003 dues have not been received. If an expiration date printed in red is on your mailing label, we have not received your dues. If the information on the label is incorrect, or your name or address is wrong, please call Catherine Bishop. Unpaid members WILL be dropped from the mailing list effective January 15, 2003.

Make checks payable to Baltimore Bird Club. Mail to:
J. Catherine Bishop
6111 Bellona Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21212
(410) 435-9569

Our regular dues, which include membership in the state organization, are $40 for an individual or $50 for a household. Members of another chapter or life members of MOS who joined after 6/11/90 pay the "chapter only" dues of $20 for an individual or $25 for a household membership. (Before 6/11/90, the Baltimore chapter also offered a life membership. If you are a life member of the Baltimore chapter and MOS who joined before 6/11/90, you do not owe anything.)

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Fall Count 2002 Results
Baltimore City and County - Sep 21, 2002

Compiled by Debbie Terry

This year our 28 participants tallied 98 species of birds. The day was warm, averaging around 70 degrees with light winds from the south. Possibly our light southerly winds contributed to the low warbler and Broadwing count. Of the 13 species of warblers seen, Common Yellowthroats led the count with 31 and the 29 Black-and White Warblers tallied were a close second. Surprisingly, only 7 Broadwings were totaled for the day. And only one person saw the gorgeous Buff-breasted Sandpipers that appeared on Hart-Miller Island.

Thanks to all who participated in the 2002 Fall Count: Denise Bayusik, Anne Brooks, Don Burggraf, Catherine Carroll, Ruth Culbertson, Joan Cwi, Gail Frantz, Helene Gardel, Phyllis Grimm, Elliot Kirschbaum, Nancy Kirschbaum, Elise Kreiss, Paul Kreiss, Peter Lev, Sharon Morell, Paul Noell, Jim Peters, Sue Ricciardi, Bob Rineer, Steve Sanford, Gene Scarpulla, Carol Schreter, Marc Stern, Wendy Taparanskas, Debbie Terry, Drew Thornblad, David Thorndill, Paula Warner, Pete Webb.

Double-crested Cormorant    56
Great Blue Heron            15
Great Egret                  2
Green Heron                  1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron   1
Black Vulture                6
Turkey Vulture              29
Canada Goose               151
Wood Duck                    1
Mallard                    305
Osprey                       7
Northern Harrier             1
Sharp-shinned Hawk           3
Cooper's Hawk                4
Red-shouldered Hawk          6
Broad-winged Hawk            7
Red-tailed Hawk              7
American Kestrel             1
Semipalmated Plover          3
Killdeer                    21
Spotted Sandpiper            3
Sanderling                   9
Semipalmated Sandpiper      20
Western Sandpiper            4
Least Sandpiper             30
Baird's Sandpiper            4
Buff-breasted Sandpiper      3
   unidentified peep        22
Laughing Gull              442
Ring-billed Gull           211
Herring Gull               904
Lesser Black-backed Gull     2
Great Black-backed Gull   2147
Caspian Tern               919
Royal Tern                   8
Forster's Tern               7
Rock Dove                  189
Mourning Dove              228
Yellow-billed Cuckoo         1
Chimney Swift             4345
Ruby-throated Hummingbird    7
Belted Kingfisher            7
Red-bellied Woodpecker      39
Downy Woodpecker            40
Hairy Woodpecker             1
Northern Flicker            43
Pileated Woodpecker          3
Eastern Wood-Pewee          12
Eastern Phoebe              15
Great Crested Flycatcher     1
White-eyed Vireo            10
Warbling Vireo               3
Philadelphia Vireo           1
Red-eyed Vireo              24
Blue Jay                   153
Fish Crow                    2
   unidentified crow         6
Tree Swallow                 3
Barn Swallow                 6
Carolina Chickadee         103
Tufted Titmouse             80
White-breasted Nuthatch     26
Carolina Wren               93
House Wren                  13
Eastern Bluebird            12
Swainson's Thrush            7
Wood Thrush                  7
  unidentified thrush        2
American Robin             534
Gray Catbird               129
Northern Mockingbird        59
Brown Thrasher              18
European Starling          551
Cedar Waxwing               18
Nashville Warbler            1
Northern Parula              1
Chestnut-sided Warbler       3
Magnolia Warbler            18
Blk.-thrtd. Blue Warbler     5
Blk.-thrtd. Green Warbler    3
Pine Warbler                 2
Palm Warbler [western]      11
Black-&-white Warbler       29
American Redstart           16
Ovenbird                     2
Common Yellowthroat         31
Yellow-breasted Chat         1
   unidentified warbler      1
Scarlet Tanager              4
Eastern Towhee               8
Chipping Sparrow            16
Song Sparrow                31
Northern Cardinal           84
Rose-breasted Grosbeak       2
Indigo Bunting              11
Red-winged Blackbird        55
Common Grackle              32
Brown-headed Cowbird         3
House Finch                 93
American Goldfinch         150
House Sparrow               90
TOTAL SPECIES               98


