2014 Year Summary
2014 Year Summary
SPECIES ( )
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).
BARNACLE GOOSE (Branta leucopsis)
2014-2 (6-0): One; Middletown; 9-19-Jan-2014; Paul Champlin (I), Dan Finizia (P)
This Barnacle Goose reportedly hung out with a group of 2000-3000 Canada Geese in the area of fields along Brown Lane, and the shoreline along Burma Road in Middletown. The geese were reported to have been flying in and out of the fields in that area. At some times gunshots from hunters were heard in the area, and the geese sometimes appeared to be wary. A navy police officer did come by to inquire why there were several people in the area with cameras, but readily accepted the explanation of looking for a rare goose.
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)2014-3 (6-0): Three; Trustom Pond, South Kingstown; 19-Jan-2014; Hans Bucht (I,R,P)Hans Bucht observed three American White Pelicans that came flying from east to west off of Otter point. He was able to capture two of the birds in the photo, and submitted that photo for the record.
TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula)
2014-4 (6-0): One; Seekonk River, Pawtucket; 27-Jan to 3-Feb-2014; Mark Lynch (I,R,P), Sheila Carroll (I,R), Michelle St. Sauveur (P), Tom Auer (R).
This Tufted Duck was found and photographed by Mark Lynch and Sheila Carroll. The age and gender of the bird was in question for awhile, but further evaluation indicated that his bird was an immature female.
PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris)
2014-5 (6-0): One; Newport; 21-Feb to 1-Apr-2014 ; Bobbi Smith (I), Robert Weaver (P)
This Painted Bunting appeared in a Newport yard late in the winter of 2013-2014. It stayed around for about five weeks, providing the first record since the 2009 female Painted Bunting found and photographed in South Kingstown.
BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major)
2014-6 (6-0): One; Succotash Marsh, South Kingstown; 12-14-Apr-2014; Carlos Pedro (I,R,P)
A Boat-tailed Grackle was found in Succotash Marsh in a fresh water pool on the west side of Succotash Road. Eventually it flew off out of sight, but was seen over the next two days in the pool where it was originally found along the road.
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)
2014-7 (6-0): Two; Middletown; 26-Apr to 3-May-2014; Wayne Munns (R), Carlos Pedro (R,P), Robert Weaver (P)
Two White-faced Ibis were located in Middletown at Simmons Farm petting zoo along Route 114. They stayed in the vicinity for about a week, and were seen by several birders.
TRUMPETER SWAN (Cygnus buccinator)
2014-1 (6-0): One; Seekonk River, Providence; 11-20-May-2014; Ben Shamgochian (I,P), Dan Finizia (P), Barbara Sherman (P), Hans Bucht (P).
Trumpeter Swans have been nesting in New York for many years, where they have become an established population. As the population increases, many new records are occurring in New England. This bird appeared on the Seekonk River on 11-May. That timing would be consistent with a non-breeding wanderer from an established population west of us in New York. This record is now the first accepted record of Trumpeter Swan in Rhode Island.BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) nest
2014-9 (6-0): Two+; 25-May-2014; Chris Raithel (I,R,P)
An adult Black Vulture appeared from a rocky area and began hissing in defense. Other mewing noises were heard coming from the nest. This provided evidence of the first recorded nesting of Black Vultures in Rhode Island.
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus)
2014-8 (): One; Carter Preserve, Charlestown; 3-Jun-2014;
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
2014-10 (6-0): One; North End, Block Island; 20-Jun-2014; Christian Amaral (I,R,P)
This Brown Pelican was photographed on the North End of Block Island in June. These distant photos were taken just before the gulls and then the Brown Pelican flew off. Unlike many other records of Brown Pelican in Rhode Island, this one was not associated with any storms.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)
2014-19 (6-0): One; Napatree, Westerly; 21-Jun-2014; Tom Auer (I,R,P)
This very active Western Kingbird was found and photographed at Napatree Point. It apparently did not stay very long, and was recorded by one observer. This may be the earliest record of Western Kingbird in Rhode Island. There was one previous early record of Western Kingbird 7-Jul-1980 in South Kingstown.
