It is safe to say that temperatures were warmer than normal in the MD/DE region during the early winter count period. Point Lookout had a high temp of 73 F. Oakland had a low of 19 F. The average high temperature was 48.7 F and the average low was 34.2 F. Snow occurred on very few counts and maximum depth was 1” (Oakland). The warmer weather may have led to some limited success in finding birds. It also could be partly responsible for some odd birds showing up out of season, such as swallows and a number of unusual warblers. Barn and Northern Rough-winged swallows were both seen on the Wilmington Count. That count also had a Northern Parula while Seneca reported Chestnut-sided Warblers and even Golden-winged Warblers. Several counts reported lower numbers of birds in general.
The Greater White-fronted Goose at Oakland was one less than the two from last year. Chesterville had a hybrid Greater White-fronted X Canada Goose. Middle River had a Snow Goose (2nd occurrence) while for Chesterville, 1129 was a low count. Middletown and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook each had a Ross’s Goose. Ross’s Goose is no stranger to Bombay Hook. They had two (19th occurrence), while Milford had three. South Dorchester also had a Ross’s Goose (6th occurrence) and Ocean City had one (their 14th). Wilmington had two Barnacle Geese. Several counts had Cackling Geese. Lower Kent had 19 (and it wasn’t even their all-time count high!), Rock Run had a high count of eight, Ocean City had six, plus Seneca (4), Wilmington (2), Middletown (2), Salisbury (1), Bombay Hook (1), Oakland (1), and South Dorchester (1). Milford had Cackling Goose listed for count week.
Oakland had a Mute Swan. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had two Trumpeter Swans (1st occurrence). The Bowie count also had two. Ocean City had a high count of 1238 Tundra Swans.
Bowie had a high count of 110 Wood Ducks. Wilmington had a high count of 77 Gadwall. Bowie’s high count was 41. Ocean City had 406 Gadwall (second highest count next to 407 from last year). Sugarloaf had a low count of 141 Mallards (all time low over 31 years). Wilmington had a high of three Blue-winged Teal. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 2549 Northern Shovelers which is close to their all-time high of 2768. Seneca had 30 Northern Pintail (hc). Ocean City had a high count of 1734 Green-winged Teal, Lower Kent had 367 (hc), and Wilmington’s high was eight.
Milford had Milford a high of seven Redheads. Oakland had 315 Ring-necked Ducks (hc). Lower Kent had 21,260 Greater Scaup (hc) and 79,236 Lesser Scaup (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 423 Lesser Scaup (hc). Denton had a Long-tailed Duck (us). Oakland had a high count of 174 Bufflehead; Allegany’s high count was 14. Rehoboth reported a low count of one Common Goldeneye. The species may have been missed once or twice but this is a count with a high count of 1700. Point Lookout enjoyed a Barrows Goldeneye again (5th occurrence!). St. Michaels had 26 Hooded Mergansers (hc) and Washington County had a high of 17. Allegany had a high count of 36 Common Mergansers. Point Lookout had a high of 13,596 Ruddy Ducks, while Bombay Hook had 2072 (hc) and Cape Henlopen Prime Hook had 798 (hc). St. Michaels’ count of 11 Ruddy Ducks was considered low.
Turkey & Quail
Crisfield had two Northern Bobwhite. Middletown had 119 Wild Turkey (hc). Catoctin Mountain and Milford both had the same high count of 23 Wild Turkey.
Loons & Grebes
Milford had 59 Red-throated Loons, Annapolis-Gibson Island had 43, and South Dorchester had eight (all count highs). Salisbury had 11 Common Loons (hc). Denton had six Pied-billed Grebes (hc). Patuxent River had 151 Horned Grebes (hc). Bombay Hook had two Red-necked Grebes. Point Lookout had an Eared Grebe.
Gannets, Pelicans, and Cormorants
Annapolis-Gibson Island had a Northern Gannet. Middletown had a high of 226 Double-crested Cormorants; St. Michaels had 154, Rock Run had 64, Chesterville had 71, and Oakland had two (hc). Lower Kent had five Great Cormorants (hc). South Dorchester had 50 American White Pelicans (hc); Ocean City had 16, which is their second highest count next to the 17 from count 113 (2012). Patuxent River had 129 Brown Pelicans (hc) and Annapolis-Gibson Island had four (4th occurrence).
Herons & Egrets
Sugarloaf and Chesterville each had Great Egrets. Middletown had four Little Blue Herons (hc). Milford had five Black-crowned Night-Herons (hc) and Point Lookout had three (hc). Middletown had their 3rd ever Glossy Ibis.