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Field Trip Reports

Compiled by Steve Sanford

Sep 1 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - Rained out. (Note the previous issue of Chip Notes erroneously showed this description for August 25)

Sep 8 - North Point State Park - The 43 bird species included a Bald Eagle stealing a fish from an Osprey. There were 13 butterfly species and 5 dragonflies on this trip which focuses on insects as well as birds. 8 participants. Weather: Partly sunny, 65 to 85. Leaders: Brent and Mary Byers.

Sep 8 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - This was a perfect Fall day. With temperatures ranging in the 60's - 70's, the blue sky and sun put all the flowers in a special light at the Arboretum. Twenty-five species showed themselves to the nine birders that walked along. These included a Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Hummingbird, and a Red-shouldered Hawk. (Joseph Lewandowski)

Sep 12- Chimney Swifts in Hampden - Leader Carol Schreter reports: "At dusk Chimney Swifts gathered from all directions. Without much circling tonight, they entered the Mill Center chimney quickly. We counted 4720 as they poured into the chimney between 7:10 and 7:45 PM. This is a communal roost used during migration." Weather: 65 and clear. 12 participants.

September 15, 2002 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - Due to a forecast of rain participation was low but second-hand reports indicate the birding was pretty decent.

Sep 17- Lake Roland - Leader: Ruth Culbertson writes: "Exciting day for warblers! We had 18 species* - both waterthrushes seen by Paul Noell along the stream. Lots of Black-throated Green Warblers in the pine tree near the picnic table. Groups of warblers were flying from one place to another, often high in the tree canopy, so it was neck-breaking for observers, but worth it. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew right over Paul's head and perched and preened. A Green Heron was sitting below the bridge when we returned. Debbie Terry helped us identify the many warblers." 19 participants. 65 species. The weather was sunny, warm and pleasant.

*(Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape May, B-t Blue, B-t Green, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, B&W, Redstart, Northern and Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellowthroat, Hooded, and Canada. Some species seen only by Debbie Terry and a few others, and Paul Noell.)

Sep 21 - Oregon Ridge - Migration almost took a vacation for this field trip which was also part of the Fall Count. The highlight was a fine look at a beautiful Nashville Warbler. The weather was mostly sunny, and warm. 5 participants. 40 species (5 warblers). Leader: Gail Frantz.

Sep 22 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - It was rather warm and muggy with a threat of rain. Even the common birds were scarce. One participant summarized it perfectly with a loud yawn. Well, at least the flowers were beautiful. (Steve Sanford)

Sep 22 - Patuxent North Tract - Unfortunately, nobody showed up except leader Nancy Meier, perhaps due to a forecast of rain that did not materialize.

Sep 24 - Lake Roland - There were 48 species with 6 warblers (Parula, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Blackburnian, and B&W). Weather: sunny and seasonable. 19 participants. Leader: Mary Jo Campbell.

Sep 28 - Chimney Swifts in Hampden - Leader Carol Schreter writes: "2260 Chimney Swifts entered the Mill Center chimney between 7:05 and 7:25 PM on a clear and cool evening. Tonight there was lots of circling before they went into their communal migratory roost." 14 observers.

