|from the field: summer 2003 (june-july). . .|
Edited by Bob Zaremba
As is usually the case, the
birds and the birding tend to slow down during the summer months. The
breeding birds have ceased their singing and are busy tending to their
young. A lot of birders are probably doing the same. We still managed some
interesting sightings over this period. Russ Wigh provided us with a rare
opportunity to monitor bird life off Gray’s Reef during several weeks in
June. E.J. Williams’ work with the Swallow-tailed Kites continues to
increase our understanding of this species’ breeding and wintering range
both in Georgia and in South America. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have once
again successfully nested at the McDonough site, and a new site in northwest
Georgia was discovered. Several birders made trips to the Georgia Mountains
to observe and report on the breeding warblers, vireos, tanagers and
grosbeaks in the northeast and northwest corners of the state. Probably one
of the more interesting sightings was one from Augusta by Bill Lotz and Dan
Vickers of Red-breasted Mergansers at a location along the Savannah Lock and
Dam Park. This was a very rare inland report for this species. Of course, a
review of this period would not be complete without noting the start of
migration. Whether you call it post-breeding dispersal or early migration,
there is no denying that birds are on the move throughout the state in July.
The early coverage at Kennesaw Mountain, beginning in early July, has shown
us that species like Cerulean Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and
Black-and-white Warbler, none of which who breed anywhere near Kennesaw, can
be found in increasing numbers as the month progresses. But, of course, it’s
just a prelude to the real fall migration, and it gives us something to do
ACOGB - Annotated Checklist
of Georgia Birds, 2003, Beaton, G. et al., GOS Occ. Publ. No. 14;
AWEC - Arrowhead Wildlife Education Center in Floyd Co.;
AWMA - Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area in McIntosh Co.;
CRNRA - the Cochran Shoals Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area; ELHLAF - E.L. Huie Land Application Facility in Clayton Co.;
ENWR - the Bradley Unit of the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge in Stewart Co.;
KMT - Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Cobb Co.;
m.ob. - many observers;
NWR - National Wildlife Refuge;
v.ob. - various observers;
SCSP - Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas Co.;
WMA - Wildlife Management Area.
Note: Species that appear in a
bold-faced font represents those that were considered "review" species by
the GOS Checklist and Records Committee during the year of the sighting.
This list changes from year to year. The current review list may be view at
the following link:
Changes and updated information from the original published compilation are noted in a red font.
MOTTLED DUCK – Brandon Noel reported two Adult and four ducklings on a pond at Little St. Simon Island on 3 June.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL – The only report, by Carol Lambert, was a single bird still at ELHLAF on 9 June.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER – A very surprising report of three birds observed by Bill Lotz and Dan Vickers on 14 July at the Savannah Lock and Dam Park near Augusta, feeding along the shore, was extremely unusual for the lower Piedmont area. It’s difficult to say if these were extremely early or extremely late, but they were definitely a good find!
RUFFED GROUSE – The only report for this period was from Jeff Madsen, who reported seeing young birds at Ivy Log Gap Road on 15 June.
CORY'S SHEARWATER - Three birds were recorded off Gray’s Reef by Russ Wigh between 12 June and 15 June.
GREATER SHEARWATER – One bird recorded off Gray’s Reef by Russ Wigh on 15 June was a great find, only 17 nautical miles off the coast of Georgia.
AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER – One bird was reported flying over the surf-line at Jekyll Island on 18 July by Brad Winn, for a very unusual coastal sighting.
WILSON'S STORM-PETREL – One bird was reported just 8.5 miles from Wassaw Island on KC Reef on 20 July by Russ Wigh. Two birds reported off Gray’s Reef on 16 June and one bird on 27 July were all good sightings by Russ Wigh.
BROWN PELICAN – Gene Keferl reported a good count of 303 birds on the beaches of Jekyll Island and Gould’s Inlet on 25 July.
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD – Brad Winn reported a juvenile on 10 & 11 June over Blackbeard and Little St. Simons Island during aerial surveys of the area.
LEAST BITTERN – There were several reports from around the state, with the best counts being four on 11 July at Phinizy Swamp (Bill Lotz & Dan Vickers) and four on 19 July at AWMA (Bob & Deb Zaremba). Dot Brambach had a single bird fly by at Harris Neck WMA on 9 June.
GREAT BLUE HERON – Joshua Spence found an active nest, with an adult feeding three fledged young, in Murray County on 3 July. The most interesting sightings were of two white morphs reported within days of each other, the first on 27 July at Lake Sinclair (Jim Flynn & Earl Horn) and another on 30 July at Floyd College near Rome (Jeff Dixon).
GREAT EGRET – Earl Horn and Jim Flynn had 50 below the dam at Lake Sinclair on 27 July, which was a good count away from the coast.
