A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Mid-Atlantic Migration Magic 2021

October 1-10, 2021 with Eric Hynes, John Coons, & Todd Day guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
This stunning sunrise image from the boat ramp at Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge was shared by participant Donna Pomeroy. We were witnessing an incredible dawn flight of thousands of terns, skimmers, gulls, herons, egrets, and ibis, plus a teed up Seaside Sparrow and a Diamondback Terrapin.

Thanks so much for joining us on the inaugural departure of this Field Guides tour. It was truly a pleasure birding with all of you and personally exciting for me (Eagle) to work with the legendary Kingfisher (John Coons) for the first time. Our adventure would not have been the same without the expertise and extensive local knowledge shared by our bonus guides: Todd Day and Holly Merker -- a sincere thanks to them. We were unlucky enough to not experience a cold front the entire time we were together but that didn't stop us from building an impressive list, while birding in very pleasant weather.

We began our birding in the Norfolk area and quickly tallied a bunch of interesting species tied to coastal marsh habitat: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Willet, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Tricolored Heron, plus multiple tern species. Crossing the mouth of Chesapeake Bay via the CBBT (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel) was exciting and gave us on-the-move views of Bottlenose Dolphins and flocks of Black Skimmers.

The first few days of the tour were spent birding the marquee areas at the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula: Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge and Kiptopeke State Park. Numerous songbird species were encountered in the vegetation, when we weren't being distracted by raptors overhead or flocks of wading birds winging by. Some of the more noteworthy species the first few days that come to mind are: Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Seaside Sparrow, Eastern Screech-Owl, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Blue Grosbeak, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon. The stunning sunrise and the incredible volume of terns, gulls, Ibis, and herons in flight at the boat ramp was unforgettable.

Several days in the Chincoteague area produced numerous memorable moments, from Nick's first Piping Plover, to the famous ponies, to point blank looks at Clapper Rail and Nelson's Sparrow. Island Creamery was likely a highlight for many too.

Our birding highlights in Delaware were plentiful but none more productive than our loop around Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. We teased out multiple American Golden-Plovers from the hundreds of Black-bellied Plovers, found several Pectoral Sandpipers as well as Stilt Sandpipers, located the uncommon Hudsonian Godwits in addition to Marbled Godwits, marveled at the hundreds of American Avocets and caught up to the vagrant Roseate Spoonbills.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was a bucket list birding destination for many and the historic significance of the site to wildlife conservation is hard to overstate. We found a bunch of birds new for the tour on the hike up to North Lookout, like Black-throated Green Warbler, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush and White-throated Sparrow. It was a treat to get practice with Accipiters migrating down the ridge and we added a killer look at Common Raven.

Since the forecast for the final day of the tour was not conducive to raptor migration, we called an audible and blitzed down to Baltimore for a successful twitch of Maryland's first record of Kirtland's Warbler. It was unquestionably the most unexpected bird of the tour and the cherry on top of our adventure.

Thanks again for choosing Field Guides and we look forward to seeing you in the field again soon.

Take care and good birding,

—Eric Hynes

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)

We saw these virtually every day of the trip, including a couple of groups flying over at Hawk Mountain.

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Talk about a bonus bird?! We caught up to this Kirtland's Warbler, which was discovered several days prior, at a migration stopover in downtown Baltimore -- Maryland's first! Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

MUTE SWAN (Cygnus olor) [I]

We saw a good number of these large, graceful birds at Bombay Hook NWR

WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa)

Our best views were of several drakes at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

Teal can be tricky this time of year but we teased out the field marks on several flocks in various wetlands along Delaware Bay

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

None of them were back in breeding plumage but those spatulate bills were obvious

GADWALL (Mareca strepera)

Most numerous at Bombay Hook

AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana)

Bombay Hook NWR was responsible for the majority of individuals we saw

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)

Surprisingly few


This eastern North American species was seen a handful of times but never in big numbers


Most of those we saw were just beginning to get their colors back as they molted


By the hundreds in some locations, particularly Bombay Hook

RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)

There was a group of four individuals at Bombay Hook; the vanguard of migrant wintering birds in this region

BLACK SCOTER (Melanitta americana)