September 29, 2002 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - It was a pleasant fall morning with lots of activity following the frontal passage of Friday night. Diversity was not great but there were lots of birds, including about 100 Blue Jays, and dozens of Flickers. Highlights included first-of-the-season Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, White-throated Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Myrtle Warbler. There were 6 species of warbler: Parula, Magnolia (about 5), Black-throated Blue Warbler female, Black-throated Green Warbler (6 to 8), Yellowthroats (about 10), and Myrtle. Other goodies were 3 close Broad-winged Hawks overhead, Cooper's Hawk, 2 Swainson's Thrushes, 3-4 Scarlet Tanagers, about 5 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, a Swamp Sparrow, and a Lincoln's Sparrow right by the circle. Collectively we had about 45 species. Surprisingly, only 4 people showed up, and one pair managed to miss the other pair until the very end. (Steve Sanford)

Oct 1- Lake Roland - Best bird was Philadelphia Vireo, well-seen by almost all at the beginning of the walk. There were seven warbler species (Parula, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, B-t Blue, Myrtle, B&W,, N Waterthrush) as well as Rose-breasted Grosbeak. 51 species total. Some of the laggards in the group enjoyed about 5 minutes of great close-up looks at a Pileated Woodpecker, apparently fairly young because the markings in the throat area were somewhat pale. 17 participants. Weather: Mostly sunny, 60's to low 70's. Leader: Dot Gustafson.

Just to show that we are not just a frivolous collection of casual bird-watchers, an earnest intellectual discussion was held by some participants on the subject of what bird species they would prefer to be. The winner was Turkey Vulture on the grounds that they never have a bad-hair day, and they can throw up on whomever they please.

Oct 5 - Cromwell Valley Park - Leader Peter Lev writes: "Prevailing winds have been southerly for weeks, so fall migration has been slow. Still, we had a good time at Cromwell today. Highlights were 3 Palm Warblers (2 Yellow, 1 Western), 3-4 American Kestrels, and 2-3 Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers. We met a Chesapeake Audubon field trip twice during the morning, the 2nd time at exactly the moment that 2 Palm Warblers appeared." The group also had good looks at Variegated Fritillary butterflies. 39 bird species. 10 participants. After an early shower it got warm and sunny, into the low 80's.

Oct 6 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - The first serious cold front of the fall pushed through the previous night and deposited it's avian cargo at Cylburn. There were probably 30 to 50 White-throated Sparrows, and 2-3 first-of-the-season Juncos, as well as several Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and many Robins and Towhees. A special treat was a Lincoln's Sparrow, well-seen by some of us right in the gardens. Several Palm Warblers were present, both the western and yellow varieties. We also had a fleeting glimpse of what was most likely a Winter Wren. There was a well-seen but frustrating mystery warbler with a greenish head and back, and yellow underside, but almost white on the belly, possibly just a Yellowthroat foraging unusually high up. As things slowed down some participants found mushrooms and feral pumpkins more exciting than the birds. 35 bird species. 7 participants. (Steve Sanford)

Oct 8 - Lake Roland - Another frontal passage brought temperatures down into the 50's and 60's, with NE wind 10 to 20 mph. The transition to fall was reflected in sightings such as White-throated Sparrow, several Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Winter Wren, Blue-headed Vireo, and lots of Myrtle Warblers. Perhaps the highlight was a Blackpoll Warbler in its very best confusing fall plumage. Patient waiting allowed us to separate it from Bay-breasted by seeing its pale legs and white undertail coverts. Two lingering Scarlet Tanagers, with no scarlet plumage left, reminded us of departing summer species. 47 species with 5 warblers species (Parula, Magnolia, B-t Blue, Myrtle, Blackpoll). 17 participants. Leader: Gail Frantz.

Oct 13 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - The Arboretum has changed since the last time I was here. The front flowers in the circle drive have been removed. The gardens still have flowers in bloom, but the overcast day with a temperature in the sixties made for a bleak walk for the eight birders out today. The birds did not cooperate, with only eighteen species. The only bright spot, a possible Nashville Warbler. (Joseph Lewandowski)

Oct 15 - Lake Roland - It was cloudy and cold (temperatures from the 30's to the 50's) on this last Lake Roland trip of the fall. Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Myrtle Warblers were quite numerous. A large assemblage of Turkey Vultures remained by the bridge all morning. This is quite unusual there, so perhaps they were migrants. 45 species. 13 participants. Leader: Josie Gray.

Oct 20 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - Another cloudy day with temperatures dropping into the 50's greeted six birders out at Cylburn. However, despite the weather, birding was good. Thirty species dotted our list. We saw Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Yellowthroats, Kinglets, and big flocks of Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and Goldfinches. Blue-headed Vireo also made the list, and with plenty of birds at the feeder, the day was a great birding success. (Joseph Lewandowski)

Oct 26 - Northampton Furnace Trail - It was cool, cloudy and a little drizzly. The species list confirmed that winter is around the corner. In the woods there were White-throats and Juncos, several Hermit Thrushes and Winter Wrens, and lots of Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. One Hermit Thrush gave an extended sampling of the uncommon whistling call note (as opposed to the low "cherk" or Catbird-like squeal). On the water there were about 50 to 100 American Wigeon, a large flock of Coots, and a few Ruddy Ducks and Gadwall, along with the expected Canada Geese and Mallards. A small, speedy raptor around the water was probably a Merlin. 35 species. 8 participants. Leader: Joy Wheeler.

Oct 27 - Cylburn Sunday Morning - This was the perfect Fall day for the last Cylburn walk for the season. Eleven birder walked and talked under sun, blue skies and temperatures in the 50 F range. The gardens are all but gone, with bare flower beds and a few remaining flowers in bloom. We did see some interesting birds in the 28 species tallied this day. Sapsuckers, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Hermit and Wood Thrush, Bluebird, and a Winter Wren were the keynote birds seen. All the birders agreed that this was a good day and a fitting end to the Cylburn Fall season walks. Till Spring! (Joseph M. Lewandowski)

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Chimney Swifts -- Spring and Fall 2002

By Carol Schreter

In both 2001 and 2002, Baltimore ranked second in the nation in early September counts of migrating Chimney Swifts. Each year, 4,500 to 5,000 migrating Swifts were counted at dusk as they dropped into a Hampden chimney, a communal roost site. (See "Swift Night Out" nation-wide results for both years at

Charts accompanying this article detail weekly Spring and Fall counts at Hampden. These numbers were supplied to SwiftWatch, a migration research project at William and Mary College in Virginia. (See their informative website at

Notice that Spring migration, northward, lasts about a month. Fall migration, southward with young of the year, seems to last two full months -- or until the first frost. At Hampden the action continues, night after night.

Baltimore might be a Chimney Swift migration hot spot. A team of more than 20 Baltimore SwiftWatchers was watching for Chimney Swift migration action all over town in the Spring and Fall 2002.

Swifts Around Town

- Kernan Hospital's main building in southwest Baltimore:
High count of 2,042 Swifts on September 20, 2002 reported by Nancy Meier and Candy Andrejewski.

- 5th Regiment Armory in downtown Baltimore:
High count of 1,077 Swifts on April 25, 2002 reported by Clare Barkley.

- Home and Hospital Center of Baltimore County Schools, Brooklandville:
High count of 560 Swifts on October 7, 2002 reported by Adelaide Rackemann.

- Apartment building at 3700 N. Charles Street:
High count of 500 Swifts on September 12, 2002 reported by Joan Cwi.

- Masonic Temple, 85 Main St. in Reisterstown, MD.
High count of 328 Swifts on April 30, 2002 reported by Phyllis Grimm and Gail Frantz.

Swifts have been seen pouring into other chimneys. These three chimneys warrant watching next year:

- Westchester Center, a school building in Oella , MD.;

- Garrett Heights Elementary School in Hamilton - watch in the Fall;

- Carey Hall at Gilman School in Roland Park.

Switching Chimneys

We don't know why Swifts choose or change chimneys. In Hampden they switch from the Bookbindery to the Mill Center -- or use both chimneys, less than a block apart. At the 3700 N. Charles Street apartment building with two chimneys, the Chimney Swifts may overnight in one or both chimneys. Swifts have been pouring into the 5th Regiment Armory chimney downtown both Spring and Fall, but suddenly stopped using it in mid September 2002 at the height of Fall migration. We were relieved to learn from the building manager that he had not closed off this chimney -- allaying our concern that even Swifts can be penalized by human fears of terrorist action.

SwiftWatch is a project of the BBC Conservation Committee. We hope to document the roost sites of migrating Chimney Swifts and alert building managers to the importance of keeping these chimneys open for the Chimney Swifts.

Let us know if you are interested in watching a chimney next year and sending counts to the SwiftWatch researchers. Contact Carol Schreter at (410) 664-5151 or Alice Nelson at .

Chimney Swifts in Hampden -- Spring 2002

   Date       Where     First Bird In   Last In    Count Total

4/17/02  Bookbindery          8:05 PM   8:35 PM       130
4/21/02  Bookbindery          7:05 PM   7:40 PM        86
4/25/02  Bookbindery          6:45 PM   8:25 PM     4,716
4/26/02  Bookbindery          7:50 PM   8:20 PM   3,000+ (est.)
 5/1/02  Bookbindery          8:20 PM   8:28 PM       852
 5/9/02  Mill Center ONLY     6:31 PM   8:00 PM     2,063
5/11/02  Bookbindery          8:07 PM   8:38 PM        43
5/11/02  Mill Center          8:04 PM   8:39 PM       660

Note: (est.) means an estimate. At other times birds were counted at the moment each dropped into the chimney.

Swifts enter earlier as days grow shorter and on cloudy or cool evenings.

Counters in Hampden included: Alice & David Nelson, Carol Schreter, Nancy and Elliot Kirschbaum, Cathy Carroll, Phil Whittlesey, Regina Welsh, Joan Cwi, Helene Gardel, Jeanne Bowman and many others.

Chimney Swifts in Hampden -- Fall 2002

   Date      Where  First Bird In     Last In  Count Total
 8/30/02  Bookbindery    6.55 PM      8:05 PM   1,000+ (est.)*
 8/30/02  Mill Center      -          -         fewer
  9/4/02  Mill Center    7:00 PM      7:55 PM   3,000(est.)
  9/7/02  Mill Center    7:23 PM      7:56 PM   4,931
  9/8/02  Mill Center    7:00 PM      7:52 PM   5,232
 9/12/02  Mill Center    7:10 PM      7:45 PM   4,720
 9/14/02  Mill Center    6:33 PM      7:32 PM   6,221
 9/21/02  Mill Center    6:32 PM      7:25 PM   4,120
 9/28/02  Mill Center    7:05 PM      7:25 PM   2,261
 10/6/02  Mill Center    6:50 PM      7:05 PM     730
 10/15/02 Mill Center    6:29 PM      6:48 PM   1,021
 10/22/02 Mill Center    6:20 PM      6:45 PM      91
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Trip to Phoenix
By Ben Poscover

Having just returned from my trip to Phoenix and the Sonoran Desert, I am indebted to those in MOS who answered my inquiry concerning traveling with binoculars, scope, and tripod as well as the suggestions as to where we (my son George and myself) could best locate birds.

Packing every thing as a check-in and not doing it as carry-on worked very well for us. I did pack a smaller scope, 60mm, which facilitated this process. In addition to the suggestions we received on birding sites, we found the following book a great help and would recommend it without hesitation to anyone planning a birding trip to the Phoenix area: Rupp, Michael J. Guide to 101 Birding Sites (Phoenix). (Phoenix: Rupp Aerial Photography, Inc.) 2002.

If one wanted to maximize a bird list, I would not advise them to travel to the Sonoran Desert during the middle of October. Summer migratory birds were gone for the most part and winter species had not yet arrived. But if one wanted great conditions in which to experience the Sonoran Desert, this would be the time to go. The weather was beautiful with temperatures in the upper 70's and low 80's, the air dry, and the sky October blue.

We did list 77 species with 18 of them being life birds. Most of our species were those listed as "abundant" or "common". However, as far as birding was concerned, we had no complaints and thrilled at the birds we saw. The Sonoran Desert was a delight. Having visited the Mojave, Chihuahuan, and Great Basin Deserts, I looked forward to finally seeing the Sonoran desert with much anticipation. The Saguaro Cactus defined it for me. Why did I think that it was an endangered species found only in very specific locations? It was abundant in the locations that we visited.

Here are some of the places we visited and the life birds we sighted:

October 17: South Mountain Park, Neeley Water Ranch, and Gilbert Water Ranch - Gila Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Verdin, Townsend's Solitaire, Bendire's Thrasher, Curve Billed Thrasher, Canyon Towhee, Abert's Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Black Throated Sparrow

October 18: Salt River, Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Harris Hawk, Anna's Hummingbird, Bewick's Wren, Hermit Warbler, Phainopepla

October 19: Saguaro National Park, Arizona City MPC Lake, Eloy Waste Water Treatment Plant. - White Tailed Kite, Black-chinned Hummingbird.

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BBC Mail Order

The Baltimore Bird Club is now offering its merchandise for sale through its mail order section. The following items are available. All prices include shipping costs.

Baltimore Bird Club's Birding Site Guide - $12.00
Baltimore Bird Club T-Shirt - $18.00 (only XL left)
MOS Patch - $3.50
MOS Decal - $3.50

Please make your check or money order payable to "The Baltimore Bird Club" and send your order to: Joseph Lewandowski, 3021 Temple Gate, Baltimore, Maryland 21209.

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Back Yard Birding and Beyond

By Gail Frantz

Windsor Mills

  • From Elise Kreise, October 5: male Black-throated Blue Warbler on the hanging feeder Saturday morning. It poked around in the seed, flew off to a tree; captured an insect flycatcher-like; returned to the feeder, and seemed to find something of interest. The same day saw a Common Nighthawk pass over Leakin Park in mid-afternoon


  • Sep 13, Old Hanover Rd: Good day for raptors on Bob Slaterbeck's property. Harrier, Cooper's, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks. Also Redstarts and Magnolia Warblers, Rough-winged and Barn Swallows along with 23 Chimney Swifts.

Oct. 22, Old Hanover Rd: the Mandel wetland sparrows included Song, White-crowned, White throated, Swamp, Field and Chipping Sparrows in a variety of plumages. No Tree Sparrows yet.


  • From Steve Sanford : After I got home from our productive morning at Cylburn, Oct 6, on what qualifies as our first serious fall-like day, I heard a chip or two in my yard. Almost immediately I saw a handsome Blue-headed Vireo. After a while I saw a male Black-throated Blue Warbler and then a Black-throated Green Warbler, and also my first White-throated Sparrow in the yard for the fall. For my yard this is a fall out! The next day I saw my first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the yard for a long time.


  • September 20, Elise Kreise reports about her Mom's new house bird in Mom's in a town called Cataumet, just south of the Cape Cod canal: Received an excited answering machine message from my Mom about seeing what she thinks was an Osprey. Of course, she's had them around the pond; just never in her kitchen! She heard the wing beats before she saw the bird. It hurtled in through the double kitchen windows as if escaping from something. It veered in front of her canary (who was startled into speechlessness), and made a U-turn to land with its talons on a screen door, madly beating its wings before retreating to a large storage shelf. She thought better of walking by it to open the door. Rather, she approached the back door from outside the house, pulling it towards her. After a minute or so, the bird took off. And that's a good thing, because she doesn't have a clue how to cook an Osprey!

Sparrows Point

  • Oct.21 from John Mantis: While golfing at Sparrows Point Country Club on Monday a beautiful Bald Eagle flew over our heads no more than 30 ft above! I've never seen one at this vicinity before.


On September 17 while birding on Northampton Furnace Trail, one of her favorite spots, Joy Wheeler had a good view of the elusive Connecticut Warbler.



Let us hear about your Back Yard and Maryland Birding too!!!,

Call or write to:

Gail Frantz
13955 Old Hanover Rd.
Reisterstown MD 21136

Tel: 410-833-7135


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