Conowingo Dam Annotated Checklist

by Rick Blom

Last updated 12AUG99

(The Conowingo Dam Site Guide is also available.)

 

    This is an annotated checklist of the bird of Conowingo Dam. The definitions of common, rare, etc., are imprecise and can be deduced by reading the list. They are based on perceived abundance, not on likelihood of observation. The area covered is from the mouth of Deer Creek below the dam to the area of Glen Cove Marina above the dam and for approximately 200 yards inland from the shoreline of the river. The boundaries are arbitrary and could easily include all of the Maryland portion of the river, although I am not aware of any birds seen above Glen Cove Marina that have not been seen in the area described. The southern boundary includes the trail below the parking lot at the dam to the point where it leaves the river and turns inland.

      Several of the species listed have asterisks. Those are birds that have only been seen one or two times. If they are found at the dam, the observer should call the local bird club or hotline immediately.

      The list stands, as of August 1999, at 244 birds. The total includes all the birds on the annotated list below except the exotic Pink-backed Pelican. A few of the birds are of uncertain origin (such as Trumpeter Swan) or identification (such as Slaty-backed and Common Gulls). Bicknell's and Gray-cheeked Thrush are counted as only one species on the list although both should occur, at least as flyovers at night. Not included on the list is a single record of Yellow-headed Blackbird, a second-hand report of a male flying over in a flock of blackbirds in winter. Thousands of blackbirds pass the dam most days in winter and Yellow-headeds are reported annually in the area. Additional reports are expected.

      The compilation of this list was made possible by the contributions of many people, especially Les Eastman, Dave Webb, and Gene Scarpulla, who shared records and made comments. Most important was Bob Schutsky, whose surveys and birding along the river was the Genesis and inspiration for most of the attention the site now receives. My greatest gratitude goes to John Wortman, who welcomed and introduced me to Harford County birding more than fifteen years ago and with whom I have shared many memorable moments at the dam and elsewhere in the county.

      Any list this long contains errors of fact and omission. They are entirely mine and I will resist aggressively any effort by anyone else to take credit for them.