We saw a couple of females, one at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel viewing area and another at Chincoteague NWR

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Our only sighting was a male on the pond at Kiptopeke State Park

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This wheeling flock of Sanderlings was absolutely mesmerizing to watch one morning at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Two hungry Peregrine Falcons inspired the Sanderling's evasive performance. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

We had a few birds here and there

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]


MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Seen daily

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus)

We had a few nice views of this wonderful bird with our first being at Eastern Shore of Virginia N.W.R. near Cape Charles

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica)

Our only sightings were during our walk and from the hawkwatch platform at Kiptopeke State Park

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

KING RAIL (Rallus elegans) [*]

We heard several individuals calling from freshwater marshes in Delaware

CLAPPER RAIL (ATLANTIC COAST) (Rallus crepitans crepitans)

We heard many more than we saw but we still had nice views of a few individuals. This form is really washed out looking when compared to those on the Gulf Coast

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Hailing from northern Arizona, guide John Coons was not about to pass up the ample opportunites to enjoy fresh oysters and other seafood during most of the tour. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola)

We heard a handful but had nice looks at one that flew a short distance at Saxis WMA.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

We saw one bird mixed in with a group of American Coots at Bombay Hook NWR

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

We didn't catch up to this species until Delaware but we saw quite a few at Bombay Hook N.W.R.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)

Richard spotted a single bird at Chincoteague then we had a large flock at Bombay Hook

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus palliatus)

We had good numbers of these handsome birds.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

Most of the areas where we found shorebirds had a few of these, including some individuals that were still showing most of their breeding colors.

AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis dominica)

About five individuals were mixed in with the Black-bellied Plovers at Bombay Hook.

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

We saw a lot of these, especialy on our fulll day in the Cape Charles area.

PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus)

One of the trip highlights was finding one of these late-remaining birds at Chincoteague and walking a good ways down the beach to get closer to it. Then on the way back we came upon two others right in front of us.

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Participant Lynne Arrowsmith contributed this sublime sunrise shot of tidal marsh along the causeway to Chincoteague N.W.R.

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

More days than not

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

We saw about five individuals at Willis Wharf where they were hanging out with a number of other shorebirds.

HUDSONIAN GODWIT (Limosa haemastica)

Three individuals were seen with the large group of shorebirds at Bombay Hook. In the fall the majority of these birds migrate south along the East Coast or even out to sea for long distances on their way to southern South America.

MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa)

Our first were at Willis Wharf then a few more here and there during the week.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

A couple of individuals walked right up to us during our first visit to Chincoteague.

STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus)

We saw one at Bombay Hook that was mostly staying hidden or sleeping amongst the other shorebirds.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

A fair number of these were along the coast including a large group that were being dived on by several Peregrine Falcons

DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)

We had a handful the first few days, then we saw them by the hundreds at Bombay Hook N.W.R.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

On several days in small numbers

PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)

Our best view was of a couple at Bombay Hook.


More days than not

WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)

We only had a couple of birds throughout the trip.

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The previous image was the setting for our outstanding views of this surprisingly cooperative Nelson's Sparrow. Photo by participant Donna Pomeroy.

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)

We had a few that we confidently IDed at Willis Wharf as well as other dowitchers that were too distant to confirm to species.

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

Good numbers of these were seen on a few days.

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)

All of our sightings appeared to be of the western form that heads to the coast in the fall.

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

Seen well at multiple sites

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)

Many were seen daily including some quite brownish plumaged juveniles that were interesting.

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)

We saw this species on several occasions but it was not at all abundant on any day.

HERRING GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus argentatus smithsonianus)

Also seen daily.


We saw a few in the Chincoteague area with our first on the beach near Tom Cove.


This massive gull showed well early in the trip.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

Good views were had of many individuals.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

Our only sighting was a non-breeding plumaged individual on the wall near the breakwater at Ocean City, Maryland.

FORSTER'S TERN (Sterna forsteri)

We enoyed a wonderful study of perched and foraging birds in good numbers from the causeway to Chincoteague

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Our very successful nocturnal search for Eastern Screech-Owl made the highlight reel for more than a few of us. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)

Many seen well, including some banded birds

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

We saw a few flying past at Eastern Shore of Virginia N.W.R.

BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger)

We saw our first at the overlook at the end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel then a few flocks including a large one in the distance at Eastern Shore NWR

Gaviidae (Loons)

COMMON LOON (Gavia immer)

Our only sighting was at Ocean City Inlet, MD.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)

Bonus! This eye-catching species is increasing showing up north and east of its historic range. We caught up to three long-staying vagrants at Bombay Hook N.W.R.

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)

NORTHERN GANNET (Morus bassanus)

A single bird made a close pass along the beach at Chincoteague NWR.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)

More days than not and numerous in a few locations

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Perhaps the most memorable behavior we witnessed was this juvenile Osprey losing its hard-earned breakfast to a couple of klepto-parasitic Bald Eagles. The Osprey dropped the fish seconds after this image and one of the Bald Eagles deftly snatched it out of mid-air. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

BROWN PELICAN (ATLANTIC) (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis)

The pilings off Kiptopeke State Park were covered with them

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

AMERICAN BITTERN (Botaurus lentiginosus)

One of the vans saw one along the edge of the road at Saxis WMA that walked into the vegetation and we could not locate it again.

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

We saw these everyday

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Common and conspicuous

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

One of the more dynamic waders in terms of its foraging techniques

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

We saw both adults and whitish immatures

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

We had nice scope views of a few on our first afternoon at Pleasure House Point, then a few more here and there the next few days.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

Not many were seen but we had them associating with the famous ponies at Chincoteague NWR.

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

Surprisingly few

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Only at West Ocean City Pond in Maryland

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

Most of our sightings were during the first couple of days of the trip in the Norfolk and Cape Charles area.

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Some people were thrilled to see the famous ponies of Assateague Island. Photo by participant Donna Pomeroy.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

This would have been a very special bird here 20 years ago but they have been increasing in numbers and we encountered many at Eastern Shore NWR and at Chincoteague NWR.

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

We only saw a couple with one at Chincoteague NWR and another at Bombay Hook NWR.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)


TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

More than daily

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

We saw multiple birds each day until we moved away from the coast. One of the trip highlights was watching one carrying a fish that caught the eye of two nearby Bald Eagles that ended up giving chase and forcing the Osprey to drop its prey. One of the eagles snatched the falling fish and headed off with the other in pursuit.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)

Several were observed coursing over the marshes and fields on the Delmarva Peninsula.

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)

We had a few days with several migrating individuals spotted including dozens during our visit to famous Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

Many fewer individuals seen than Sharp-shinneds with about 4-5 seen at Hawk Mountain.

BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

This species was well represented on several days. Most were along the coast but we also spotted them from the North Lookout at Hawk Mountain.

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Piping Plover was a great example of the "pickle jar" effect. We worked fairly hard to get our first one, then we practically stepped on the next couple. Photo by particpant Doug Clarke.

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (Buteo lineatus)

A distant bird at Hawk Mountain provided an unsatisfying look

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

The big surge of these migrants heading south occurred in mid-September but we had a few early on in the Cape Charles area.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

A few individuals were seen, mostly during the drives, perched up throughout the trip.

Strigidae (Owls)

EASTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops asio)

We heard about three individuals calling during the day as we birded the woodlands but we had nice looks at a bird after dark near Cape Charles.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)

Several each day

Picidae (Woodpeckers)


We saw a couple of these as migrants

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes carolinus)

Our first was in the taller woods along Big Stone Point Road, then a couple more were seen at Wildwood Park on our last day.

DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)

We saw or heard this little guy everyday.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

Our only seen bird was at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg.

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We were fortunate to have the talented naturalist Holly Merker (lower left) guiding us along the Delaware shore one day. Here she is sharing a tutorial on Horseshoe Crabs and the absolutely vital role their reproductive process plays in the migration of so many shorebird species. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus)

Always a favorite, we had views in the trees at Big Stone Point Road.

NORTHERN FLICKER (Colaptes auratus)

We saw several including some at Hawk Mountain that were certainly on the move.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

We had these daily and we encountered at least three individuals at Hawk Mountain.

