2012 Year Summary

2012 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).


CACKLING GOOSE (Branta hutchinsii)

2012-1 (7-0): One; Gardiner’s Pond, Middletown; 7-Jan-2012; Jim Sweeney (I,R,P).


Jim Sweeney was leading a South Shore Bird Club trip to Aquidneck Island when he observed and photographed this Cackling Goose at Gardiner’s Pond in Middletown.

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xathocephalus)

2012-2 A,B (7-0): One; (A): Warwick; 22-Jan-2012; Betty Walsh (I,R,P).

(B). Oakland Beach, Warwick; 10-Feb-2012; Sherry Carlson (I,R).

During a winter storm this male Yellow-headed Blackbird made a one-day appearance at a feeder in Warwick. Betty Walsh photographed the bird, and sent in a report. A couple of weeks later Sherry Carlson observed and reported a Yellow-headed Blackbird at her feeder in the Oakland Beach section of Warwick.



WESTERN GREBE (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

2012-3 A,B (7-0): One; (A) Beavertail, Jamestown; 18-Feb-2012; Chris Loscalzo (I,R).

(B) Narragansett: 8-15-Apr-2012; Buffalo NY Group (I), Shaibal Mitra (P), Robert Weaver (P).

A: On February 18, Chris Loscalzo found this Western Grebe at Beavertail. The bird was observed over the course of an hour, sometimes only 15 yards offshore. Chris sent in a detailed written report.

Due to the rarity of this species in Rhode Island, this record was written up as if it was the same bird which stayed in the same general area, however, it is possible that these two reports represent two different birds.



B: On 8-April a group of birders from Buffalo New York reported that they had seen a Western Grebe at Scarborough Beach. During the week that followed, several birders were able to find the bird at different locations along the Narragansett shore. The bird was photographed from the Narragansett shore.


SANDHILL CRANE (Grus canadensis)2012-4 (7-0): Two; Tiverton; 26-Mar-2012; Geoff Dennis (I,R,P).

Geoff Dennis found and photographed two Sandhill Cranes in a cornfield in Tiverton. Both birds departed at about 6:30 PM, and flew off in the general direction of Seapowet.



EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)

2012-5 (7-0): One; Charlestown; 14-Apr-2012; Nancy Harvey (I,R), Jim Harvey (P).


At about 8:00 AM Nancy Harvey looked out into the backyard of her home on Matunuck Schoolhouse Road in Charlestown. There she noticed a large, chunky dove feeding on the ground with several Mourning Doves. She noted several differences between the two species including the overall color, neck pattern, and tail shape. Between 8:00 AM and noon the bird was observed on the ground as well as in flight and perched in a tree. During that time, Jim Harvey took multiple photos of the bird.These photos as well as a written description were submitted for documentation of this first record of Eurasian Collared-Dove for Rhode Island.WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)

2012-6 (7-0): One; Great Swamp Management Area, South Kingstown; 22-25-Apr-2012; Leslie Bostrom (I,R), Tom Auer (P).


Leslie Bostrom found this White-faced Ibis along with about fifteen Glossy Ibis in the impoundment of the Great Swamp Management Area. The bird was seen by many other birders over the course of the next few days.

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

2012-22 (7-0): One; South Kingstown, Hopkinton; 25-29-Apr-2012; Iris Dewhurst (I,R), Lori Bouchard (I,R,P).

Iris Dewhurst and her husband saw a Swallow-tailed Kite circling low over the trees above their yard in West Kingston around 3:30 pm on April 25. For a few days after that, Lori Bouchard observed one to two Swallow-tailed Kites circling her Hopkinton neighborhood near the Wood River. Lori took photographs, and attempted to contact others who would be interested. It was not until the middle of June when the photos were shown to someone who immediately conveyed the information to local birders.


CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW (Antrostomus carolinensis)

2012-23 (6-1): Two; South Kingstown; 12-29-May-2012; Hope Leeson (I,R), Geoff LeBaron (R), Chris Raithel (R).