Red-throated Loon * Rare fall migrant, very rare spring and winter.
Pacific Loon * One late fall record above dam.
Common Loon Common spring and fall, uncommon winter.
Pied-billed Grebe Fairly common spring and fall, uncommon winter
Horned Grebe Uncommon fall through spring
Red-necked Grebe * Very rare in spring
Eared Grebe * Two late fall records above dam.
Brown Pelican * One early winter record.
Double-crested Cormorant Common to abundant spring and fall, uncommon summer, rare winter.
Great Cormorant * Rare fall through spring.
Great Blue Heron Common to abundant year-round. Nests.
Great Egret Uncommon spring through fall. One winter record.
Snowy Egret Uncommon spring through fall.
Little Blue Heron Rare spring through fall.
Cattle Egret Rare most years spring through fall.
Green Heron Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Black-crowned Night-Heron Uncommon year-round. Nests.
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron * One fall record.
Black Vulture Common to abundant year-round. Probably nests.
Turkey Vulture Common to abundant year-round. Probably nests.
Snow Goose Rare late fall through early spring. Almost all records are flyovers.
Canada Goose Fairly common year-round, common to abundant migrant. Nests.
Brant * Very rare fall migrant above dam.
Tundra Swan Uncommon to occasionally fairly common migrant. All records are flyovers.
Trumpeter Swan * One fall record flying in flock of Tundra Swans. Four were seen above and below the dam in the winter of 1998-99. The origin of these birds is uncertain.
Wood Duck Uncommon. Nests.
Gadwall Uncommon migrant, slightly less common in winter.
American Wigeon Uncommon migrant, slightly less common in winter.
American Black Duck Uncommon year-round. Nests.
Mallard Common year-round. Nests.
Blue-winged Teal Uncommon migrant.
Northern Shoveler Rare to uncommon fall through spring.
Northern Pintail Uncommon fall through spring.
Green-winged Teal Uncommon fall through spring.
Canvasback Uncommon to rare fall through spring.
Redhead Rare fall through spring.
Ring-necked Duck Uncommon to rare fall through spring.
Greater Scaup Rare fall through spring.
Lesser Scaup Uncommon to occasionally common fall through spring.
Harlequin Duck * Two records, on late fall and winter, one spring.
Surf Scoter * Rare fall migrant.
White-winged Scoter * Rare fall migrant.
Black Scoter * Rare fall migrant.
Oldsquaw Uncommon fall through spring.
Bufflehead Fairly common fall through spring.
Common Goldeneye Fairly common fall through spring.
Hooded Merganser Uncommon to fairly common fall through spring.
Common Merganser Common to abundant late fall through spring.
Red-breasted Merganser Rare to uncommon fall through spring.
Ruddy Duck Uncommon fall through spring.
Osprey Common migrant, uncommon summer, accidental winter. Nests.
Mississippi Kite * One summer report.
Bald Eagle * Fairly common year-round. Nests.
Northern Harrier Uncommon fall through spring.
Sharp-shinned Hawk Uncommon fall through spring.
Cooper's Hawk Uncommon fall through spring, rare summer. May nest.
Northern Goshawk * One fall record.
Red-shouldered Hawk Uncommon fall through spring, rare summer. May nest.
Broad-winged Hawk Uncommon to common migrant, uncommon summer. Nests.
Red-tailed Hawk Fairly common year-round. Nests.
Golden Eagle * Rare fall and winter.
American Kestrel Fairly common fall through spring, rare summer, nests.
Merlin * Rare fall migrant.
Peregrine Falcon * Rare fall through spring, has increased in recent years.
Wild Turkey Uncommon resident. Nests.
Northern Bobwhite Rare resident. May be extirpated.
Ring-necked Pheasant * Two records, late fall and winter.
American Coot Uncommon fall through spring.
Black-bellied Plover Rare fall migrant.
American Golden-Plover * Accidental fall migrant.
Semipalmated Plover Rare fall migrant.
Killdeer Uncommon year-round. Nests.
Greater Yellowlegs Uncommon fall, rare spring migrant.
Lesser Yellowlegs Uncommon fall, rare spring migrant.
Solitary Sandpiper Uncommon fall, rare spring migrant.
Spotted Sandpiper Uncommon to fairly common migrant, rare in summer, may nest.
Ruddy Turnstone Rare fall migrant.
Sanderling Rare fall migrant.
Semipalmated Sandpiper Uncommon fall, rare spring migrant.
Western Sandpiper Rare fall migrant.
Least Sandpiper Uncommon fall, rare spring migrant.
White-rumped Sandpiper * Accidental in fall.
Pectoral Sandpiper Rare spring and fall migrant.
Dunlin Rare fall migrant, one winter record.
Stilt Sandpiper * Accidental fall migrant.
Short-billed Dowitcher * Very rare fall migrant.
Common Snipe * Two fall records.
Wilsonís Phalarope * One November record.
Parasitic Jaeger * One late fall record above dam.
Laughing Gull Uncommon spring through fall, very rare winter.
Franklin's Gull * Two fall records.
Little Gull * One early winter record.
Black-headed Gull * Rare fall through spring, nearly annual.
Bonaparte's Gull Uncommon to very common spring and fall, uncommon to rare winter.
Ring-billed Gull Abundant fall through spring, uncommon summer
Common/Mew Gull * Several winter reports. Controversy over identification makes status uncertain.
California Gull * Accidental in winter. Three records totaling four birds.
Herring Gull Very common to abundant late fall through spring, uncommon rest of year.
Slaty-backed Gull * One bird thought to be this species was present for two weeks in the winter of 1998-99. It was seen by hundreds of observers and photographed but the criteria for identification and the problem of hybrids are still not fully resolved.
Thayer's Gull * Very rare in winter.
Iceland Gull * Rare in winter. Annual.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Rare fall through spring, seen every year, often daily.
Glaucous Gull * Rare in winter, almost annual.
Great Black-backed Gull Common fall through spring, uncommon summer.
Black-legged Kittiwake * Accidental fall and winter.
Caspian Tern Fairly common spring and fall.
Royal Tern * One fall and one spring record.
Common Tern Rare to uncommon migrant.
Forster's Tern Fairly common to abundant migrant, accidental in winter.
Least Tern * Two fall records.
Black Tern * Rare fall migrant.
Rock Dove Abundant resident. Nests.
Mourning Dove Common resident. Nests.
Black-billed Cuckoo Rare spring through fall. May nest some years.
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Uncommon to fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Eastern Screech-Owl Uncommon resident. Nests.
Great Horned Owl Uncommon resident. Nests.
Barred Owl Uncommon resident. Nests.
Saw-whet Owl * One winter record.
Common Nighthawk Uncommon migrant.
Chimney Swift Common migrant, uncommon summer. Nests.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Belted Kingfisher Uncommon year-round, rare nester.
Red-bellied Woodpecker Fairly common resident. Nests.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Uncommon fall through spring.
