The newsletter of the Baltimore Bird Club

August-September 1999 -- Online Edition


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1999 May Count

By Michele Melia, Compiler

The 1999 May Count was held on Saturday, May 8 with a total of 40 Bird Club members turning out to enumerate our fine feathered friends in Baltimore City and County. This year's weather was marked by a warm and early spring, in contrast to last year's cold and rain, and the contrast is apparent in the species and counts of birds. A total of 162 species were identified this year - identical to last year. However, while last year's count was remarkable for lingering winter species - particularly ducks and winter finches - these species were largely absent this year, replaced by migrating passerines in almost uniformly higher numbers than last year. Hence, while last year's count included species like northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Purple Finch and Red Crossbill, this year's count had instead species such as Black-billed Cuckoo, Solitary Vireo, Tennessee Warbler, Palm Warbler, and Prothonotary Warbler. One warbler species (Myrtle) is included in the top five most numerous for this year's count.

One note of good news: the Bank Swallow colony at Day's Cove that was bulldozed two years ago by the state is re-establishing itself, and Bank Swallow once again heads the count as most numerous species. It is followed in distant second by Myrtle Warbler - the first time in my tenure as count coordinator that a warbler species has appeared in the top five. Rounding out the top five are Herring Gull, Gray Catbird, and Red-winged Blackbird (a perennial top five finisher). Many thanks to all of you who participated in this year's count.

The list:


COMMON LOON                  1
DBL-CR CORMORANT           133
GREAT BLUE HERON            98
GREAT EGRET                  6
SNOWY EGRET                  4
CATTLE EGRET                14
GREEN HERON                  9
CANADA GOOSE               228
WOOD DUCK                    8
MALLARD                     73
LESSER SCAUP                 1
COMMON MERGANSER             1
RUDDY DUCK                   1
BLACK VULTURE               31
TURKEY VULTURE              67
OSPREY                      22
BALD EAGLE, immature         1
NORTHERN HARRIER             4
BROAD-WINGED HAWK            4
RED-TAILED HAWK             13
AMERICAN KESTREL             4
WILD TURKEY                  5
KILLDEER                    35
WILLET                       1
LEAST SANDPIPER            119
DUNLIN                       9
PEEP SP.                    20
BONAPARTE'S GULL             8
RING-BILLED GULL            30
HERRING GULL               384
CASPIAN TERN               294
ROYAL TERN                   5
COMMON TERN                  4
FORSTER'S TERN               1
ACCIPITER, species           1
LEAST TERN                   8
ROCK DOVE                   87
MOURNING DOVE              121
GREAT HORNED OWL             1
BARRED OWL                   3
COMMON NIGHTHAWK             4
WHIP-POOR-WILL               7
CHIMNEY SWIFT               49
DOWNY WOODPECKER            34
HAIRY WOODPECKER             7
NORTHERN FLICKER            31
EMPIDONAX SP.                1
EASTERN PHOEBE              28
EASTERN KINGBIRD           109
PURPLE MARTIN               13
TREE SWALLOW               147
BANK SWALLOW               900
CLIFF SWALLOW               50
BARN SWALLOW               294
BLUE JAY                   333
AMERICAN CROW              182
FISH CROW                   36
CROW Sp.                    24
TUFTED TITMOUSE            136
CAROLINA WREN               84
HOUSE WREN                  62
MARSH WREN                   6
EASTERN BLUEBIRD            49
VEERY                       59
SWAINSON'S THRUSH           24
HERMIT THRUSH                4
WOOD THRUSH                110
AMERICAN ROBIN             264
GRAY CATBIRD               383
BROWN THRASHER               4
AMERICAN PIPIT               3
CEDAR WAXWING              235
WHITE-EYED VIREO            63
SOLITARY VIREO               1
WARBLING VIREO               6
RED-EYED VIREO             163
NORTHERN PARULA            126
YELLOW WARBLER              94
MAGNOLIA WARBLER            17
MYRTLE WARBLER             552
PINE WARBLER                 7
PRAIRIE WARBLER             30
PALM WARBLER                 3
CERULEAN WARBLER             1
OVENBIRD                   120
KENTUCKY WARBLER             7
HOODED WARBLER              17
WILSON'S WARBLER             1
CANADA WARBLER              21
SUMMER TANAGER               1
SCARLET TANAGER             98
BLUE GROSBEAK               11
INDIGO BUNTING              70
CHIPPING SPARROW            96
FIELD SPARROW               34
SAVANNAH SPARROW            55
SONG SPARROW               133
SWAMP SPARROW               12
BOBOLINK                   270
COMMON GRACKLE             232
ORCHARD ORIOLE              21
BALTIMORE ORIOLE            90
HOUSE FINCH                 58
HOUSE SPARROW               65
 TOTAL SPECIES             162 