Hope Leeson reported that there was a Chuck-will’s-widow calling nighty along Ministerial Road in South Kingston. Several birders went to the area in the following evenings, and reported hearing Chuck-will’s-widow. Estimates of the number of birds varied by reporter, but the committee accepted two, with one member voting for only one.



LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta)

2012-7 (7-0): One; Charlestown Breachway mudflats; 4-Jul-2012; Carlos Pedro (I,R,P).

On this Fourth of July Carlos left the beach to head back onto the mudflats at the Charlestown Breachway. He observed a couple of hundred Least Sandpipers scattered around. In a nearby group of about 25 Least Sandpipers and 4 Short-billed Dowitchers, Carlos noticed this small, bright-reddish sandpiper. Carlos suspected Little Stint because had seen Little Stint before, but not in this bright breeding plumage. He approached the bird, taking photos as he went. The photos confirmed this bird as a Little Stint. Carlos got the word out, but unfortunately the bird was seen only on the 4th.

Carlos' report and photographs provide documentation of the first record of Little Stint for Rhode Island.


BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster)

2012-19 (7-0): One; 3 mi. S of Sakonnet Point, Little Compton; 27-Jul-2012; Michael Schrimpf (I,R,P).

This subadult Brown Booby was sighted well north of its usual range by observers aboard the sailing school vessel (SSV) Corwith Cramer, during an educational research cruise. This bird first landed on the bow of the vessel, at 2:40 PM on 26 Jul, a couple of hundred miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. As the ship continued in a northerly direction, Michael Schrimpf kept detailed notes on the presence of the bird, the times, and the coordinates of the ship. At about 11:30 AM on 27 July, the ship with the Brown Booby aboard was in Rhode Island waters about three miles south of Sakonnet Point. The bird stayed with the ship as it sailed into Massachusetts waters. It was last seen as it flew away from the boat at 7:40 AM on 28 Jul as the ship sailed into Vineyard Sound.




SABINE'S GULL (Xema sabini)

2012-8 (7-0): One; Napatree Point, Westerly; 6-Sep-2012; Dan Finizia, (I,R,P) , Sue Talbot (I,R,P).

Dan Finizia and Sue Talbot found a juvenile Sabine’s Gull sitting on Napatree Point in Westerly. It was seen around 10:55 AM with a group of terns near the pond, or cut, on the bay side. Within 2 minutes, the gull flew off and sat on the water for a short time, and then it flew away towards the ocean.

NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe)

2012-27 (7-0): One; Block Island; 30-Sep to 5-Oct-2012; Sue Talbot, Dan Finizia (I,R), Scott Tsagarakis (R).

Sue Talbot and Dan Finizia found this Northern Wheatear along Cooneymus Road on Block Island. They quickly alerted several birders on the island who came to look for the bird. The bird was not relocated for over an hour, but the four birders who remained for that length of time were rewarded with a view of this Northern Wheatear on a stone wall a few hundred yards away. What was almost certainly the same bird was reported in the same location on 5 Oct.



2012-26 (7-0): Two; Little Compton; 10-16-Oct-2012, Geoff Dennis (I,R,P).


Between 10 October and 16 October Geoff Dennis observed two Selasphorus hummingbirds in his Little Compton yard. Only one of the birds was photographed, but this was not enough to identify this bird to species. Thus neither one could be positively identified as a Rufous, so they were reported and accepted as Selasphorus Sp.


WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

2012-9 (7-0): One; Marsh Meadows, Jamestown; 13-30-Oct-2012, Carlos Pedro (I,R,P), multiple photographers.

Carlos Pedro was with two other birders looking for herons at Marsh Meadows in Jamestown. He walked up the road and saw a shorebird behind a tuft of grass. It looked unusual so Carlos called the other birders over. After a couple of minutes the bird came out and fed in a pool 15 yards away. It was then clear that this was not one of the usual shorebirds found here. Other birders arrived and they obtained a field guide to European birds. From this they determined that this bird was a Wood Sandpiper, an identification that was confirmed as the bird was continuously bobbing its tail and eventually showing its white rump.