Downy Woodpecker Fairly common resident. Nests.
Hairy Woodpecker Uncommon resident. Nests.
Northern Flicker Fairly common year-round. Nests.
Pileated Woodpecker Uncommon resident. Nests.
Olive-sided Flycatcher Accidental fall migrant.
Eastern Wood-Pewee Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Rare fall migrant.
Acadian Flycatcher Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Willow Flycatcher Migrant status uncertain, rare nester.
Least Flycatcher Rare migrant.
Eastern Phoebe Fairly common migrant, rare to uncommon winter, uncommon nester.
Great Crested Flycatcher Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Eastern Kingbird Fairly common to common spring through fall. Nests.
White-eyed Vireo Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Yellow-throated Vireo Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Blue-headed Vireo Uncommon migrant.
Warbling Vireo Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Philadelphia Vireo * Accidental fall migrant.
Red-eyed Vireo Common spring through fall. Nests.
Blue Jay Common to abundant year-round. nests.
American Crow Common to abundant year-round. nests.
Fish Crow Fairly common to common year-round. nests.
Common Raven * One fall record.
Purple Martin Fairly common migrant, rare in summer.
Tree Swallow Common to abundant migrant, rare in summer. May nest.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Bank Swallow Uncommon to very common migrant.
Cliff Swallow Rare migrant.
Barn Swallow Common to uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Carolina Chickadee Common resident. Nests.
Black-capped Chickadee * Rare irruptive.
Tufted Titmouse Common resident. nests.
Red-breasted Nuthatch Uncommon fall through spring.
White-breasted Nuthatch Uncommon to fairly common year-round. Nests.
Brown Creeper Uncommon fall through spring, rare summer. May nest.
Carolina Wren Variably common year-round. Nests.
House Wren Uncommon to fairly common spring through fall, accidental winter. Nests.
Winter Wren Uncommon fall through spring.
Golden-crowned Kinglet Variably common fall through spring.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Uncommon fall through spring.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Fairly common spring through fall. Two winter records. Nests.
Eastern Bluebird Uncommon resident. Nests.
Veery Uncommon to fairly common migrant. May nest.
Gray-cheeked/Bicknellís Thrush Very rare migrant. The near impossibility of separating them in the field makes determination of the relative occurrence of the two species impossible. Both have been reported.
Swainson's Thrush Uncommon migrant.
Hermit Thrush Uncommon migrant, less common in winter.
Wood Thrush Fairly common to common spring through fall. Nests.
American Robin Common to abundant spring through fall, variably common winter. Nests.
Gray Catbird Fairly common spring through fall, rare winter. Nests.
Northern Mockingbird Fairly common resident. Nests.
Brown Thrasher Uncommon to rare spring through fall. nests.
European Starling Abundant resident. Nests.
American Pipit Rare migrant, almost all records flyovers.
Cedar Waxwing Fairly common year-round. Nests.
Blue-winged Warbler Rare spring through fall. May nest.
Tennessee Warbler Rare spring and fall migrant.
Nashville Warbler Rare spring and fall migrant.
Northern Parula Fairly common spring through fall. One winter record. Nests.
Yellow Warbler Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Chestnut-sided Warbler Fairly common migrant.
Magnolia Warbler Fairly common migrant.
Cape May Warbler Uncommon migrant.
Black-throated Blue Warbler Uncommon migrant.
Yellow-rumped Warbler Common migrant, rare to uncommon in winter.
Black-throated Green Warbler Fairly common migrant.
Blackburnian Warbler Uncommon migrant.
Yellow-throated Warbler Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Pine Warbler Very rare migrant.
Prairie Warbler Rare to uncommon spring through fall. May nest.
Palm Warbler Uncommon spring and fall, accidental winter.
Bay-breasted Warbler Rare to uncommon migrant.
Blackpoll Warbler Fairly common to common migrant.
Cerulean Warbler Rare spring through fall. May nest.
Black-and-white Warbler Uncommon to fairly common migrant, uncommon in summer. Nests.
American Redstart Fairly common migrant, rare in summer. May nest.
Prothonotary Warbler Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Worm-eating Warbler Rare to uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Ovenbird Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Northern Waterthrush Uncommon migrant.
Louisiana Waterthrush Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Kentucky Warbler Rare spring through fall. May nest.
Mourning Warbler * One spring record.
Common Yellowthroat Fairly common spring through fall. Very rare winter. Nests.
Hooded Warbler Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Wilson's Warbler Rare migrant, one winter record.
Canada Warbler Uncommon migrant.
Yellow-breasted Chat Rare spring through fall. Nests.
Scarlet Tanager Uncommon spring through fall. Nests.
Western Tanager * One winter report.
Eastern Towhee Fairly common to common spring through fall, uncommon winter. Nests.
American Tree Sparrow Rare in winter.
Chipping Sparrow Common to abundant spring through fall, accidental winter. Nests.
Field Sparrow Uncommon resident. Nests.
Savannah Sparrow Uncommon migrant, rare in winter.
Fox Sparrow Uncommon to rare fall through spring.
Song Sparrow Common resident. Nests.
Lincoln's Sparrow * Two fall records.
Swamp Sparrow Uncommon fall through spring.
White-throated Sparrow Common fall through spring.
White-crowned Sparrow Rare fall through spring.
Dark-eyed Junco Common fall through spring.
Northern Cardinal Common resident. Nests.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Uncommon migrant.
Blue Grosbeak Uncommon to rare spring through fall. May nest.
Indigo Bunting Uncommon to common spring through fall. One winter record. Nests.
Bobolink Uncommon migrant. All records are flyovers.
Red-winged Blackbird Abundant year-round. Nests.
Eastern Meadowlark Rare year-round. May nest.
Rusty Blackbird Rare migrant, very rare in winter.
Common Grackle Abundant year-round. Nests.
Brown-headed Cowbird Common to fairly common year-round. Nests.
Orchard Oriole Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Baltimore Oriole Fairly common spring through fall. Nests.
Purple Finch Rare to uncommon fall through spring.
House Finch Uncommon resident. Nests.
Pine Siskin Rare to uncommon winter irruptive.
American Goldfinch Common year-round. Nests.
Evening Grosbeak Rare to uncommon winter irruptive.
House Sparrow Uncommon resident. Nests.
   
EXOTICS  
Pink-backed Pelican One summer record. Escape from Baltimore Zoo.

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