Federalsburg NW (5/28):
The highlights were several Meadowlarks, Grasshopper Sp and a Vesper Sp on Seipp Rd. Meadowlark have been rather scarce on my blocks. Added 7 species and 7 confirmations for the block. Also, I met with my helpers on Hobbs SE and walked around their property. The highlight there was a Red-Headed Woodpecker flying through their yard on Chipmans Lane.
Denton SE (5/29):
This was my first atlasing visit to this area (new block for me this year). Anthony Mill Rd and County Farm Rd proved to be quite interesting. At my first stop (Penny Rd at Anthony Mill Rd), practically the first bird when I got out of the car was a Cooper's Hawk carrying prey and 3-4 grackles escorting it out of the area. Along these 2 roads, I found the following warblers - Pine, Prairie, Redstart (presumed late migrant), Prothonotary, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, LA Waterthrush, Kentucky, Yellowthroat and Chat. One of the Prairie Warblers (at the cutoff on County Farm Rd) sang a totally unfamiliar song. It began with 3 introductory notes that sounded like Field Sparrow, then ended with a 'witchety-witchety' that sounded like a Yellowthroat nut a bit less raspy and more musical. Also Green Heron, Red-Shoulder Hawk, Summer Tanager. In other areas, a Baltimore Oriole and Spotted Sandpiper on Baker Rd north of MD 317; 12 Semi Sand and 2 Least Sand in a puddle on Garland Rd, south of Baker Rd. 64 countable species, 7 confirmations.
Hickman NW (6/4):
Another first visit to a new block. The predominant habitat here is recently cutoff woods or re-growth pine plantation up to the age where it is thinned. There are some farm fields and very little deciduous woods. While this makes the block somewhat monotonous, it did lead to large numbers of some species absent from other blocks and to some nice surprises. The gaudy numbers: 7 Pine Warblers, 8 Prairies, 8 WE Vireos, 9 Towhees, 10 Field Sparrows, 11 Yellowthroat, 12 Ovenbird, 14 Chat. The surprises: 4 Black and White Warblers mainly in thinned pine plantations (1 ea on Bates Rd, Hobbs Rd, Anthony Mill Rd and Wilhelm Rd), a Kentucky Warbler on Bates Rd that was not associated with a stream, an Acadian Flycatcher on Parker Rd likewise not associated with a stream, a Phoebe likely nesting in a abandoned house in Hickman and a House Wren singing from the cutoff woods between Hickman Rd and Saulsbury Creek Rd.
The best stop was on Wilhelm Rd. I stopped to investigate a bird fluttering over the road. It turned out to be a Chipping Sparrow attempting to flycatch. Then I see a pair of Scarlet Tanagers at eye level - great views. An Ovenbird is singing fairly close and another (the female?) comes out to the edge to collect nest material. It is then joined by a Black and White collecting nest material. Nice confirmations there. In all, 51 countable species, 6 confirmations.
Hobbs SW (6/11):
Returning this year to a block I worked in 2003. The day began slowly with the exception of the Dickcissel and Meadowlark at American Corner posted separately. Other than that, I only seemed to be able to confirm birds that I had confirmed previously. Until I got to the pond on Nagel Rd. There I found a Bald Eagle nest with an almost fully grown young bird (still has yellow gape). I had seen the nest in 2003, but no birds were associated with it then. I had assumed it was an Osprey nest. Also there was a pair of nest-building Green Herons, a singing Yellow-Throated Vireo (new species), a Rough-Winged Swallow flying around the pond (new species) and a very uncoordinated fledgling Dove. In all, 9 new species and 7 confirmations.
Hobbs CE (6/12):
Returning this year to a block I worked in 2003. At first glance, this block appears to be habitat typical of the surrounding area, but it is surprisingly diverse, especially since it does not have a pond. The highlights were a pair of Kestrels near the old church and meadowlark in the pastures on Beauchamp Branch Rd; Baltimore Oriole at Concord Church; a Phoebe likely nesting in an abandoned trailer (I guess that under a bridge is not the only place to find Phoebe) and a Kingfisher perched on the line over a drainage ditch on Iron Gate Rd. In all, 6 new species and 5 confirmations. Also worked the remainder of Hickman NW that I missed last week, adding 4 species.
Glen Lovelace III