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
2014-11 (6-0): One; Weekapaug, Westerly; 25-Aug to 30-Sep-2014; Nigel and Cathy Grindley (I,R,P), Don Heitzmann (P)
This juvenile White Ibis was first found on the mudflats at Andy's Way on Block Island. It was located at low tide on the flats near Bean Point, and remained there in spite of several clammers in the vicinity. The bird hung out for over a month, and was reported by many observers.
SEDGE WREN (Cistothorus platensis)
2014-12, (6-0): One; Trustom Pond NWR, South Kingstown; 17-19-Sep-2014; Tom Auer (I), Tom Tetzner (P), Don Heitzmann (P)
This Sedge Wren was found at Trustom Pond NWR in the tall grass in the large fields. It stayed in the same general area for three days, where it was seen by several birders, and also photographed.
GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)
2014-13 (6-0): One; Narragansett; 25-Oct-2014; Dylan Pedro (I), Carlos Pedro (R,P), Paul L'Etoile (P)
This immature Golden Eagle was spotted at Sunset Farm in Narragansett. During the observation, there was also a Bald Eagle flying in the area. This led to a very rare opportunity in Rhode Island for a single photograph with both a soaring Golden Eagle and a soaring Bald Eagle in the same frame.
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)
2014-14 (6-0): One; Sachuest Point, Middletown; 5-13-Nov-2014; Matt Schenck (I), Mark Pagliarini (I,P), Robert Weaver (P), Carlos Pedro (P)
This cooperative Ash-throated Flycatcher was seen and photographed by many observers in an area mostly east of the Park Headquarters. It stayed in the same general area for over a week, often giving excellent views as it perched up high in the open fields.
Not Accepted: YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS
2014-15 (0-6): One; Point Judith, Narragansett; 28-Nov-2014
The report of a Yellow-nosed Albatross came from an experienced and reliable observer who has observed thousands of albatross's in the southern hemisphere on several trips. The challenge was that the conditions of this observation were extremely poor. The bird was seen through binoculars at a distance of 200 to 300 yards from shore, in rain, fog, and 25-35 mph southwest winds.
There were large numbers of Gannets in the area, flying out of Narragansett Bay and into the wind. The reported bird was flying with the wind, "engaging in a towering, shearing flight, approaching 75-100 feet of altitude at the high points and skimming the waves at the low point". Because the observed bird was flying in the opposite direction of the Gannets, there was no possibility for direct comparison of the two species flight patterns.
Evaluating this report was challenging for the Committee. The credentials of the observer were excellent, and the description was good. However, there were foul weather conditions, a relatively large distance of the observation, and also a lack of direct comparisons with the Northern Gannets (a species known to be confused with Yellow-nosed Albatross). The fact that this record was Not Accepted was due largely to the conditions of the sighting, however the Committee recognizes that this may have been an Albatross that "got away".
THICK-BILLED MURRE (Uria lomvia)
2014-17 (6-0): One; pelagic, Cox's Ledge; 14-Dec-2014; Keith Mueller (I,R,P).
Fast moving birds seen from a rocking boat at a significant distance can be extremely difficult to identify. However, with a good camera in good hands, identifiable photographs can be recorded. That is the case with this record of Thick-billed Murre, as well as the next record (2014-18), observed a couple of weeks later.
THAYER'S GULL (Larus thayeri)
THICK-BILLED MURRE (Uria lomvia)
2014-18 (6-0): One; pelagic, Cox's Ledge; 31-Dec-2014; Keith Mueller (I,R,P).
Another fast-moving bird seen from a distance from a rocking boat. Once again, as in the previous Thick-billed Murre record (2014-17), identifiable photos were submitted with this report.