Maryland Bird-Watching After a Storm

Maryland Bird-Watching After a Storm

Birders, keep your eyes wide open after Hurricane Florence hits: After a major storm, you’re more likely to see rare migrant birds where they wouldn’t normally be spotted. 

When birds and bugs get caught in high winds, they seek out calmer places, which often ends up being the eye of the storm (strong surface winds rotate around the exact center or the ‘eye’ of the hurricane, but the center itself is calm). Winds die down, and birds disperse. Migratory birds also end up in unlikely areas when their food supplies have been eradicated by storms, and they’re forced to seek sustenance elsewhere. 

If there’s anything good to come out of a major storm, it’s the “birding bonanza” that follows it, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the rare birds that would scarcely appear in your region otherwise. The Alabama Wildbird Conservation Association has a few safety tips for those who plan on “chasing hurricane birds.” 

Phil Davis of the Maryland/DC Records Committee dug up some records on the rare bird sightings reported in Maryland and DC after major hurricanes that, like Florence, moved inland to the Carolinas. Not all of the reports below were accepted due to improper or incomplete documentation; digital cameras weren’t as easy to come by in the years that many of these storms hit, and if the clouds were still pouring rain, it would have been difficult to capture a clear image of the species’. 

“This information is provided primarily to pique your interest and prepare your thinking about where you may want to go (safely!) after the storm passes,” wrote Davis in an email to the MD Birding group. 

Those who see, and document, rare bird species after the storm are encouraged to submit them to the Records Committee

Sooty tern

Hazel – Oct 1954

Leach’s Storm-Petrel – Royal Oak, Talbot Co.
Sooty Tern – Baltimore City

Hugo – Sep 1989

 

Pterodroma, sp. – Bellevue, Talbot Co.
Red Phalarope – Sandy Point State Park, Anne Arundel Co.
Great Cormorant – Sycamore Landing, Montgomery Co.
American White Pelican – Blackwater NWR, Dorchester [back when they were rare in MD]

Fran – Sep 1996

Pterodroma

Parasitic Jaeger – Sparrows Pt., Baltimore
Roseate Tern – Potomac River, DC
Sooty Tern – Little Seneca Lake (Black Hills Regional Park), Montgomery Co.
Sooty Tern – Woodrow Wilson Bridge, PG Co.
Sooty Tern – Ocean City inlet, Worcester Co.
Sooty Tern – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Sooty Tern – Sandy Point State Park, Anne Arundel Co.
Sooty Tern – Sparrows Point, Baltimore
Pterodroma, sp. – Sandy Point State Park, Anne Arundel Co.
Pterodroma, sp. – Woodrow Wilson Bridge, PG Co.
Cory’s Shearwater – Woodrow Wilson Bridge, PG Co.
Procellariidae sp. – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Brown Pelican – Royal Oak, Talbot [back when they were rare in the Bay]
Long-tailed Jaeger – Lilypons, Frederick Co.
Roseate Tern – Woodrow Wilson Bridge, PG Co.
Roseate Tern – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Bridled Tern – Woodrow Wilson Bridge, PG Co.
Sooty Tern (5) – Sandy Point State Park, Anne Arundel Co.
Sooty Tern – Sherwood, Talbot Co.
Sooty Tern – Bellevue, Talbot Co.
Sooty Tern – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Anhinga – Town Hill, Allegany Co.
Black-capped Petrel – St. Michael’s, Talbot Co. [specimen]

Floyd – Sept 1999

Black skimmer

Bridled Tern (2) – Point Lookout State Park, St. Mary’s Co.
Bridled Tern – Point Lookout State Park, St. Mary’s Co.
Black Skimmer – Georgetown Reservoir, DC
Royal Tern – Gravelly Point, Potomac River, DC
Oceanodroma sp. – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Sooty/Bridled Tern sp. – Pax River NAS, St. Mary’s Co.
Sooty Tern – Ocean City inlet, Worcester Co.
Sooty Tern – Pax River NAS, St. Mary’s Co.

Isabel – Sep 2003

Long-tailed jaegers

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel (3) – Potomac River, DC
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel – Potomac River, DC
Oceanodroma sp. – Potomac River, Marshall Hall, Charles Co.
Red Phalarope – Rock Gap State Park, Allegany Co.
Long-tailed Jaeger – Tilghman Island, Talbot Co.
Roseate Tern – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Arctic Tern – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Bridled Tern – North Beach, Calvert Co.
Sooty Tern – Elm Beach, St. Mary’s Co.
Sooty Tern – Stevensville, Kent Co.
Sooty Tern – Tolchester, Kent Co.

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