COUNTERS: Bill Balfour, Jeanne Bowman, Anne Brooks, Brent Byers, Mary Byers, Simon Calle, Mary Jo Campbell, Ruth Culbertson, Ralph Cullison, JoAnn Dreyer, Muffin Evander, Gail Frantz, Greg Futral, Shirley Geddes, Kevin Graff, Josie Gray, Dot Gustafson, Ann Higgins, Jane Highsaw, Him Highsaw, Kye Jenkins, Sukon Kanchanaraksa, Elliot Kirschbaum, Nancy Kirschbaum, Dolly Leonig, Peter Lev, Michele Melia, Paul Noell, Patsy Perlman, Mac Plant, Linda Prentice, Meg Pryor, Bob Rineer, Steve Sanford, Jeannie Sawyers, Gene Scarpulla, Steve Simon, Van Stewart, Deborah Terry, Pete Webb

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Thanks to the Museum Team
-- Invitation to Join --

By Joy Wheeler

One of our most visible contacts with the public is with our Baltimore Bird Club Museum of the Birds of Maryland at Cylburn. The collection, which was begun as far as we can tell in the 1960's, is unique in Baltimore. It was restored in 1983-84 under the creative curatorship of Patsy Perlman and artist, Barbara Fry.

Its 275 specimens make up a large part of Maryland's 400 possible species. We have a permit, renewed yearly, to salvage birds in Maryland and receive them in our freezer whenever offered. We have an extinct bird, the bird that is our national symbol, the Maryland state bird, and one of Baltimore's Peregrine Falcons. It is valuable for all the ordinary citizens of the area who have never bad a chance to see birds close-up, for artists, carvers and photographers, and for school-age children to become aware of the diversity of life on our planet.

With that introduction I am proposing that many more of you seize the opportunity to be on hand in the museum to engage visitors in conversation about birds, bird conservation, and environmental issues.

During the 1998-99 year we have had a team of willing hosts to whom we are very grateful: Elfriede Carney, Tim Carney, Catherine Bishop, Kathryn Alden, Dorothy Baranauskas, and Martha Bromberger-Barnea. Each of them expressed their pleasure at the opportunity to talk about birds and the museum. It means 2 hours on a Saturday or Sunday whenever Cylburn Arboretum Association has an Open House or other event like Market Day. We need to spread our message about the pleasures and responsibilities of bird study. Baltimore Bird Club's Museum of the Birds of Maryland is the perfect place to do it. Please say YES when I call, or call me at 410-825-1204.

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Postcard from Australia

March 10, 1999

Dear Chippers,

You should consider taking a vacation to Australia. There are lots of endemic birds (and bird families) and most are easy to see. I had a one-day layover, and went birding in the rain forest just outside of Brisbane. For the day I saw 97 species, but could only add one species to my life list - the recently "split" Russet-tailed Thrush. However it was fun to see again many exceptional birds such as Black Swan, Red Knot, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Eastern Yellow Robin, Rainbow Lorikeet, Golden-headed Cisticola, Blue-faced Honeyeater, and of course, the incredible Kookaburra!

Best regards from back on the edge,

Hank Kaestner

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Yosemite: Another View

By Peter Lev

I read Steve Sanford's article "California Disaster" (Chip Notes, March-April 1999), about a birding trip to Yosemite National Park, with some trepidation. Steve had a miserable experience at Yosemite in June, 1993-- heat, crowds, a lack of interesting birds. My wife Yvonne and I were heading to Yosemite in June, 1999. Would we fare any better?

Well, to begin with, the weather in the Sierras is obviously variable. On June 4-7 of this year, temperatures were on the cool side. It had snowed on June 3 (briefly closing the Tioga Pass Road in Yosemite), and we saw snow on the ground at about 6,000 feet on June 4 and 5. Daytime temperatures ranged from 45 to 75 degrees, wonderful birding weather.

We stayed in the small town of Groveland (40 minutes from the Route 120 entrance to the park) in the funky but functional Charlotte Hotel. No air conditioning, which was one of Steve's complaints, but none was needed. Groveland was perfect for us because Yvonne's brother owns a property nearby. Staying within the park would be even better for a 100% birding trip, but would require reservations several months in advance.

We developed two strategies for beating the crowds in Yosemite. First, visit popular tourist sites early in the morning. We got to Glacier Point before 9 AM on a Saturday and were the fifth car in the parking lot. A Pygmy Nuthatch was singing from the top of a tree, and the views were delightful. On Monday, we reached Mirror Lake by midmorning, and found it only moderately populated by tourists. I'm sure that afternoons at Mirror Lake are overcrowded. Our second strategy was to spend some time outside of the very popular Yosemite Valley. We explored areas both north and south of the Valley.

I spent a few hours birding on each day of the trip. The complex of meadows around Crane Flat, recommended by all the books, was disappointing. I checked the area twice, and discovered nothing more exciting than a Red-breasted Nuthatch. However, I did find two interesting birding spots.

By far the most productive area was Badger Pass Ski Area, off Glacier Point Rd. This is one of the few less-than-beautiful areas in the park. However, its mixture of meadow, marsh, young trees and parking lots was loaded with birds. In a little more than an hour here, I saw Ash-Throated and Hammond's Flycatchers; Red-Breasted Sapsucker; Hutton's Vireo; Green-Tailed Towhee; Western Bluebird; and MacGillivray's Warbler. Mountain Chickadees and Yellow-Rumped (Audubon's) Warblers were abundant. And there were a few more birds that I'm still wondering about, including a large songbird (bigger than a robin) with generally gray plumage and a pink wash on the belly. What a wonderful spot!

