Saturday, December 02, 2006

Rock Wren

On this day in 1992, David Sibley found a Rock Wren at Cape May Point. One of the rarer Western strays to the Northeast, this bird settled in for a long stay and was seen by many. It was last seen 28 March 1993, after a spring blizzard.

There are few other Northeastern records of Rock Wren, but they show a strong seasonal pattern. Both of Massachusetts' Rock Wrens were coastal long-stayers; the first was found at Andrews Point in Rockport on 19 December 1965 and stayed until 25 January 1966. The second one appeared at South Orleans on 2 November 1991 and it remained until the middle of February 1992 (Veit and Petersen 1993). New York has a record from Fredonia in inland Chautauqua County on 29 November 1986. This bird only stayed until 3 December (Levine 1998). Maryland also has a mid-October record from coastal Worcester County (Iliff et al. 1996).

In other words, Rock Wrens are not as common as, say, the 10 Cave Swallows that were reported from Cape May today in the wake of our latest front, but they otherwise fit the overall pattern of late fall vagrants from the West.

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