Rock Run had 892 Black Vultures (hc); Seneca had 441, Bowie had 375, Rehoboth had 367, Denton had 251, South Dorchester had 142, and Wilmington had 127 (hc). Chesterville had 695 Turkey Vultures (hc), while Middletown had 577, South Dorchester had 554 (which is a high number but not an all-time hc; 4224 is the all-time hc). In contrast to all of these, Turkey Vultures can be so difficult to find in the Appalachian Plateau in winter that two at Oakland (4th occurrence) was a high count.
Hawks, and Eagles
Ospreys on the Jug Bay (2nd occurrence) and Point Lookout counts was notable. Three at Annapolis-Gibson Island was a count high. Lower Kent had 195 Bald Eagles (hc); Rock Run had 187, Jug Bay had 86, Bombay Hook had 70, Denton had 67, Patuxent River had 62, Middletown had 58, Washington County had nine, and Allegany had five (hc).
Chesterville had a high count of 20 Sharp-shinned Hawks. Triadelphia had 15 Cooper’s Hawks (hc). Ocean City had a Golden Eagle and Sugarloaf had one for count week.
Rails, Gallinules, & Cranes
Bowie had a King Rail. Rock Run had a Virginia Rail (2nd occurrence) and a Sora (1st occurrence). South Dorchester had a Common Gallinule and Ocean City had one for count week. Middletown had three Sandhill Cranes, Bowie had one (their sixth), and Oakland had one for count week.
Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 466 American Avocets (hc). Milford had 230 Black-bellied Plovers (hc). Crisfield had 500 Killdeer, Chesterville had 173, Milford had 125, Oakland had ten (all high counts). Seneca counted only one (low but has been missed in the past). Milford had 57 Greater Yellowlegs (hc), and at Rehoboth, 54 is close to the all-time high of 55 from count 112. They also had a high count of 39 Lesser Yellowlegs. At Saint Michaels, three Greater Yellowlegs was a high count. Ocean City had a high count of 4171 Dunlin. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 3251 (hc). Jug Bay had two Least Sandpipers (1st occurrence). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had 32 Long-billed Dowitchers and Milford had 10 (hc). Ocean City had a high count of 46 Wilson’s Snipe.
Gulls and Terns
Oakland had a Bonaparte’s Gull for count week. Seaford-Nanticoke had a Black-headed Gull; Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had one also (their 12th). Rehoboth had a Little Gull. Ocean City had a single Laughing Gull. Point Lookout had 95 of them and Wilmington had 85 (both high counts). Crisfield had a high count of 4860 Ring-billed Gulls. Middletown had 2693 (hc). Sugarloaf missed the species for the first time ever but had them as a count week species. Seneca had two Herring Gulls, which was low (though they have been missed). Middle River had a Thayer’s Gull and Elkton had one for count week. Seaford-Nanticoke had three Iceland Gulls (hc), Rock Run had two, Wilmington had one and Elkton had one for count week. Wilmington had 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Seaford-Nanticoke had a Glaucous Gull and a Nelson’s Gull (Glaucous X Herring hybrid). Rehoboth also had a single Glaucous Gull. Milford had a high of 299 Great Black-backed Gull. Middletown had a Caspian Tern. Denton had a Forster’s Tern. Ocean City and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook each had two Black Skimmers.
Pigeons through Hummingbirds
Chesterville had 331 Rock Pigeons (hc). Bombay Hook had 18 Barn Owls (hc). Away from the eastern shore, the Sugarloaf Count had a Barn Owl (5th occurrence). Salisbury had 46 Eastern Screech-Owls and Middletown had 23 (hc). Rock Run had a Long-eared Owl (their 3rd) and Point Lookout also had one; others include one at Bombay Hook and two at both Wilmington and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook. Northern Saw-whet Owls were at Milford (1; their 3rd), Bombay Hook (1), and Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook (3). Ocean City had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Patuxent River also reported one.
Bowie had a high count of 19 Red-headed Woodpeckers (hc). Annapolis-Gibson Island had 68 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Lower Kent had 40, Catoctin Mountain had 18 (hc). Middletown had a high count of 30 Hairy Woodpeckers. Chesterville had a high count of 152 Northern Flickers (Yellow-shafted Flickers) while at Seaford-Nanticoke had nine (lowest count ever out of 33 counts). Annapolis-Gibson Island had a high of 52 Pileated Woodpeckers, while Rock Run had 31, Patuxent River had 21, Rehoboth had 14, and Middletown had a high of only three (all high counts).
High counts for Merlins were three for Bowie, Lower Kent, Milford, and Seaford-Nanticoke. Bombay Hook & Wilmington each had four Peregrine Falcons (hc), while two was a high for Milford, and Elkton. Oakland had one for count week.
