Week Ending May 15, 2016

For a second straight week, bird observations remained off the charts as the peak of spring migration hit the region. For the weekly weather, temperatures rose considerably this week to an average daily high of 77.0 degrees F (a 5.1 degree increase from last week’s average); the average daytime lows also rose, to 59.0 degrees F (a minimal 0.6 degree increase). Overall, we hit a peak high on Monday (14 May) of 86 degrees F, and a low daytime temperature of 53 degrees F, on Monday (9 May). We experienced precipitation on four of the seven days this week, with a total of 0.57 inches of rain. Continuing with last week’s excellent flow of spring migrants, this week kept up the trend with a ton of great sightings across Virginia Beach. FIRST-OF-SEASON ARRIVALS this week included: Wilson’s Phalarope (11 May / Princess Anne WMA / Andrew Baldelli); Warbling Vireo (12 May / Back Bay NWR / Karen & Tom Beatty); Black-billed Cuckoo (12 May / Back Bay NWR / Karen & Tom Beatty); Wilson’s Warbler (12 May / Back Bay NWR / Betty Sue Cohen); Common Gallinule (14 May / Back Bay NWR / Andrew Baldelli & Tracy Tate); Swallow-tailed Kite (14 May / Red Wing Park / Karen & Tom Beatty); Grasshopper Sparrow (14 May / Ashville Park / Andrew Baldelli & Tracy Tate). In addition to all the first-of-season sightings, there was some great RARITIES observed this week as well! These included a Western Tanager (11 May / Back Bay NWR / Michelle Payne) which represents the latest observation for this species in the state of Virginia according to the Gold Book and eBird’s data! Later in the day, the same location also provided a Lincoln’s Sparrow (Rob Bielawski) which is only the second observation of this species in Virginia Beach for the year. Back Bay NWR continued to provide rarities throughout the week, including the Black-billed Cuckoo, Warbling Vireo & Common Gallinule mentioned above in the first-of-season sightings. Princess Anne WMA also followed the trend with the first Wilson’s Phalarope report that eBird has ever received for Virginia Beach and also a Long-billed Dowitcher report (15 May / James Fox & Jason Strickland). The final rarity of the week was the Swallow-tailed Kite mentioned above, which was observed at Red Wing Park. While there was no EARLY ARRIVALS this week, we did have a few LATE OCCURRENCES noted including: Blue-headed Vireo (11 May / Back Bay NWR / Karen & Tom Beatty) and again (14 May / Red Wing Park); Ruby-crowned Kinglet (11 May / Back Bay NWR / James Marcum); White-crowned Sparrow (12 May / Back Bay NWR / Karen & Tom Beatty and Robin Brumfield); Bufflehead (14 May / Back Bay NWR & Princess Anne WMA / Andrew Baldelli & Tracy Tate)

WEEKLY RELEVANT SPECIES DOCUMENTED BY MEDIA were submitted to eBird this week, including: Wednesday (11 May) – Blackpoll Warbler & Bobolink (Princess Anne WMA / Andrew Baldelli), Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler & Scarlet Tanager (Back Bay NWR / Karen & Tom Beatty), Black-throated Green Warbler & Scarlet Tanager (Back Bay NWR / Rob Bielawski); Thursday (12 May) – Black-throated Blue Warbler & Black-throated Green Warbler (Back Bay NWR / Karen & Tom Beatty and Robin Brumfield), White-crowned Sparrow (Back Bay NWR / Lisa Rose); Friday (13 May) – Black-throated Green Warbler & White-crowned Sparrow (Back Bay NWR / Andrew Baldelli), White-crowned Sparrow (Back Bay NWR / Kim Harrell), Blackpoll Warbler (Mount Trashmore Park / Teresa Byrne); Saturday (14 May) – Yellow Warbler (Munden Point Park / David Clark), Least Bittern (Back Bay NWR / Andrew Baldelli & Tracy Tate), Mississippi Kite (Burroughs Road / James Fox & Jason Strickland), Least Sandpiper (Pleasure House Point NA / Daniel Carlson); Sunday (15 May) – Stilt Sandpiper (Princess Anne WMA / James Fox & Jason Strickland). In addition to all these great, documented sightings, there was also a number of Bay-breasted Warbler and Blackburnian Warbler reports from Back Bay NWR. Outside Virginia Beach, but of note was a Swallow-tailed Kite was observed at Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR in Northampton County. Additionally, a group of 6 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were discovered in Northampton County at the Cheriton Landfill! A pair was later seen along the Seaside Road and was likely part of this original group. All these observations added up to one utterly crazy week of springtime birding in southeastern Virginia!

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