2011 Year Summary

2011 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).


AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

2011-1 (7-0): One; Prudence Island, and Fort Getty, Beavertail, Jamestown; 4-5-Jan-2011; Pam Long (I,R), Carol Trocki (I), Heather Hopkins (I), Michelle St. Sauveur (P).


This bird was initially found by Pam Long, Carol Trocki, and Heather Hopkins as they were doing a waterfowl survey from Portsmouth. They observed the bird in flight and on the water off of Prudence Island. The next day it was seen by several other birders at Fort Getty and Beavertail in Jamestown. The pelican was last seen as it flew across the bay into the waters off of Narragansett.

TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula)

2011-2 (7-0): One; Conimicut Point, Warwick; 15-Jan-2011; Doug Wilson (I,R).

This bird was found in a raft of about 8000 scaup about 200 yards off of the north side of Conimicut Point.



2011-3 (7-0): One; Weekapaug, Westerly; 15-19-Feb-2011; Jan St. Jean (I), Phil Rusch (R), Glenn Williams (R).

Jan St. Jean initially found and reported this bird in the marsh on the east side of Weekapaug Road. A few days later Phil Rusch and Glenn Williams saw the bird in the same area, and sent in written reports.


ROSS'S GOOSE (Chen rossii)

2011-4 (7-0): One; Bristol; 8-12-Mar-2011; Joe Koger (I,R), Dan Finizia (P), Sue Talbot (P), Bob Weaver (P).

Joe Koger observed a large flock of Canada Geese in the fields near Mount Hope High School. Also in the flock were eight Snow Geese and two white geese that were much smaller than the Snow Geese. Subsequently other birders with scopes and cameras located one of the birds and confirmed this Ross’s Goose. The bird later moved to a nearby golf course where it was last seen four days after the initial report.



YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)2011-25 (6-0); One; 14-Apr-2011; Little Compton; Geoff Dennis (R,P)Geoff Dennis received a phone call from a friend about an unusual blackbird, so Geoff went to look for the bird. The bird turned out to be a Yellow-headed Blackbird, which Geoff was able to photograph.


LITTLE GULL (Hydrocoloeus minutus)

2011-5 (7-0): One; Sakonnet Point, Little Compton; 16-May-2011; Bob Emerson (I,R).

Bob Emerson was scoping around some fishing traps off of the Sakonnet Point parking lot when he picked this bird out of a group of eight or so Common Terns feeding 100 to 200 yards offshore.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

2011-6 (7-0): One; Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown; 21-22-May-2011; Paul L’Etoile (I,R,P), Barbara Sherman (P).


Paul L’Etoile found this bird on the main mudflats at the Charlestown Breachway. He got the word out and other birders were able to see the bird. It was last seen at about 7:50 AM on the following day.


SWAINSON'S WARBLER (Limnothlypis swainsonii)

2011-7 (7-0): One; Block Island; 22-May-2011; Kim Gaffett (I,R,P).


Kim Gaffett reported a busy day at the Block Island banding station this day with fifty birds being banded. However, the outstanding bird of the day was the Swainson’s Warbler found in the nets. This bird was photographed and then released, providing evidence of the first state record of this species for Rhode Island.


MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis)

2011-8 (7-0): Two; Charlestown; 31-May-2011; Dan Finizia (I,R,P), Sue Talbot (I,R).


Dan Finizia and Sue Talbot observed four raptors in the air at the intersection of Route 91 and 112 in Charlestown. They were able to identify and photograph two Mississippi Kites, the other two birds disappeared from view before they could be identified.




2011-9 (7-0): One; Old Harbor, Block Island; 9-Jun-2011; Doug Wilson (I,R,P), Laura Taylor (P), Brent Robitaille (P).

Doug Wilson was on the top deck of the ferry awaiting the 3:00 PM departure to return to the mainland. A few minutes before departure, he spotted this Magnificent Frigatebird approaching the boat from out over the jetty. The bird circled the boat for a couple of minutes. During that time both photographs and video were recorded.




WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)2011-10 (7-0): One; Weekapaug, Westerly; 2-10-Aug-2011; Mike Tucker (R), Bob Weaver (P), Mike Resch (P), Keith Mueller (P).

Mike Tucker, an employee at Audubon Society of Rhode Island, received a report from a man who lived on Atlantic Avenue that there had been a White Ibis in the Weekapaug area for a few days. Mike got the word out to the birding community, and in the next week several birders were able to see and photograph the bird.


RUFF (Philomachus pugnax)

2011-11 (7-0): One; Quicksand Pond, Little Compton; 16-Aug-2011; Robert Emerson (I,R).

Bob Emerson first saw this bird at about 7:15 in the morning about 200 yards away on the mudflats at Quicksand Pond. A kayaker flushed the bird closer, and Bob got good looks for a short time. The kayaker continued approaching, and the Ruff took off and disappeared to the northeast.

AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER (Puffinus lherminieri)

2011-12 (7-0): One; 70 miles S of Block Island; 20-Aug-2011; Doug Wilson (R,P).

This bird was observed on an overnight pelagic to the canyons 90 miles south of Block Island. In previous years multiple numbers of Audubon’s Shearwaters were observed, but on this trip only one was found.

MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis)

2011-13 (7-0): One; Potowamut, Warwick; 24-Aug-2011; Bryan and Sarah Glemboski (I,R,P).