Flycatchers through Swallows
St. Michaels had four Eastern Phoebes (almost as high as the 5 from last year). Chesterville had a Vermilion Flycatcher. Chesterville had a Loggerhead Shrike. Ocean City had a White-eyed Vireo. At South Dorchester, 86 American Crows was low; close to the all-time low of 79). Jug Bay had 2325 American Crows (hc). They also had a high of 350 Fish Crows while the high for Seneca was 1420, and Middletown had 1352. Oakland Had a high count of 27 Common Ravens and Bowie’s high count was four. Wilmington had two Northern Rough-winged Swallows and a Barn Swallow.
Nuthatches through Thrushes
The Patuxent River Count had a high of 65 White-breasted Nuthatches. Point Lookout had a high count of 133 Brown-headed Nuthatches while Milford had 15 (hc). Meanwhile Lower Kent had two on “Piney Neck”; they also had a House Wren. Lower Kent had nine Marsh Wrens and Point Lookout had three (hc). Middle River had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Chesterville had one for count week. Oakland had a high count of seven Eastern Bluebirds. Seaford-Nanticoke had 13 bluebirds for a low count (lowest number out of 33 counts). St. Michael’s reported a Swainson’s Thrush. Middletown had a high of 6429 American Robins; Wilmington had 3076, Chesterville had 1051, Rock Run had 893. At Catoctin Mountain, 495 was the count high.
Mimids through Warblers
Northern Mockingbird numbers were apparently down. Patuxent River had 28 Northern Mockingbirds (low count) and 24 was a low on the Port Tobacco Count and 13 at Seaford-Nanticoke was the lowest of their 33 counts. Sugarloaf had a low count of 1393 European Starlings. Chesterville had a high of 433 Cedar Waxwings. Catoctin had 215 (hc). Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had an Orange-crowned Warbler (9th occurrence) and Lower Kent had one too (2nd occurrence). Milford also had one and both Rehoboth and Ocean City had one for count week. Middletown had 10 Common Yellowthroats and Patuxent River had two (hc). The Seneca Count had a shocking report of four Golden-winged Warblers and two Chestnut-sided Warblers. Either of these are unprecedented in the Eastern states in winter. There was photographic evidence (turning up a few days later by different observers) of one Chestnut-sided Warbler. The rare bird form turned in came with a good write-up that points to Golden-winged Warbler but it is unsettling to not have empirical evidence. It is interesting to note that there are no other winter records except the one eBird report from this year in Charleston SC (Feb 6 - Feb 27, 2016; eBird.org accessed 3/9/2016)". Other unusual warblers were a Northern Parula on the Wilmington count, a Nashville Warbler on the Crisfield count, and a Prairie Warbler on the Rehoboth count (their 2nd). Middle River had a Pine Warbler (a good bird for an inland count). St. Michael’s had a count of 734 (Myrtle) Yellow-rumped Warblers (almost as high as the 739 from count 84) while Middletown had a high of 193, and Chesterville had 148 (hc). Ocean City had a Yellow-breasted Chat.
Sparrows, Cardinals, Blackbirds, Finches
Chesterville had 129 Eastern Towhees and Middletown had 59 (hc). Allegany had a high of ten Chipping Sparrows. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had a Clay-colored Sparrow (3rd occurrence). Middletown had their 3rd Vesper Sparrow. Chesterville had a high of 116 Savannah Sparrows and Patuxent River had 52 (hc). Chesterville had a high count of Fox Sparrows (15) while Catoctin Mountain had five (hc). Seneca had a Lincoln’s Sparrow (their 4th) and Chesterville had one as well (their 2nd). Low counts of some typically numerous sparrow species were 299 White-throated Sparrows and 162 Swamp Sparrows at Crisfield (not all-time lows but lower than usual). Similarly South Dorchester reported 96 White-throated Sparrows (also not all-time low; 83 is their all-time low count). Seneca had a low count of White-crowned Sparrows (2) though that species has also been missed in the past.
At the Seaford-Nanticoke count 87 Northern Cardinals was an all-time low (out of 33 counts). Port Tobacco’s count of 79 was also low for that count. Both of these counts reported having overall low numbers with wind and low temperatures at Seaford-Nanticoke but average to warm and calm at Port Tobacco. Ocean City had a Lazuli Bunting (Ocean City CBC’s 1st and Maryland’s 2nd).
At Milford a single Eastern Meadowlark was low. Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook had six Brewer’s Blackbirds (7th occurrence). Jug Bay had 86,866 and Chesterville had 64,419 Common Grackles (hc). A number of Baltimore Orioles were present on MD/DE CBCs this year. Bowie had three (12th occurrence), Rehoboth had two (3rd occurrence), plus singles at Ocean City (7th), Lower Kent (7th), Jug Bay (8th), and Annapolis-Gibson Island (16th).
South Dorchester had only one House Finch (lc). Milford had a high of 15 Pine Siskins. Port Tobacco had only 182 House Sparrows (lc).