MERLIN (Falco columbarius)

A handful were moving south but our best view was a perched bird along Big Stone Point Road.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

We had this great bird daily along the coastal lowlands including two birds that were diving on a flock of Sanderlings at Chincoteague, and a couple more that were teaming up and after a Greater Yellowlegs at Bombay Hook. We had one at Hawk Mountain where they are not all that common inland.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens)

A couple of individuals were heard and then seen along Big Stone Point Road.

EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe)

We saw a few scattered about here and there, often in clearings with woody areas nearby.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)

Our only one was seen in the parking area at Hawk Mountain just after we arrived.

RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)

We only saw a couple, at Eastern Shore NWR and again at Kiptopeke State Park during our loop walk before heading to the hawk watch platform.

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What a delightful image of a Marsh Wren doing the splits by participant Donna Pomeroy.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata)

The prettiest of the North American jays; we saw these daily including a flock of about 20 that flew over the parking lot at Hawk Mountain. We saw a few more from North Lookout and learned there had been a big flight earlier in the morning and the counters had recorded 1800+ individuals passing!

AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

These were mostly away from the coast

FISH CROW (Corvus ossifragus)

We saw this smallish crow in several areas and heard them calling throughout the trip.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

A single bird flew right over us at Hawk Mountain.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis)

These were one of the first birds to show up when we were "pishing" in the various woodlots.

TUFTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus bicolor)

We only had a few but they were inquisitive enough to investigate our "pishing" as well.

Alaudidae (Larks)

HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)

We saw a few birds well in the plowed field on our way into Bombay Hook NWR.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)

We never had a massive flight but these were overhead in a few areas.

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Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge was a shorebird and waterfowl bonanza. A couple of marauding Peregrine Falcons put up all but the geese and swans. I managed to pick out a dozen species in this image so far. How many can you find? Photo by guide Eric Hynes.
Regulidae (Kinglets)


The smallest North American passerine, we saw these amongst the taller trees along Big Stone Point Road and again in the beautiful forest at Hawk Mountain.

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula)

We didn't encounter this migrant until the last few days of the tour

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)

Our only ones were in the woods at Hawk Mountain.


A southeast US specialty; we saw a few at Saxis WMA then again along Big Stone Point Road.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)

Again, we encountered this taller forest species at Hawk Mountain and along Big Stone Point Road.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

Our only one was at Kiptopeke State Park.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

A few here and there along the coast but heard more than seen

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We enjoyed multiple good looks at the always striking Black-and-white Warbler. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

WINTER WREN (Troglodytes hiemalis)

A single bird was seen along the trail up to the ridge at Hawk Mountain.

MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris)

Best looks were at Saxis WMA

CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

The song and chatter of this well-known eastern species was the most commonly heard bird vocalization throughout the trip.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Of course

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)

We saw several in tangles and thick vegetation here and there.

BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum)

One was feeding in the trail at Prime Hook NWR.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

Seen daily.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis)

There were a few that we saw well along the trail walk at Prime Hook NWR. Everybody loves a bluebird.

HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)

Two individuals were seen along the trail going up the ridge at Hawk Mountain.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)

Some were seen almost daily with individuals concentrated in fruiting trees.

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Obliging Clapper Rails were definitely one of the highlights. Photo by participant Donna Pomeroy.
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)

CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)

We heard these a couple of times but the best views were along the trail at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]


Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) [I]

These were surprisingly uncommon.


A few were heard flying over here and there and we saw a few coming to the feeders at Prime Hook NWR.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)

Surprisingly few encounters

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis)

A few of these were vocalizing along the trail at Hawk Mountain.

SEASIDE SPARROW (Ammospiza maritima)

This large sparrow showed well at the boat ramp at Eastern Shore NWR.

NELSON'S SPARROW (Ammospiza nelsoni)

After a brief view of one on our first afternoon at Pleasure House Point we had wonderful looks at two close individuals in the marsh heading into Chincoteague NWR. This species has much more orange on the face and breast than the following species.

SALTMARSH SPARROW (Ammospiza caudacuta)

We saw two individuals at Pleasure House Point on our first afternoon. We had it in the scope and it was behind a few reeds but the paler breast was clearly visible.