Mirror Lake is a gorgeous place at the east end of Yosemite Valley with a nice mixture of birds. Here I saw Pacific Slope Flycatcher; Violet-Green Swallow; White-Headed Woodpecker; and more familiar birds such as Yellow Warbler and Spotted Sandpiper. Definitely worth a visit for the mixture of birds and scenery.

I also did some birding in the Sierra foothills around Groveland. Nice birds for me here were Lark Sparrow (with adults feeding juveniles!); California Quail; Western Wood-Peewee; Acorn Woodpecker; Bullock's Oriole; and Anna's Hummingbird. Black-headed Grosbeaks were everywhere - one eventually tires of their songs.


This was my first trip to the Sierras. They are overwhelmingly beautiful, and Yosemite is a stunning park. The bird life, though widely dispersed, is impressive. I would love to go back, to search out more high-altitude birds, to visit Mono Lake (outside the park, near the Tioga Pass entrance), to do more hiking. For Steve's "California Disaster," I would substitute "California Dreaming."

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Thanks to the Big Help Team

By Joy Wheeler

On April 10, the Baltimore Bird Club took part in The Big Help, a project of the Nickelodeon TV Channel. It was like nothing we had ever done before. Along the shores of Middle Branch Park we set up our bird club traveling display with a whole team of Baltimore Orioles - eight stuffed birds from our loan collection and one from Essex Community College's collection, that is. We attracted many children with their adult leaders from recreation centers all over Baltimore City. Children and adults alike had never seen a feathered Baltimore Oriole before, though well acquainted with their baseball player namesakes. Each person who approached us received a 3-oriole bird picture-info card to take home to learn more, stamped with our name and telephone number.

At noon the team from a local home improvement business arrived with 100 wren house kits for the children to assemble and take home. Our BBC volunteers were kept busy helping the youngsters put these together. We had expected bluebird house kits and had come prepared with info about caring for them, but were generally relieved that we were not assembling bluebird houses of questionable use in an urban setting. The wren houses went together readily and we can only hope they will not house House Sparrows instead.

Altogether it was a lively day. We proudly took our place along with the Maryland Entomological Society, Carrie Murray Outdoor Education Center, grass-seed ball making, Baltimore City Forestry Board, and others. The Big Help Nickelodeon characters entertained the entire group with dancing Rug Rats and magical tricks, all televised and shown on Channel 28, April 29th at 7:30 .

Did anybody out there see us on TV? I, for one, did not. First hand experience is always better than stale TV, don't you agree? But let us know if you did. Patsy Perlman, Karen Morley, Mike Callahan, and Bix Wheeler were all on hand helping with the kits, talking about our Baltimore Orioles, and pointing out the birds on Middle Branch. Many thanks to them for their support and participation. Thanks, too, to Jon Boone of Oakland who contributed 100 bluebird cards, his beautiful business card.

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It's time to send in your yearly membership dues. Please send them in the dues envelope included with this Chip Notes. If you have any questions, or if the envelope was not included, please contact our Membership Secretary:

Roberta Ross
4128 Roland Ave
Baltimore MD 21211-2034

(410) 467-8137

Dues are $20 for an individual or $30 for a household.

New members who joined after April 30, 1999, and paid a full year's dues at that time, have already paid for the 1999-2000 membership year and do not have to pay any further dues now.

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Native Plant Seminar and Sale

On Saturday, August 28th, the Irvine Natural Science Center will hold the eighth Annual Native Plant Seminar and Sale. This year's seminar will feature three respected experts in native plants: Richard E. Bir, author of Growing Showy Native Woody Plants, Susan E. Salmons of the National Park Service on eradicating non-native plants, and Edgar David of Temple University on designing with the natives. A select representation of the region's native plant nurseries will participate in the plant sale held the same day.

The seminar registration is $50.00. Those who register before August 1 will receive a discount coupon for purchases at the plant sale. The first session begins at 9 a.m. and the conference concludes at 1 p.m. Registered participants may access the plant sale beginning at 8 a.m. The sale is free and open to the public from 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The Irvine Natural Science Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education. The Center is located at 8400 Greenspring Avenue, Stevenson, MD (one mile north of the Baltimore Beltway Exit 22). Call 410-484-2413 for more information.

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Mid-Winter Count - Baltimore City and County: January 23, 1999

