Saturday, July 13, 2002

Bird Highlights from the Mountain State of West Virginia--Fall 2001

The following records are excerpted from Robert C. Leberman’s seasonal report for the Appalachia Region, as published in North American Birds (Volume 56, Number 1, Pages 51-53, 2002):

Introduction - “Banders at the Three Rivers Migration Observatory (TRMO) in southern West Virginia . . . enjoyed their best fall migration (5,522 birds banded) since the inception of that program in 1995 (Ronald Canterbury). In contrast, 3,826 birds banded at the Allegheny Front Migraton Observatory (AFMO) in northeastern West Virginia was the sixth lowest fall total in 44 years and just 67% of average (George Hall)."

Red-throated Loon - one at Salem on November 6 (Phil Calise).

Least Bittern - one found dead in Parkersburg on October 19 was a first record for Wood County (fide Jeanette Esker).

Cattle Egret - one reported in Wood County, October 27-30 (Nina Ott).

Common Merganser - the presence of six birds on the Cheat River at Rowlesburg throughout August and into September (Gary Felton) “suggested the possibility that the species may be breeding in the State.

Least Sandpiper - a flock of 100+ at Canaan Valley, Tucker County, August 17 (fide Gary Felton), was termed “exceptionally large” for that locality.

Snowy Owl - one at Willow Island Dam, Pleasants County, November 20-29, was one of a few that invaded Appalachia in late November.

Short-eared Owl - one at Masontown, Preston County, November 21 (Gary Felton), was considered a “rare find.

Common Nighthawk - the 100 birds at Athens, August 22 (Jim Phillips) , was among the “better” counts reported for the Region.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - a record 844 birds were “counted in passage” at AFMO (fide George Hall and Ralph Bell).

Blue Jay - the 13,212 birds counted passing by AFMO “was the 3rd best flight there in 44 years” (fide George Hall), and a heavy flight was also noted in Morgantown during the first three weeks of September (George Breiding).

Wood Thrush - the 17 birds banded at the Three Rivers Migration Observatory (TRMO) “was almost three times greater than the six-year average and twice the previous high” (Ronald Canterbury), but the 21 banded at AFMO “was just average.

Swainson’s Thrush - the flight “was good,” with the 336 banded at AFMO being “a little above average” and “a record” 79 birds banded at TRMO.

Tennessee Warbler - the fall flight was considered “locally heavy,” as evidenced by “a record-high total of 806 (200% above average)” banded at TRMO (Ronald Canterbury) with a peak of 170 there on September 18. But att AFMO, the 305 birds banded “was just a little above average.

Blackpoll Warbler - historically the most common species at AFMO, the 374 birds banded there “was down 37% cmpared to the most recent ten-year average,

Cape May Warbler - the 63 birds banded at AFMO was down 70% compared to the most recent ten-year average.

Bay-breasted Warbler - the 49 birds banded at AFMO was down 43% from the most recent 10-year average, while the 51 birds banded at TRMO “was the highest fall total since that station began operation in 1995.

Black-throated Blue Warbler - the 849 birds banded at AFMO was 20% above average.

Black-throated Green Warbler - a total of 430 banded at AFMO was 12% above average.

Red Crossbill - one at Pipestem State Park on September 22, and two on October 19 (Jim Phillips), “may have belonged to one of the resident Appalachian populations.

American Goldfinch - “an unusually heavy . . . migration resulted in a record count of 6,028 flying past AFMO” (George Hall and Ralph Bell) and a “record banding total” of 1,182 birds at TRMO (Ronald Canterbury).

Evening Grosbeak - “small numbers appeared at scattered localities in . . . West Virginia during the last week of October.”


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