2008 Year Summary

2008 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).


TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula)

2008-2 (7-0): One; East Providence Reservoir, East Providence; 21-Jan-2008; Rachel Farrell (I,R,P).

This Tufted Duck was photographed at the East Providence Reservoir by Rachel Farrell.


CACKLING GOOSE (Branta hutchinsii)

2008-3 (7-0): Four; Hundred Acre Pond, South Kingstown; 2-Feb-2008; Paul L’Etoile (I,R), Scott Tsagarakis (R).

While scanning through approximately three thousand Canada Geese Paul L’Etoile picked out four smaller Canada-type Geese. These geese stuck together while maintaining a small distance from the larger Canada Geese. Even though seen at a distance, these birds were well described in the write-ups by Paul and Scott Tsagarakis.

HOARY REDPOLL (Acanthis hornemanni)

2008-1 (7-0): One to two; Bold Point, East Providence; 19-Feb-2008 to 18-Mar-2008; Luke Seitz (I,P), Ian Davies (I), Greg Sargeant (R,P), Glenn Williams (R), Andy Boyce (R), Matt Garvey (R,P), Linda Croce (P), Dan Finizia (P).




2008-12 (7-0): One; Quonochontaug, Charlestown; 5-Apr-2008; Scott Tsagarakis (I,R), Carlos Pedro (P).


Hoary Redpolls are not easy to find in Rhode Island, however this one (or two) found by Luke Seitz and Ian Davies was cooperative enough to return to the same area for a month. Many birders got to see the bird and to take photographs. Particularly helpful were the detailed reports sent in by Greg Sargeant, Glenn Williams, Andy Boyce, and Matt Garvey.


While scanning through several ducks Scott Tsagarakis came across a group of Green-winged Teal. He noticed that the one bird on a rock was a Eurasian Green-winged Teal. Carlos Pedro photographed the bird, and Carlos’ photo and Scott’s write-up were submitted.

BOHEMIAN WAXWING (Bombycilla garrulus)

2008-4 (7-0): One; Genesee Swamp, South Kingstown; 11-12-Apr-2008; Paul L’Etoile (I,R), Chris Sidler (R,P), Carlos Pedro (R).

While running along the bike path through Genesee Swamp, Paul L’Etoile thought he heard a Bohemian Waxwing call. Daylight was fading, so Paul went back the next day with a few others to try to find the bird. The Bohemian Waxwing was located in the same area feeding on Rose-hips. Chris Sidler provided photographs, and Paul and Carlos Pedro provided written reports. It is interesting to note that this bird was found only a few miles away from where Shai Mitra reported a Bohemian Waxwing on 22 Dec 2007 during a Christmas Bird Count.



RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus)

2008-7 (7-0): One; off of Little Compton; 30-May-2008; Dick Ferren (I,R,P), Chris Raithel (I,R).

While in a boat doing their annual Colonial Seabird Survey, Dick Ferren and Chris Raithel spotted a Red-billed Tropicbird off of Little Compton. The bird was first spotted as it flew about 1/2 mile east of East Island, a tiny island just off of Sakonnet Point in Little Compton. At one point, the bird landed on a rock near East Island. Shortly thereafter, the bird began flying to the east towards Goosewing Beach and Westport, Massachusetts and they then lost sight of it. It was last seen headed east, about 1/2 mile offshore. For a few years there has been a Red-billed Tropicbird reported from Maine. Dick reports that the possibility of their bird being the same individual as the one present at Matinicus Rock in Maine four days later was nullified by photographs of the Maine bird that showed a tail more than twice as long as that of the Rhode Island bird.


YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) [nest]

2008-10 (7-0): Three, adult feeding young; Johnston; April, June 2008; Jim Murphy (I,R).

In April, Jim Murphy observed a male and female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker chasing each other in his yard in Johnston. This noisy behavior lasted a few days. In June Jim once again heard chattering in the woods only this time it was a fledgling sapsucker. He observed the young bird being fed by its parent.

This record provides the first recorded nesting of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Rhode Island. According to one committee member this is a long-overdue happening. It’s been breeding sparingly in central Massachusetts for some years but westward in the Berkshires it’s one of the most common woodland birds.