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This juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron seemed oblivious to our presence and made for a very memorable first afternoon of the tour. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)

More days than not

SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)

We mostly heard these until we had nice views of a few birds at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg.

SWAMP SPARROW (Melospiza georgiana)

We had pretty good studies of this sometimes skulker along Big Stone Point Road and again at Prime Hook the following day.

EASTERN TOWHEE (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) [*]

These Rufous-sided Towhees, masquerading under the name Eastern Towhee, were heard a few times giving their distinctive che-wink call.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)

Our only sightings were at Chincoteague NWR.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

More days than not and numerous in a few locations


We saw a couple sizeable groups of these feeding on the ground along roadsides.

COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula)

Mostly early on during the tour

BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major)

We had about a four day stretch where we encountered these in a variety of habitats.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)


A handful of these migrants were encountered with mixed species flocks during the first half of the trip.

NASHVILLE WARBLER (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)

Our only sighting was along the trail at Kiptopeke State Park.

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We were thrilled to catch up to a small flock of Hudsonian Godwits at Bombay Hook. The dark wing linings clinch the ID in this image from participant Donna Pomeroy.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

Scattered encounters with this migrant

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

We saw these a few times with several seen around the visitor's center at Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR.

KIRTLAND'S WARBLER (Setophaga kirtlandii)

With the weather not being conducive to a hawk flight on our second day in Pennsylvania we made a dash south to Baltimore in hopes of seeing this special bird, probably on its way to the Bahamas, that had been found a few days earlier for the first accepted Maryland record. After negotiating rather heavy Saturday traffic we arrived at Swann Park along the harbor area in Baltimore. We joined several others and searched along the shrubs for over an hour before Richard spotted this great bird which ended up showing well and even hopped about on the sidewalk for a few seconds. Yip! Yip! Yip! Once down to about 167 pairs in the early 70's this species, through forest management and cowbird control, has come roaring back in the last couple of decades and Joyce's research learned this year's census in Michigan yielded 2245 pairs.

NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana)

A few were encountered early in the trip along the Eastern Shore.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

Surprisingly, our only sighting was at Saxis WMA.

PALM WARBLER (Setophaga palmarum)

A few were seen wagging their tails as we walked the shore near Oyster.

PINE WARBLER (Setophaga pinus)

These were heard when we got into groves of pines with the first ones along the trail at Kiptopeke State Park.

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata)

Seemingly, the most common warbler everywhere; we saw these "Myrtle" forms most days


Two individuals were in the trees surrounding the parking lot at Hawk Mountain when we arrived.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)


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The number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the East Coast continues to rise. Photo by participant Doug Clarke.

BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)

We saw one in the overgrown field at Eastern Shores NWR on our first morning in the field.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

Only a couple of individuals were encountered.



A few were scurrying about in the forest at Hawk Mountain.

WOODCHUCK (Marmota monax)

Mostly in Pennsylvania, spotted roadside while we were driving

EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus carolinensis)

Common and frequently seen as roadkill unfortunately

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus)

We saw a few individuals throughout the trip

RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes)

The lead van had one cross the road in front of them

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

Overpopulated in many parts of the East

Field Guides Birding Tours
The fall migration of raptors has been carefully monitored from these rocks on the Kittatinny Ridge at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary's North Lookout since 1934, the longest running count of its kind in the world. Photo by participant Doug Pomeroy.


AMERICAN BULLFROG (Lithobates catesbeianus)

We saw a really big one in the pond at Wildwood Park.

RED-EARED SLIDER (Trachemys scripta elegans)

One or two were with the Painted Turtles at Big Stone Point Road

PAINTED TURTLE (Chrysemys picta)

There were several basking in the sun at a pond along the Big Stone Point Road

DIAMONDBACK TERRAPIN (Malaclemys terrapin)

This unusual species occupies a monotypic genus and its preferred habitat is brackish marshes. We were lucky to see one in the tidal channel off the boat ramp at Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR.

COMMON SNAPPING TURTLE (Chelydra serpentina)

We saw one in the water at Chincoteague.

Totals for the tour: 156 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa