I and the Bird

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

District Patrol 6/3/06

The spring migration has come and gone. While a trip to Kenilworth Park a month ago would have yielded warbler after warbler, a trip there now (like the one I just took) brings a couple of buntings, some swifts and a whole lotta not-much-else. All in all I had a pretty good spring. I missed a lot of warblers that others got, but most of them are year-round residents of the DC area (hooded, prothontary, black-and-white etc) so I'll be able to find them as the summer goes on.

Though things have slowed down a bit, there are still a ton of birds in the DC area. Let's go over some of the highlights:

Wilson's Phalarope and Little Blue Herons, Huntley Meadows

I had a chance to see Wilson's Phalaropes in Bombay Hook last weekend but I couldn't find them. Now it looks like they're coming to me. Wilson's Phalaropes are rare in the east and, according to the linked Audubon page, have suffered a striking decline in numbers in recent years. I think I'll be out looking for this bird tomorrow.

Henslow's Sparrows, Allegany County, MD

Allegany County is about 2.5 hours from DC, but it may be worth the drive for one of the east's most secretive sparrows, the Henslow's Sparrow. Here are local birder Mr. Steve Sanford's directions to the Henslow's:

"Old Legislative Road is in western Allegany County, just short of
Garrett County. The Henslow's spot is only about 5 minutes from I-68.
From I-68 on the west side of the Frostburg area take exit 33 south to
"Midlothian Rd." Follow the main road south about 2.5 miles. It
becomes Old Legislative Road somewhere. Cross Klondike Rd (where there
is/was a bar on the left). About 100 yards beyond the intersection
there is a big grassy hill on the left (east) side of Old Legislative
Road. (There is a side-road to the right with a gate.) The Henslow's
should be within one or two hundred yards of the left side of the
road, probably around the crest of the hill. Normally there is a
vehicle track up the hill. Listen for the "see-lick" notes of the
Henslow's. They often perch on weeds and sing. A scope helps if you
want good views, but is not crucial. There are also lots of
Grasshopper Sparrows around too, but their buzzy and tinkly notes are
completely different."

If I wake up feeling feisty I just might trek out to take a look for this bird, one that I wanted to see all last summer but wasn't able to. I'll keep you posted.
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