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

2008-9 (7-0): One; Jamestown; 9-10-Jun-2008; Chris Powell (I,R,P), Wayne Munns (P).


This bird was found by Chris Powell in a small tidal pool near the tollbooths for the Newport Bridge in Jamestown. It was found at 8:20 PM, but there was still enough light for Chris to take a photo. The next morning the stilt remained in the pool until 10:00 AM when it flew to Marsh Meadows where it continued to be observed by several birders.



SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

2008-8 (7-0): One; Sachuest Point to Third Beach, Middletown; 5-6-Jul-2008; Rey Larsen (I,R,P).



NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe)

2008-14 (7-0): One; Slocum, North Kingstown; 15-29-Sep-2008; Paul L’Etoile (I,R,P).


Rey Larsen’s monitoring of the recently restored saltmarsh at Sachuest Point paid off with the appearance of this Sandwich Tern. This bird stayed for two days, feeding offshore at Third Beach with Common Terns, and roosting with the gulls in the parking lot of Third Beach, or on the flats in the marsh.


The Northern Wheatear was first observed on 15-September by Jacob and Robin L'Etoile, who work at SODCO turf farm in North Kingstown. The wheatear caught their attention by its diligence in following the sod harvesting machine to feed on freshly exposed insects in the dirt. Jacob and Robin called their cousin (a birder, Paul L’Etoile) to check out this unknown bird. Paul identified and photographed the bird on 20-September. The bird remained on the turf farm for over a week. Although the turf farm was private property, the wheatear was often easily scopable from the public road, and many birders got to see the bird.

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

2008-16 (7-0): One; Palmer River, Barrington; 18-Sep-2008; Butch Lombardi (I,R,P).


While out kayaking on the Palmer River looking for Ospreys, Butch Lombardi observed a large white bird. As he approached to within 20 yards he was finally able to see through the grasses that this was a pelican. He was able to get a couple of flight shots of the American White Pelican as it flew into Swansea Massachusetts. He then notified other birders who got the word out, but the bird was not relocated.

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

2008-11 (7-0): One; Block Island; 30-Sep-2008; Dan Finizia (I,R,P), Sue Talbot (I,R).


At 5:30 pm, Dan Finizia and Sue Talbot found and photographed the Yellow-headed Blackbird on a lawn with Brown-headed Cowbirds and American Robins on the south end of Block Island.



PACIFIC LOON (Gavia pacifica)

2008-5 (7-0): One; Great Salt Pond, Block Island; 7-Nov-2008; Patricia Lindsay (I), Shaibal Mitra (R,P).

Patricia Lindsay first observed this loon in Great Salt Pond on Block Island. It was initially seen from Andy’s Way, then subsequently observed from the New Harbor main dock and the Coast Guard Station. During the observations Pat and Shai Mitra had direct comparisons with nearby Common Loons and Red-throated Loons.

CAVE SWALLOW (Petrochelidon fulva)

2008-13 (7-0): Four +; Napatree Point, Westerly; 10-Nov-2008; Chris Raithel (I,R).

On a day at Napatree with a pretty good migration, Chris Raithel got excellent looks at four+ Cave Swallows as they flew past and continued out over the water.


BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

2008-6 (7-0): One; Charlestown; 7-19-Dec-2008; Michelle St. Sauveur (I,R,P), Walter Bosse (P), Alan Straus (P), Robert Weaver (P).


Michelle St. Sauveur found this bird at a feeder along the gravel road to the Charlestown Breachway. She took some photos of this rare visitor from the west. The grosbeak stayed for over a week providing the opportunity for many birders to see and take photos of this bird as it came to the same feeder.

TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula)

2008-15 (7-0): One; Ten Mile River Greenway, East Providence; 30-Dec-2008 through 8-Jan-2009; Ed Slattery (I,R,P).


As Ed Slattery was walking on the East Providence/Pawtucket Greenway he was on the lookout for the return of a Tufted Duck that had been seen in the area the previous winter. On 30-December his perseverance paid off when he found a Tufted Duck about 150 yards away in a small group of scaup. Later on in January he was able to return and get a photo of the Tufted Duck in the company of Ring-necked Ducks.