Bryan and Sarah Glemboski found this Mississippi Kite while walking near their house in Potowomut,. They watched it feed for a few minutes and then fly off to the south. During that time they were able to take photos and video of the bird.


BRIDLED TERN (Onychoprion anaethetus)

2011-14 (7-0): Two (1 ad, 1 juv); Briggs Beach, Little Compton; 28-Aug-2011; Robert Emerson (I,R,P), Geoff Dennis (P).


At about 11:00 AM during Tropical Storm Irene, Bob Emerson was walking along Briggs Beach when he flushed two resting terns. The birds appeared tired and reluctant to fly so Bob was able to approach and take photos. Later in the afternoon Bob returned with Geoff Dennis and located and photographed what were presumably the same birds.

BRIDLED TERN (Onychoprion anaethetus)

2011-15 (7-0): Two; Narragansett; 28-Aug-2011; Drew Wheelan (I,R,P).

During Tropical Storm Irene, Drew Wheelan observed what he thought was a Bridled Tern in the channel next to George’s in Galilee. The bird flew to the Jerusalem side of the channel and disappeared. Drew searched the area from both sides of the channel and relocated the bird along with a second Bridled Tern. Considering the miserable conditions, Drew was able to take good photos of both of the birds in flight.


SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

2011-16 (7-0): Six; Narragansett, Jerusalem, Charlestown; 28-29-Aug-2011; Dick Ferren (I,R,P), Robert Weaver (I,R,P), Carlos Pedro (I,R,P).


SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)

2011-18 (7-0): One; Ninigret NWR, Charlestown; 9-Sep-2011; Patrick Blake (I,R).

Patrick Blake was in a motor vehicle working on one of the US Fish & Wildlife Service vehicle trails on a runway used for habitat restoration. He observed the Say’s Phoebe from the vehicle at an approximate distance of 50 feet for about ten minutes. His detailed written report provided descriptions of the bird and its behavior.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

2011-19 (7-0): One; Quicksand Pond, Little Compton; 13-Sep-2011; Barbara Gearhart (I,R) Dan Finizia (I), Sue Talbot (I), Rey Larsen (P).

When Barbara Gearhart, Dan Finizia, and Sue Talbot approached the cut at Quicksand Pond there was only one shorebird there. They immediately recognized it as a Long-billed Dowitcher. Rey Larsen later photographed the bird, and Barbara reported hearing the call.

LITTLE GULL (Hydrocoloeus minutus)

2011-20 (7-0): One; Easton’s Beach, Newport; 29-Sep-2011; Jack Kelly (I,R,P).

Jack Kelly observed this unusual small gull on Easton’s Beach in Newport. He photographed the bird and then had prints made. He sent the prints to Rey Larsen who identified the bird as a Little Gull.



There were three reports of Sandwich Terns during and shortly after the passage of Tropical Storm Irene. Dick Ferren observed two birds from Napatree on the day of the storm. The day after the storm Bob Weaver reported one bird from Succotash Marsh, and Carlos Pedro found three Sandwich Terns at the Charlestown Breachway mud flats.

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

2011-17 (7-0): One; Galilee, Narragansett; 30-Aug-2011; Rey Larsen (I,R,P).

Two days after the passage of Tropical Storm Irene, Rey Larsen found this Brown Pelican in the channel between Galilee and Jerusalem. The bird moved down the channel and was later seen on the west side of the breakwater on the Jerusalem side of the channel.


GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)2011-26 (6-0): One; Wakefield; 7-Oct-2011; Paul L'Etoile (P).This Golden Eagle was seen soaring with four other Raptors in Wakefield. Paul L'Etoile was able to get a photo of the soaring eagle.RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD

2011-23 (6-1): One; Hopkinton; October thru 30-Dec-2011; Denise Gautreu (I), Dan Finizia (P), Sue Talbot (P), Rufus Abdullah (P), Alan Straus (P), Grace DaSilva (P), Bob Weaver (P).


Denise Gautreu provided gracious hospitality to many birders when she reported a Selasphorus Hummingbird in her yard. She allowed birders to enter the yard, even setting up chairs for them to sit in. Many birders were able to see and photograph this bird due to the kindness of the homeowner.Although diagnostic features of the spread tail were not observed on this bird, it was accepted as a Rufous Hummingbird based on the amount of bright rufous plumage on the body.



WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

2011-21 (7-0): One; Beavertail, Jamestown; 8-Nov-2011; Jason Colby (I,R,P).

Jason Colby found and photographed this Western Kingbird around noontime near the lighthouse at Beavertail Point.



ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)

2011-22 (7-0): One; Middletown; 4-12-Dec-2011; Paul Champlin (I,R,P), Rey Larsen (P), Bob Weaver (P).

Paul Champlin found this bird in the area of Tank Farm 5 of the Newport Naval Complex. It was subsequently re-located at the Saint Columba Cemetery adjacent to the complex. In the week following its discovery this bird was seen and heard by several birders. It was often difficult to locate in the dense brush, but its vocalizations gave clues to its location.

TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE (Myadestes townsendi)

2011-24 (7-0): One; Burrillville; 31-Dec-2011; Steve Dziadosz (I,R).

While participating in the Uxbridge Christmas Bird count, Steve Dziadosz spotted this bird teed up at the top of a cedar tree. The bird was observed for about five minutes at close range, both perched and in flight. Steve provided a detailed written report that clearly described this rare western vagrant.