This Wood Sandpiper was the first state record for Rhode Island. In the two and a half weeks that followed the initial discovery, birders from around the country arrived and usually were able to locate this bird in one of several areas of Marsh Meadows that the bird frequented. The Wood Sandpiper was last reported on 30 October, the day after Super-storm Sandy struck Rhode Island.

RUFF (Philomachus pugnax)

2012-10 (7-0): One; Rhode Island Country Club, Barrington; 23-27-Oct-2012; Ben Shamgochian (I,R,P), Robert Weaver (P), Rufus Abdullah (P), Jan St. Jean (P).


Ben Shamgochian located this Ruff in the marsh behind the Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington. For the next four days birders were able to find this bird by parking in the RISD Beach/Tillinghast Estates parking lot, walking to the beach, and scanning the marsh to the right. At times the Ruff was seen feeding with three Killdeer in the back of the marsh.



2012-21 (7-0): One; Kingston; 25-Oct thru 9-Nov-2012; Linda Gardrel (I,R), Carlos Pedro (P).


Linda Gardrel found this hummingbird at the feeder in her Kingston yard. A few days later Carlos Pedro was able to take photographs of the bird. The bird stayed for a couple of weeks, and was last seen on 9-Nov.



2012-11 (7-0): One; Little Compton; 30-Oct to 1-Nov-2012; Geoff Dennis (I,R,P).

In the aftermath of the October 29 passage of Hurricane Sandy, this Magnificent Frigatebird was found and photographed by Geoff Dennis at the South Shore Beach in Little Compton. The bird was seen in the morning, and not relocated that day. Perhaps it was the same bird reported in Dartmouth Massachusetts that day. On the next morning, 31-Oct, the Magnificent Frigatebird was relocated in the same area, and Geoff watched it as it moved between Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The bird was last seen in Little Compton at 11:30 AM as it flew west towards the Sakonnet River and out of view. The next day a frigatebird was seen flying over Third Beach in Middletown.

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

2012-12 (7-0): Five; RI Coast; 31-Oct to 18-Nov-2012; Mike Tucker (I,R), Drew Whelan (I,R), Wayne Davis (I,P), Jim Sweeney (P), Bruce Kindseth (I,R), Charles Brown (P).


In the weeks after the passage of Hurricane Sandy on 29-October-2012, there were many reports of Brown Pelicans in Rhode Island. Several photographs were taken, and several reports were received. Two of the pelicans were picked up and sent to wildlife rehabilitators. An NBC News article from November 17 reported on one of the two birds. “The bird, a juvenile likely from a nest in North Carolina, had been tagged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and records showed it was presumed to have died.” Public donations provided the funds to feed the two pelicans and pay for their flight to Florida. After some time living in a tent at the rehabilitation facility, these two birds were flown to the Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary in Florida to be released into the warmer climate.

In order to estimate the number of birds included in the multiple reports, a timeline was created for each. From that timeline it was determined that the best estimate for the number of Brown Pelicans in Rhode Island was the five accepted in this report.


WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

2012-14 (7-0): One; Pardon Gray Preserve, Tiverton; 1-4-Nov-2012; Jan St. Jean (I,R,P).


Jan St. Jean found and photographed this bird at the Pardon Gray Preserve in Tiverton. The bird was seen by several other observers over the next three days.

CAVE SWALLOW (Petrochelidon fulva)

2012-13 (7-0): Five+; Scarborough Beach, Narragansett; Point Judith, Coastal RI; 1-Nov to 12-Dec-2012; Dan Finizia (I,R,P), Paul L’Etoile (I,R,P).


From November through mid-December there were several reports of Cave Swallows along the Rhode Island coast. Considering the tendency of these birds to move around and their now almost annual occurrence, a conservative number of 5+ was accepted for this group of reports.