LITTLE BLUE HERON – Four immature birds were observed in northern Greene County on 6 July by Paul Sykes and Steve Holzman.
TRICOLORED HERON – Michael Bell found a single bird at Fairchilds Park in Seminole County on 22 June.
CATTLE EGRET – The highest count reported was 83 by Earl Horn and Jim Flynn from Jefferson County on 13 July.
REDDISH EGRET – A single bird was seen at Gould’s Inlet on 19 July by Bob and Deb Zaremba. Brandon Noel reported seeing three birds at Little St. Simon Island on 3 June, while Deb Barreiro also observed three at Tybee Island on 5 July.
WHITE IBIS – An good inland report of a single bird, present through the end of July, at the sod farm in Bartow County was unusual (Bob and Deb Zaremba). A high count of 200 birds in Macon County in a cow pasture on Old Stagecoach Road was an excellent inland count on 3 July by Dan and Pam Guynn.
GLOSSY IBIS – A high count of 63 birds was very good at the AWMA on 12 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba).
ROSEATE SPOONBILL – Several reports away from the usual roost sites included three birds on Snipe Pond in Harris Neck NWR on 3 June, reported by Matt Ryan and Dot Bambach. Three birds were reported by Beth Roth and Regi Sonnen from Skidaway Island in Savannah between 26 June and 12 July. Brandon Noel reported nine birds on Little St. Simon Island from 19 July through 21 July.
WOOD STORK – Several inland reports were received, including six birds in Wilcox County on 22 June. A high count of 18 birds in Houston County on 5 July and two birds in Dooly County on 11 July (Dan and Pam Guynn).
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE – A single bird was reported on 1 June in Wheeler County by Dan and Pam Guynn. E.J. Williams reported that 12 young fledged from 18 nests located in 2003. She also stated that all in all, nesting efforts in 2003 were depressed, probably due to later nesting initiation and lower than average nest success. A good report away from the coastal plain was submitted by Donna Jackson who reported two birds near Peachtree City, Fayette County on 16 July. The highest number of foraging kites was reported on 26 July by Dan Kennedy, who saw 35 birds over a field in Long County. Michael Bell and Oscar Dewberry found 17 birds foraging over a field near Faceville in Decatur County on 30 July.
MISSISSIPPI KITE - The highest count was again from fields in Long County and Tattnall County, where Mark Davis reported seeing five birds in each field on 28 July.
BALD EAGLE – Carol Lambert observed two birds carrying food in Clayton County in early June.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK – Marion Dobbs observed an adult bird and a recently fledged bird in the same area near Lavender Mountain in Floyd County. A bird seen in Decatur County on July 20 by Michael Bell was unusual.
AMERICAN KESTREL – A report of a bird seen by Tim Keyes in downtown Atlanta on 6 June was unexpected for this rare summer resident. Bill Harbin also observed a pair in downtown Rome in June that may have nested.
PEREGRINE FALCON – Jim Ozier reported that the pair nesting in downtown Atlanta had at least two young hatched out by 20 June. Jim also reported that a second pair in midtown Atlanta nested successfully on 26 June.
BLACK RAIL – Two birds were observed in northern Greene County on 6 July by Paul Sykes and Steve Holzman.
KING RAIL – While surveying beside the Conasauga River, Joshua Spence found a bird calling on 3 July. One bird was seen at AWMA on 19 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba), and Michael Bell reports having heard one or two birds at Ichauway Plantation in Baker County on 12 July.
PURPLE GALLINULE – A high count of 12 birds seen at the AWMA on 19 July included five juvenile birds (Bob and Deb Zaremba).
SANDHILL CRANE – Brad Bergstrom reported finding birds at the usual location in Grand Bay WMA on 26 July.
WILSON’S PLOVER – Brandon Noel reported having 45 to 50 chicks on the beach at Little St. Simon Island on 3 June.
PIPING PLOVER - Gene Keferl reported finding one bird on the beach at Jekyll Island on 25 July.
BLACK-NECKED STILT – Bob and Deb Zaremba reported a high count of five birds at AWMA on 12 July. Walt Chambers found two birds at the Bradley Unit of ENWR on 6 June.
WILLET – Brandon Noel reported seeing the first Willet chick on the beach of Little St. Simon Island on 3 June. The only birds reported away from the coast this season were two birds seen at Lake Sinclair Dam by Earl Horn and Jim Flynn on 27 July.
WHIMBREL – Russ Wigh reported seeing one bird on Skidaway Island in July.
LEAST SANDPIPER – Four birds seen at ELHLAF by Carol Lambert were the first birds seen this period.
PECTORAL SANDPIPER – Two birds seen on 14 July and 23 seen on 26 July at the sod farm in Bartow County were the first reported for the summer season (Bob and Deb Zaremba).