Compiled by Pete Webb

R T Loon                  1
P B Grebe                52
Horned Grebe             15
D C Cormorant            24
G B Heron                35
Black Vulture            28
Turkey Vulture           89
Canada Goose           2624
  small C Goose           1
Mute Swan                 8
Gadwall                  42
Wigeon                   96
Black                   127
Mallard                 701
Shoveler                  3
Pintail                   3
Canvasback              800
Redhead                  15
Ring-neck Duck          280
Lesser Scaup            306
Bufflehead              127
Goldeneye                77
Hooded Merg             122
Common Merg              93
Ruddy Duck              563
Bald Eagle                1
Harrier                   5
Sharpie                   4
Cooper's                  3
Red Shoulder              8
Red Tail Hawk            26
Kestrel                  14
Merlin                    6
Peregrine                 1
Pheasant                 11
Turkey (wild)             1
Virginia Rail             4
Coot                   1524
Killdeer                  8
Bonaparte's Gull        239
Ring-billed Gull       2525
Herring Gull           1414
Lesser Black-bk           1
Gt. Black-bk Gull       164
Pigeon                 1144
Mourning Dove           365
Grt Horned Owl            6
Short-eared Owl           2
Kingfisher                9
Red Belly Wpkr           34
Downy Wpkr               38
Hairy Wpkr                7
Flicker                  27
Pileated Wpkr             4
Blue Jay                 50
Am Crow                 776
Fish Crow               108
Crow Sp.                 75
Car. Chickadee          156
Titmouse                110
W B Nuthatch             16
Brown Creeper             1
Carolina Wren            57
Winter Wren               1
G C Kinglet              20
R C Kinglet               4
Bluebird                 40
Hermit Thrush             1
Robin                    19
Mockingbird              35
Starling                976
Am. Pipit                 4
Cedar Waxwing            28
Myrtle Warbler           46
E Towhee                  3
Tree Sparrow             46
Chipping Sparrow          4
Field Sparrow             3
Savannah Sparrow         22
Song Sparrow            206
Swamp Sparrow             3
White-Throat Sp         214
White-crowned  Sp         7
Junco                    69
Snow Bunting             17
N Cardinal              137
Red-winged Bb           257
Grackle                  40
Cowbird                 130
House Finch              73
Goldfinch                68
House Sparrow           241

SPECIES                  90
BIRDS                17,890

COUNTERS: Ralph Cullison, Gail Frantz, Ray Geddes, Shirley Geddes, Kevin Graff, Peter Lev, Elise Meyer-Bothling, Paul Noell, Leanne Pemburn, Mark Pemburn, Bob Rineer, Terry Ross, Roberta Ross, Gene Scarpulla, Steve Simon, Ed Smith, Debbie Terry, Dave Walbeck, Pete Webb, and Joy Wheeler

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Postcard from Manus Island

March 4, 1999

Dear Chippers,

This card is from over the edge. Manus Island is located in the extreme southwest Pacific, but politically part of Papua New Guinea. This area was very important during World War II when the Americans built a large base here which passed ONE MILLION servicemen. Today there are only a few indications of the US presence here 55 years ago. The farmers are trying their hand at vanilla, which is why I am here. On Sunday I took a 2 1/2 hour boat ride to Tong Island, which is the home of some very rare birds: the Manus Fantail and Ebony Myzomela. After Manus I visited New Ireland Island, where, with the help of information provided to me by MOS member Bruce Buehler, I located the incredible Ribbon-tailed Drongo, an endemic.


Hank Kaestner

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Field Trip Reports

Compiled by Steve Sanford

Thank you Peter Lev for providing most of the Lake Roland narratives, and Kevin Graff for e-mail summaries of some trips otherwise unreported.

March 6 - Baltimore Harbor - This trip visited the Harbor Hospital area, Cherry Hill Park, and Southwest Area Park. Some of the best birds were at Cherry Hill Park: Common Snipe, Ring-necked Pheasant, Savannah Sparrow, and Tree Sparrow. 5 participants. Leader: Mark Pemburn.

March 13 - Centennial Lake - Waterfowl included American Wigeon and Ring-necked Duck. 35 species. 3 participants. Leader: Burton Alexander.

March 20 - Middle Creek, PA - It was a beautiful March day for the 7 participants to enjoy the waterfowl at this great spot in Lancaster Co., PA.

Much as he tried, the leader could not shake off Gail Frantz's party. At the Timonium Park n' Ride he announced they would be regrouping at "the Burger King in York." The lead vehicle quickly lost sight of Gail's vehicle, and she ended up at a different Burger King, where, incidentally, she was rewarded with the most beautiful fast-food restroom she ever saw. Her description of it was sheer poetry!

Gail cleverly found her way to Middle Creek anyway, where she chastised the feckless leader severely. But harmony was restored by the sight of thousands of waterfowl. There were about 25,000 Snow Geese - 23,512 according to Kevin Graff - which a Bald Eagle stirred into glorious flight, and 13 other species of waterfowl in smaller numbers, including about 200 Tundra Swans, plus one lonely Snipe, and several Tree Sparrows.

The excellent displays of mounted birds at the visitor center were - as always - another attraction of the trip. The species total was 50. Feckless Leader: Steve Sanford.

March 23 - Lake Roland - A cool morning, with partial sun. Highlights were Common Merganser (not common at Lake Roland), Gadwall, and Eastern Phoebe (5 or 6). Curiously, we did not see any Rock Doves, Starlings, House Finches, or House Sparrows. It was a day for native birds. 29 species. 17 participants, Leader: Adelaide Rackemann

March 30 - Lake Roland - Today we had 23 birders and 30 species on a lovely morning. Good birds not seen last week were Common Loon (4 seen overhead), Rough-winged Swallow, and Hooded Merganser. Gadwall, and Eastern Phoebe were again around. Leader: Chris Manning

April 6 - Lake Roland - It was a "great spring day," around 50, with lots of early spring migrants including 10 Palm Warblers, and 11 Cormorants. 39 species. 24 participants. Leader: Patsy Perlman

April 11 - Loch Raven - Rained out. We thank leader Kye Jenkins for trying anyway.

