2006 Year Summary

2006 Year Summary


RIARC Number Vote (Accepted-Not Accepted-Natural Status Uncertain): # of birds reported; location; date(s); reporters (I = initial observer, R = report submitted, P = photograph submitted).


MEW GULL (Larus canus)

2006-3 (7-0): One; Watchemoket Cove, East Providence; 6-Jan through 11-Feb-2006; Carlos Pedro (I,P), Shaibal Mitra (R,P), Paul L’Etoile (P), James Smith (P).

Carlos Pedro found and photographed this bird at Watchemoket Cove in East Providence on 6-Jan-2006. This Mew Gull stayed in the area for over a month, allowing the opportunity for many birders to observe the bird. Despite a number of prior records from nearby Massachusetts and New York State, and several sight reports from Rhode Island, this bird was the first fully documented record of this species in Rhode Island.





RUFF (Philomachus pugnax)

2006-5 (7-0): One; Great Swamp, South Kingstown; 12-Apr-2006; Dan Finizia (I,R,P), Sue Talbot (I).

Dan Finizia and Sue Talbot found this Ruff on mud flat in the impoundment area of the Great Swamp Management Area. Dan was able to obtain distant but identifiable photos of the bird.


NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe)

2006-7 (7-0): One; West Greenwich; 28-May-2006; Dan Cooper (I,R,P).

At around 7:45 AM, Dan Cooper and Linda Vanderveer were driving up Congdon Mill Road in West Greenwich while doing a bird survey of the Big River Management Area. As they stopped at Route 3 they flushed a passerine from the side of the road and it flew low to the north and dropped down at the edge of a hayfield along Route 3. As it flew, Dan noticed a lot of white in the tail. They relocated the bird and again the bird flew. This time the black and white tail pattern stood out, and the bird was identified as a Northern Wheatear. During the next half hour of observation, Dan was able to get several photos of the bird.



BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major)

2006-1 (7-0): One; Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown; 2-Jun-2006; Richard Veit (I,R), Carolyn Mostello (I).

Dick Veit and Carolyn Mostello were crossing the channel to the mudflats at the Charlestown Breachway when a large grackle came out of the spartina and walked and hopped along the sandflat at the edge of the marsh. The bird was quickly identified as a female Boat-tailed Grackle. During their 45 minutes in the area they were able to get close up views of the bird. They were able to make direct comparisons to nearby Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds.



SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

2006-6 (7-0): Green Island, Warwick; 2-Aug-2006; Doug Wilson (I,R).

Doug Wilson found this Sandwich Tern in a large group of terns roosting on Green Island in Warwick. It immediately stood out due to its large size, shaggy crest, and yellow-tipped bill. He observed the bird for about 20 minutes, both in flight and roosting with other local terns. The next day the Sandwich Tern was not found. A Sandwich Tern had been reported the previous day at the Charlestown Breachway, and perhaps this was the same bird. Most reports of Sandwich Tern are from the south coast. This report describes a very rare sighting of Sandwich Tern in the upper bay.

Not Accepted, Natural Status Uncertain: RUDDY SHELDUCK (Tadorna ferruginea)

2006-8 (0-0-6): One; Ninigret mudflats; 8-Aug-2006; Paul L'Etoile (I,R,P)

A Ruddy Shelduck was seen and photographed on the mudflats of Ninigret Pond on 8-Aug-2006, and not relocated after that. The photos do not show any leg bands or tags that could indicate the bird's origin.

Ruddy Shelduck is frequently kept in captivity. For example, in 2018 there is at least one known aviary in Rhode Island that keeps Ruddy Shelduck. For this reason, Ruddy Shelduck records have almost always been correctly dismissed as escapes. With the 2017 Acceptance of a wild bird in Greenland, it is suggested that records committees keep records of any aviary-associated or possibly wild birds in order to discover a possible future natural pattern of occurrence in North America.

With this in mind, the Committee voted to Not Accept, Natural Status Uncertain, and keep this record available for reference for possible future occurrences of Ruddy Shelduck in Rhode Island.




YELLOW RAIL (Coturnicops noveboracensis)

2006-9 (6-0): One; Succotash Marsh, Narragansett; 7-Oct-2006; Phil Rusch (R), Glenn Williams (R), Scott Tsagarakis (R), Doug Wilson (R).

Several birders were looking for marsh birds at Succotash Marsh in Narragansett. A few of them had waded out 20 to 30 yards into the marsh. As those birders moved, a small bird flushed from the marsh and flew into tall grass and shrubbery along the shore. Those in the marsh got good looks at the bird from behind, and others observed the bird as it flew by. Those brief but clear looks described in four separate write-ups confirmed this bird as a Yellow Rail.

VIRGINIA’S WARBLER (Vermivora virginiae)

2006-2 (7-0): One; Walker Farm, Barrington; 8-Oct-2006; Sue Talbot (I), Dan Finizia (I,R,P), Scott Tsagarakis (R).

Early in the morning at Walker Farm Sue Talbot spotted a bird that was “warbler-like, gray with some yellow and an eye ring”. The bird flew off. At about noon Dan and Sue took one last pass behind the gardens when the bird flew in about 15 feet in front of them. The bird provided a good look for about fifteen seconds, and at that time, Dan and Sue identified it as a Virginia’s Warbler. Dan was able to get some identifiable photos, and also photographed it later in the afternoon when the bird was relocated. Although this Virginia’s Warbler was seen for only one day, this sighting constitutes a first state record for Rhode Island, and one of very few for the Northeast.


RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus)

2006-4 (6-1): One; Snug Harbor, South Kingstown; 27-Oct-2006 through 27-Jan-2007; Wayne Davis (I), Geoff Dennis (P), Chris Raithel (P).

Wayne Davis, a homeowner in Snug Harbor, reported a Selasphorus Hummingbird coming to his feeder starting 27-Oct-2006. During the bird’s three month stay it was photographed several times. The bird was last seen on 26-Jan-2007, but the specimen was recovered and photographed on 17-Feb-2007. Photos of the spread tail of the specimen showed this to be a Rufous Hummingbird.


Le CONTE'S SPARROW (Ammospiza leconteii)

2006-10 (6-0): One; Avondale Preserve, Westerly; 4-5-Nov-2006; Carlos Pedro, Scott Tsagarakis, Paul L'Etoile (P)

This sparrow was found on 4-November, and re-located the next day. Fortunately, Paul L'Etoile was able to photograph this elusive sparrow to add to the record.