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

2012-15 (7-0): One; Narrow River, Narragansett; 9-12-Nov-2012; Neil Anthes (I,R), John McNamara (P), Carlos Pedro (P), Greg Sargent (P).


This juvenile White Ibis was found by Neil Anthes between the Sprague Bridge and Middlebridge in the high marsh on the eastern side of Narrow River. The bird was often visible from one of the trails that lead to the marsh at the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge.

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (Sialia currucoides)

2012-16 (7-0): One; Fort Getty, Jamestown; 10-22-Nov-2012; Marcie Lindsay (I), Candy Powell (R,P), Chris Powell (R,P), multiple photographers.


Marcie Lindsay found and identified this Mountain Bluebird at the campground at Fort Getty in Jamestown. She called Candy and Chris Powell, who then photographed the bird and got the information out to other birders. For the first several days thereafter the Mountain Bluebird was seen around the upper part of the campground moving from the campsite utility posts down to the ground to feed. It was easily seen as it flew onto the utility poles and wires. Over the course of the next week the bird was found sometimes at the campground, and sometimes in the pastures along Beavertail Road. This Mountain Bluebird was the second record of Mountain Bluebird for Rhode Island, and the first to have been observed while alive.

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus)

2012-20 (7-0): Two; Jamestown; 14-Nov-2012 Banded; Tom Mackie (I), Anthony Hill (R,P).

On the morning of 14 Nov, Anthony Hill, an experienced bird bander, banded two Selasphorus hummingbirds at the home of Tom Mackie in Jamestown. Both birds were identified as Rufous Hummingbirds based on measurements in the hand and structural characteristics of the tail.

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

2012-17 (7-0): One; Trustom Pond, South Kingstown; 20-23-Nov-2012; Jim Murphy (I,R), Dan Finizia (P), Tom Tetzner (P), Shai Mitra (P).


Jim Murphy found this American White Pelican at Trustom Pond around 11:00 AM on 20-Nov. Over the following three days several observers saw the bird intermittently from either the refuge or Moonstone Beach.



2012-24 (7-0): One; Jamestown; 27-Nov-2012 to 15-Jan-2013; Homeowner (I), Paul L’Etoile (R,P).

Paul L'Etoile took photos of this Selasphorus-type hummingbird coming to a private feeder in Jamestown.



2012-25 (7-0): One; Newport; 28-Nov-2012 to 14-Mar-2013; Charles Clarkson (I,R,P).

This Selasphorus hummingbird was found by Charles Clarkson at the feeder in his yard in Newport. The bird stayed in the area until mid-March of 2013, and appears to have became the second hummingbird to have over-wintered in Rhode Island. There was not enough information available to identify this bird to species. Therefore, following the conservative trend in Selasphorus identification, this bird was accepted as Selasphorus sp, or Rufous/Allen's.




2012-28 (6-0): One; Tiverton; 16-17-Dec-2012; Rachel Farrell (I,R), Geoff Dennis (P)

A Le Conte's Sparrow was found on private property during the Newport Westport CBC. Rachel contacted Geoff Dennis to return to try to photograph the bird the next day. They again obtained permission from the land-owner, and began looking for the bird. Fortunately, they were able to locate the bird and Geoff was able to get photos of this uncommon and usually secretive sparrow.

PINE GROSBEAK (Pinicola enucleator)

2012-18 (7-0): Nine; Pascoag, Burrillville; 24-Dec-2012 through 11-Jan-2013; Jan St Jean (I,R,P), Dan Finizia (P), Robert Weaver (P), Alan Straus, (P), Carlos Pedro (P).


Jan St. Jean found 7 Pine Grosbeaks in a fruit tree next to a building on South Main St., Route 100, in Burrillville. Over the next couple of weeks many birders were able to see and photograph up to nine birds. Often these birds would disappear for awhile, but then eventually they would be heard calling as they returned to feed on the fruit.