April 13 - Lake Roland - A sunny but windy day. We saw nothing extraordinary, just a nice list of April birds: Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk (several), Tree and Rough-winged Swallows, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, both kinglets, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers. One birder wandered off on his own and saw a Barred Owl. 41 species were counted overall. 21 participants. Leader: Matilda Weiss

April 17 - Fort Smallwood - This hawk-watching trip hit Broad-winged Hawk migration literally at its peak. The watch had a record-breaking 814 Broadwings, and a total of 1412 raptors according to watch-compiler Sue Ricciardi. In addition to the hawks there were various water birds such as Caspian Terns and Red-breasted Mergansers. At the Nursery Road meeting place was an early Parula Warbler and Savannah Sparrow. 67 species. 4 birders came with the BBC trip with about 10 more watchers coming to the hawk-watch which is regularly manned and visited every day during the spring.

April 20 - Lake Roland - It's beginning to feel like migration. We saw 56 species today. Songbird arrivals were White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, and Louisiana Waterthrush. Three Horned Grebes in breeding plumage gave us excellent looks. Other water birds were Black-crowned Night-Heron and Blue-winged Teal. Raptors included Barred Owl, Osprey, Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was well-seen, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets were found at several locations in the park. 23 participants, Leader: Dot Gustafson

April 24 - Huntley Meadows - The highlights at this remarkable sample of freshwater marshland in the Virginia suburbs of D.C. were an excellent close-up view of a grunting King Rail, a Common Moorhen, and a posing close-up Solitary Sandpiper. It was a pleasant spring day with about 12 participants. Leader: Pete Webb.

April 27 - Lake Roland - A beautiful morning with a nice group of migrating songbirds. Orioles were prominently seen and heard-mostly Baltimores, but we had a few Orchards as well. Nine warbler species were counted, including Blue-winged, Worm-eating, and Wilson's. Other arrivals were Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, and Blue-headed Vireo. Overall, we saw and/or heard 62 species. 28 participants, Leader: Elliot Kirschbaum

May 1 - Gwynn's Falls Park: Crimea Mansion - 18 birders gathered at this attractive area with it's mansion and varied habitat of fields, shrubs, deep woods, and stream at the beginning of the peak of spring migration. Unfortunately, the migrants must have been resting elsewhere in preparation for a big push during the workweek. It was sunny, and cool - almost fall-like, which was probably the problem. As leader Scott Crabtree wrote: "A stalled high pressure system from the north kept migrants to a minimum." There were 41 species

May 4 - Lake Roland - Birding seemed slow today, although we counted a respectable 59 species. After a week of northeast winds, neotropical migrants were sparse. We did have a female Scarlet Tanager (seen) and a Yellow-throated Vireo (heard). Lots of Northern Parulas were around, but we saw a total of only 5 warbler species. Shorebirds included a Snipe, two Solitary Sandpipers (no, they were not together) and a few peeps. 23 participants, Leader: Shirley Geddes

May 9 - Phoenix - 10 birders enjoyed 63 species on this beautiful day. There were 14 species of warblers including Prothonotary, Blackburnian, and both waterthrushes. Leader: Steve Simon. Due to an inconsistency between Chip Notes and the program book schedule we had two fieldtrips this day. Thank you Steve Simon for leading this one on short notice.

May 9 - Milford Mill Park - On this sunny, moderately warm day 8 birders enjoyed 14 species of warblers with good numbers of Redstarts, Black-throated Blues, and Yellow-rumps. There were good views of Swainson's and Wood Thrushes. A female Pileated Woodpecker on a dead tree - 20 feet from the trail - was too busy looking for breakfast to concern itself with a gaggle of admiring birdwatchers. Leaders: Sukon Kanchanaraksa and Michele Melia.

May 11 - Lake Roland - This was an excellent birding day at Lake Roland. 16 warbler species were seen, and 81 (WOW!) species overall. The bird of the day was a Prothonotary Warbler. Shirley Geddes remembers when Prothonotaries nested at Lake Roland, but currently they are rare visitors during migration. Other warblers of note were Blue-winged and Kentucky. Both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles were around, and a Great Egret was in the marsh north of the lake. 24 participants. Leader: Shirley Geddes

May 18 - Lake Roland - A singing male Prothonotary Warbler was again at Lake Roland today, so nesting is at least a possibility this year. A total of 11 warblers was seen or heard, including Canada and Blackpoll. It was also a thrushy day; we encountered Veery, Wood Thrush, Swainson's, and Gray-cheeked/Bicknell's. Overall, 66 species were seen. 27 participants, Leader: Ruth Culbertson

May 25 - Lake Roland - On this beautiful, fall-like day, we saw mainly summer residents at Lake Roland. The Prothonotary Warbler was singing on territory-but no one has seen a female yet. A few yards away was a singing Warbling Vireo. In the "park" area, we saw both Blackpoll (migrant) and Black-and-white Warblers. A female Wood Duck with babies was at the north end of the lake. Among the other summer birds were both oriole species, Yellow-throated Vireo, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and Spotted Sandpiper (or was this last fellow just passing through?). 63 species, 25 participants, Leader: Josie Gray