STILT SANDPIPER – One bird was seen at AMWA on 12 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba).
BRIDLED TERN – A single bird off Gray’s Reef on 11 June was a great sighting by Russ Wigh.
BLACK TERN – A flock of 35 birds off Gray’s Reef were the first birds reported for the season (Russ Wigh). The earliest report of inland birds were two birds seen at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park near Augusta by Bill Lotz.
WILLOW FLYCATCHER – A single bird was still seen and calling at the usual spot in Blairsville on 4 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba).
LEAST FLYCATCHER - One bird was singing on Hale Ridge Road in Rabun County on 4 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba). Another report of two birds in Murray County on 8 July by Joshua Spence suggests that this species may be breeding in the northern Piedmont more than we may be aware.
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER – A new pair was found by Dan Jacobsen in Trenton, Dade County, on 7 June. The McDonough pair were seen still feeding young on 24 July (Bob Cheek).
HORNED LARK – Three juvenile plumaged birds found by Bob and Deb Zaremba on Dig Road, Bartow County, were possible local breeders. This species is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the Piedmont area.
TREE SWALLOW – The number of nesting birds seems to be increasing in the Piedmont. Michael Beohm reported finding a pair with young at Big Lazar WMA in Talbot County in June. Ann Stewart observed a pair nesting in a Purple Martin gourd on her property in Rome, Floyd County, on 29 June.
BANK SWALLOW – A single bird seen on 26 July was extremely early from KMT (Chuck Saleeby).
CLIFF SWALLOW – A count of 40 birds migrating in northern Greene County on 6 July by Paul Sykes and Steve Holzman indicated some early movement of this species.
BARN SWALLOW – Nathan Klaus reported an amazing count of 5000 to 6000 birds converging on some cornfields in Lamar County on 14 July.
VEERY – Several birds were reported singing at Brasstown Bald, Rabun County, by David Trentley on 16 July.
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER – A single bird was seen on 31 July at KMT ((Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
NORTHERN PARULA – One bird seen on 17 July was the first for the season at KMT (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER – Eight birds were found in Rabun County on 4 July. Four adults feeding young were seen by Bob and Deb Zaremba on the jeep trail to Rabun Bald.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER – The first birds seen moving through KMT were on 4 July, with a high count of 12 on 31 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.). Marion Dobbs reported an impressive total of 13 birds seen in Whitfield County in the Chattahoochee National Forest on 4 June.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER – A single bird seen on 31 July at KMT was the first of the season (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
PRAIRIE WARBLER – Two birds seen at KMT on 23 July were the first of the season (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
BLACKPOLL WARBLER – A new late date for the state was set by Russ Wigh, when he observed a bird which came aboard a boat near Gray’s Reef on 17 June.
CERULEAN WARBLER – The earliest report was two birds seen on 17 July, and high counts of 10 on 23 July and 11 on 31 July all from KMT were good for this species (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER – Three birds seen on 8 July were early migrants at KMT (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
AMERICAN REDSTART – A single bird seen on 21 July was the first reported from KMT (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
WORM-EATING WARBLER – One bird seen on 14 July was the first for the season and set, by seven days, a new early date at KMT (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.). Marion Dobbs reported four birds from the Chattahoochee National Forest in Whitfield County on 4 June, while on the same day Stephen Stewart reported having five birds at John’s Mountain in Floyd County.
OVENBIRD – There were many reports of this species this season, with birds singing on territory in many new areas of the Piedmont. A bird singing in McDuffie County observed by Giff Beaton on 5 July, just north of the Fall Line, adds to the number of possible breeding birds near the Fall Line in Bibb County. Marie and Jerry Amerson observed a bird in Screven County on 5 July in the Tuckahoe WMA..
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH – Earl Horn reported a bird in northwestern Baldwin County on 27 July, which is a new early date for the Piedmont.
HOODED WARBLER – The first bird seen moving through KMT was on 19 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
CANADA WARBLER – David Trently reported two birds still singing on 16 July from Rabun Bald in Rabun County.
SUMMER TANAGER - The high count at KMT was 11 on 14 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Giff Beaton et al.).
SCARLET TANAGER – A good report for the lower Piedmont was submitted by Michael Beohm when he reported five singing birds from FDR State Park in southern Meriwether County on 10 June.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK – Davis Trently also reported a good count of ten birds from Rabun Bald on 16 July.
PAINTED BUNTING – An adult male was seen inland by Dan and Pam Guynn on 1 June at a location in Wheeler County.
DICKCISSEL – A single bird was singing on Brandon Farm Road in Bartow County on 27 July (Bob and Deb Zaremba, Karen Theodorou).
BALTIMORE ORIOLE – Barbara Edwards observed an adult male and fledgling birds getting water from a pond in Macon’s Central City Park on 4 June.