May 30 - Liberty Plus - 6 birders gathered at Owings Mills Mall and then in the Liberty Lake area for late spring birds. Leader Gail Frantz writes:

Relentless development at the Owings Mill Mall has used up at least another 40 to 50 acres of habitat. Missing for the first time in 5 years were Scarlet Tanager, both species of orioles, and Yellow-throated Vireo. One of two singing Willow Flycatchers cooperated nicely so that everyone got a good look through the scope. A Great Blue Heron with a beak full of nesting material flew over the mall's large settling pond. A Kingfisher caught a fish while we watched - how did these fish, one of the birders thought it was a blue gill - get into the settling pond?

At the Liberty Lake area were nests of Baltimore Oriole and Eastern Kingbird, a male Yellow Warbler feeding young, and 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Over the last 4 years the Cliff Swallow colony off Route 91 has dropped from 11 to 6 active nests. Nevertheless they gave a good show. The young have not fledged as of yet.

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Cylburn Fieldtrips: Spring 1999

By Joseph M. Lewandowski

March 21, 1999

The first Sunday walk of the season was overcast but the light rain did stop as our walk began. Six participants showed up and all were pleased to start a new spring.

We observed ten species of birds during our 11/2 hour walk (rain started again). Besides the usual birds, we heard Towhees and had a good view of a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The high point of the morning was spotting an adult Bald Eagle soaring above us. I cannot recall seeing one at Cylburn before.

Not bad for a gloomy day in March!

(Summary provided by Chris Manning)

March 28, 1999

With a temperature in the mid-40's, five birders came out on a cool, windy, overcast day to see what birds Cylburn has to offer. This is a different time of year, with the trees still bare and little in the way of blooms in the gardens. However, 27 species graced our bird list. A Cooper's and a Red-tailed Hawk soared above us and a Kestrel did his acrobatics. Fox, Song, and White-throated Sparrows as well as Canada Geese flying overhead were present

April 4, 1999

What a beautiful day to go bird watching! Temperature was perfect - in the 60's. Little wind and blue skies with the sun warm and bright added to the perfection. For the two birders that ventured out, Mother Nature had a great day planned. Twenty-one species dotted our bird list. A Kestrel eating a mouse, Mockingbirds flying about, Cowbirds milling about, Chipping Sparrows on the lawn, and a Grackle. The Arboretum was filled with yellow daffodils that gave promise to a great spring. Tulips were showing their leaves; could the blooms be that far behind.

April 11, 1999

With a temperature in the 40's, overcast, and rain, it was not the best day to bird. Five birders decided to walk the trails of Cylburn for a short time and tallied seven species. They were all common species but we saw that many wildflowers were out, the daffodils made their yellow carpet throughout the Arboretum, and the tulips were beginning to flower. They say that April showers bring May flowers, but I believe that spring is just around the corner at Cylburn.

April 18, 1999

It was a sunny day with a temperature in the 50's that greeted twelve birders at Cylburn. Spring was definitely in the air. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Rough-winged Swallows, and Song Sparrows fluttered across our path. A close-up look at a Palm Warbler gave everyone a peak at this first warbler of the season. A Hermit Thrush and Cowbirds rounded out our list. Twenty-three species of birds were seen as well as wildflowers and the start of the tulips. Compared to last week's rain, it was a great birding day at Baltimore's outstanding Arboretum.

April 25, 1999

It was another great Sunday at Cylburn. This sunny day with the temperature in the 50's showed the twelve birders that walked the trails all the wonders that an Arboretum has to offer. Tulips were out in force, the small gardens were beginning to show their wonders, and the birds were there aplenty. Forty-four birds topped our species list with such notables as a Redstart, Black-throated Green Warbler, Broad-winged Hawk, Hairy Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, Indigo Bunting, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, White-eyed and Warbling Vireos, and Rough-winged Swallows. Some of the close ups of the birds were spectacular and everyone enjoyed a day with nature.

May 2, 1999

The Sundays at Cylburn are beginning to look repetitive. A sunny day with the temperature in the 50's again greeted thirteen birders. New fences circled the small gardens and the flowers were out in force. Forty-one birds topped our species list. A flock of Cedar Waxwings met us along the trail along with a Wood Thrush; and a beautiful red fox looked at us as we walked along. A House Wren, Barn Swallows, Broad-winged Hawk, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, and Solitary Sandpiper were some of our notable birds. The highlight of this trip was the sighting of a Great Horned Owl.

May 16, 1999

The tulips have all disappeared, the dead tree at the end of the Circle Trail has been cut down, and the trees have gained their leaves. This probably means that spring is on the way out. For the nine birders who traveled the Arboretum on this, the last Cylburn walk of the spring season, it meant a time to say good-by to friends and part our ways. Twenty-five birds graced our species list. A few Cedar Waxwings were in the high trees, a Yellowthroat, Blackpoll, and Yellow Warbler were present, and the Barn Swallows were circling the fields. Wildflowers were still in bloom to let us know that for some plants, spring did not depart. But on this sunny day, it was nice to see the regular birds at our favorite haunt and watch, as we did, the Wood Thrushes walk down the familiar trails of Cylburn. Here's hoping the summer brings you good birding and that the fall will find you on the Cylburn trails.

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Postcard from India

Dear Chippers,

A day layover between Cairo and Cochin in south India allowed some birding in the modern city of New Delhi. In spite of India's incredible population density, there is quite a lot of good birding habitat near town. In fact, the Delhi area bird list is over 450 species. I started the day in the Buddha Jayanti Park, which contains much acacia forest on a hill known as Delhi Ridge. It was fun to see wild Peacocks, Gray Francolins, Oriental Honey-Buzzards, Indian Gray Hornbills, Rose-ringed and Blossom-headed Parakeets by the hundreds, all in the city-limits of Delhi. Saw several new for my list: Plain Leaf Warbler, Gray-necked and White-capped Buntings. Later in the day I rented a boat to visit an island located in the Yumana River, the home to the localized White-tailed Stonechat, another lifer.

Best - Hank Kaestner

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Volunteer Counters Needed for
Turkey Point Hawk Watch

By Leslie Fisher

The Cecil Bird Club wishes that their neighboring Baltimore Bird Club cohorts would come out and share in the excitement of the 1999 Turkey Point Hawk Watch, which was established in 1994 by Cecil founding president Gary Griffith and veteran hawk watcher Charles Gant. Join us on Wed. September 1st, 11am. for the official dedication of an interpretive sign to the Elk Neck State Park. Club member Ron Kelczewski has been working hard all summer constructing this much needed and informative piece of work. The club is excited to be contributing something of lasting value to the park.

In the past, hawk watchers have had breath taking looks of raptors in their often "naked eye" flight path across the point, while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the peninsula. Already I am thinking of gusty fall days, with one Red-tail after another soaring over the point, wings set against the buffeting wind. Who can forget the excitement when someone yells "PEREGRINE!!!", the sense of awe when the sky is filled with migrating raptors. If hawk watching is your game, you need to join us at Turkey Point this fall.

Our best season to date has been 5,000 raptors with much less than full time coverage, and we suspect that being strategically located on a peninsula, the numbers could be much higher, perhaps even significant, with regular volunteer coverage. Therefore, we invite you to join us at the Turkey Point Hawk Watch on a regular basis, for a few hours, for a day, once a week, come as you can, whatever!! We look forward to seeing you. I encourage all who can commit to a specific date(s) to contact me, Leslie Fisher, as I will be coordinating volunteers. A regular core of counters would be wonderful. Call 410-658-2427 or e-mail . It would be equally welcome for spur of the moment visitors to report data, should they find no counter present. Ron K., builder of the new sign will also be data compiler, and will submit to HMANA at the end of the season. Call Ron at 302-738-4345, or e-mail with your data. More information on Turkey Point and Cecil County birding can be found at the web site,

Turkey Point is located in Cecil County, in the northeast corner of Maryland. The Point is a peninsula of land between the Elk and Northeast Rivers, at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. The peninsula is roughly triangular, with the point facing south, and this shape funnels and concentrates migrating birds, which are often reluctant to cross the water To reach Turkey Point, take I-95 or Route 40 into Cecil County. Exit at Rt. 272 south and enter the town of North East. Continue straight through town and remain on 272 south. Continue past the main part of Elk Neck State Park (camping area, day use areas and administrative offices) and past the community of Chesapeake Isle. Rt. 272 ends and the Turkey Point parking lot. Park here and follow the trail 0.9 miles to the second meadow.

Look for the sign and people staring into the sky! We hope to see you during the 1999 Turkey Point hawk watching season.

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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

by Gail Frantz

Baltimore City From his yard, Scott Crabtree enjoyed a Screech Owl in February and a Woodcock in the middle of March. The first of April brought Scott a special visitor that few folks in Baltimore County got to see this year - a Red-breasted Nuthatch at his feeder.

Irma Weinstein reports two new and welcome yard birds:

I live in the city, not far from the Pimlico Race Track, so I generally get the usual feeder birds: Chickadees, Titmice, Cardinals etc. March 20: At my feeder I saw a bird I had never seen at my feeder before. It turned out to be a Fox Sparrow! Then on April 27, I got a Towhee which was another first.


Baltimore County


April 5: Chris McSwain saw a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks fly over her house and on April 27 was pleased to be able to observe a flock of fifteen Cedar Waxwings that spent two days in her yard.

From Steve Sanford:

April 3: I just got a pleasant surprise, a new yard bird: Field Sparrow. Considering the habitat here I would say it's a Far-afield Sparrow. I'm still very jealous of all those people getting Fox Sparrows in their yards.

April 16: I had a most welcome visitor: As I was leaving for work this morning, I noticed a little warbler-like thing hopping in one of my taller trees. I almost ignored it, but finally decided to go back and get my binoculars. Thank goodness, because it was a great new yard-bird: a Yellow-throated Warbler -one of my favorites, and certainly one of the prettiest warblers. This is particularly remarkable considering the lack of habitat in my yard and neighborhood. It's the only warbler I've had in my yard so far this season. Chipping Sparrows have been relatively thick (up to 5 at at a time) in the yard most days since April 1. I usually only see them for a few days in spring and fall.

April 19: I finally cleaned out and re-filled the upside-down thistle feeder that had been idle all winter and the Goldfinches are back in force. They are almost all the way back to breeding plumage.

June 11: I had a good bird for my yard last night. I heard a loud yelp then "Who-cooks-for you" twice from a Barred Owl that sounded quite close. This is only the second time I've had one here.

June 17: Another yard bird first was a Wood Thrush that sang in the rain outside my window.


April 6: Anne Brooks spotted a Yellow-throated Warbler on one of her oaks. On May 4, a Pileated Woodpecker made a surprise visit next to the Brooks' patio.

Rogers Forge

On March 13, Dot Gustafson observed an accipiter , probably a Sharp-shinned Hawk, perched in the trees on the edge of her neighbor's yard.

March 15: Dot was delighted to see a White-throated Sparrow and the neighborhood's resident Carolina Wren during the mid-March snow storm. Dot says that the constant supply of squirrels, 20+ House Sparrows and Mourning Doves have intimidated most all other bird species from venturing onto her postage stamp sized yard to feed. One exception is the Goldfinches that have persisted all winter. She feels that this is due to her Upside Down Feeder's inaccessibility to the House sparrows and House Finches.

In late January, Ruth Culbertson enjoyed a flock of more than 20 Robins feeding on the berries of a mystery vine that grows up and around the trees in the woods. At the same time another half a dozen Robins enjoyed the birdbath stationed next to her home.


This spring, as always, Pete Webb's yard attracted a wide variety of migratory birds. A Gray-cheeked (not Bicknell's) Thrush present May 18 through May 21. Tennessee Warbler May 17 through May 21. Passing warbler species during the weekend of May 22 included Canada, Blackpoll and Redstart. A pair of Red-shouldered Hawks nested across the street from Pete's home. On a sad note, the single Yellow-crowned Night Heron chick from this year's nesting died for unknown reasons.


A very early bird came to Barb Meserve of Fallston on April 21: "My husband grabbed my arm and pointed out the window. A male Rubythroat was settled on the feeder!!!"


On April 29, While driving past my neighbor's field-like yard, I noticed a flurry of small hawk and bird activity. I immediately stopped the car and snatched my binoculars off the passenger seat. By the time the birds were in focus the attack was complete. The Sharpshin was standing quietly on the ground with one foot pressed against a black, disheveled lump of feathers. The motionless lump appeared to be a Grackle.

A short distance away a movement in the grass caught my eye. A groundhog, with its head sticking up out of his hole, was watching the drama along with me.

The hawk rested only a moment. She glanced around the yard then spread her wings which made her appear enormous. With her prize clutched firmly in her talons, she slowly lifted off and disappeared into the large trees that ring the property. (GF)

Backyard Birding at Liberty Reservoir

David and Evelyn Taylor, two of our new BBC directors, like to extend their backyard to include the nearby woods of Liberty Reservoir. Evelyn explains:

We live on watershed property so feel the woods are an extension of our yard sometime! These really aren't in any order except in the order in which we see them. To back up a few weeks, the week from February 20th to February 27th was a good one. On the 20th, we saw Cardinals, Chickadees, Yellow- rumped Warblers, Turkey Vultures, Juncos, Carolina Wren, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Ring-billed Gull, and to top it off --a Bald Eagle. One of our better days!! These were all seen on a walk in the woods near our house.

During March, I saw from my window while having morning coffee, Eastern Bluebirds, Hermit Thrush, White Breasted Nuthatches, Carolina Wrens, Chickadees and a Hairy Woodpecker! Another great start to a day! Dave also saw a White-throated and Song Sparrows, Tufted Titmouse, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Belted Kingfisher, Canada Geese and a Common Merganser. He went out later the same day and saw a Barred Owl then heard two others. Our weeks are usually not quite this good!

On March 13th, a flock of Cedar Waxwings gave us a show. They landed in the top of a small Maple tree in our backyard and almost immediately left, but Dave thought they came right back down again, and when we checked the side yard, there they were about 15 feet from our window in a pine tree, eating berries from a wild rose vine. They stayed there, doing all kinds of acrobatics to reach the berries and giving us quite a thrill - Gorgeous! - for five minutes or so. These few days made up for the many days we go out and see only one or two of anything -- some days we feel lucky to see a Crow!


Northhampton Furnace Trail on May 15 produced a fine collection of thrushes for Joy Wheeler that included: Wood, Thrush, Swainson and a Gray-cheeked Thrush. On May 17, Joy had the first of four sightings of a singing Prothonotary Warbler.

Birth Announcement:

Mr. & Mrs. Brian Rollfinke's baby, Maxwell Franklin, was born on April 12 and weighed in at 7lbs 7oz. Max has already visited Cylburn for the June 20 Summer Solstice celebration. Mom says that Max was so taken with a White-breasted Nuthatch he saw, that she expects that bird's name will be his first words.

Let us hear about your Back Yard birding too ! ! !

Call or write to:

Gail Frantz
13955 Old Hanover Rd.
Reisterstown MD 21136

Tel: (410) 833-7135


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