December 31, 2016
I visited the City of Hopewell, Turkey Island Road in Henrico County and some of western Charles City County on the last day of the year. Three (3) Orange-crowned Warblers, three (3) Palm Warblers and 4-5 Ross’s Geese were the highlights of the day. The Snow Goose flock from Curles Neck had apparently been disrupted by hunting driving their presence to Turkey Island Road. A minimum of 4 Ross’s Geese were observed with one possible hybrid Ross/Lesser Snow Goose present(?).
December 30, 2016
I was traveling back from a work site in eastern Virginia on Highway 360 west bound toward Tappahannock when I spotted a large Canada Goose flock in the field immediately east of the Rappahannock River. When I scanned through this flock I noted a small white goose. Upon closer observation, scope distance, it was confirmed as a Ross’s Goose.
December 26, 2016
I visited Louisa County, the Green Springs area, this morning arriving at 5:45 a.m. to try for some owls. I struck out on all species until 6:45 a.m. and then heard the distinctive call of Short-eared Owls on East Jack Jouett Road. Over the next 5-10 minutes in the general area of the barn I had four (4) of these owls flying about. Then about 6:55 a.m. I heard Sandhill Cranes calling overhead. I couldn’t locate them in the overcast conditions but later in the morning located them (2) about 1/4 mile further down the road feeding in the fields. Many Red-tailed Hawks are present in the area with one of them being an abeiticola. After visiting Hawkwood Lake several times the swans finally appeared in view. In the count of 17 total swan, I located the Trumpeter Swan found earlier by Andrew Rapp.
December 18, 2016 (Hopewell CBC)
Today I participated in the Hopewell CBC providing coverage with Chris and Betsy Foster of the Shirley Plantation sector. It was would have been easy to imagine this being a Spring Bird Count today with the temperatures ranging from 58 at dawn to 74 degrees near midday. These temperatures were even more surprising given the drastically colder temperatures seen by the region earlier this week, i.e. ~14 F. degrees. Surprising were the Spring Peepers and Upland Chorus Frogs calling, the Question Mark seen and then seeing both slugs and land snails “milling” about.
Bird highlights observed in our sector were Orange-crowned Warblers (5), Common Yellowthroat (2), Least Sandpiper (11), Merlin (1), Purple Finch (1), Cackling Goose (1) and House Wren (5). Also heard and recorded in another sector was King Rail (2).
December 11, 2016
I visited Prince George County, the City of Hopewell and Dutch Gap this morning. Prince George was uneventful for the most part except for the expected three (3) owl species, a couple of Woodcock and a single Purple Finch. I ran into Adam D’Onofrio and Paul Glass in Hopewell who had visited the City Park there earlier in the morning and observed one of the two Nashville Warblers first found by Arun Bose and the RAS group on Saturday. I took my turn looking for the Nashville Warblers and after about 20 minutes finally heard a chip note that drew me to one of the birds.
After leaving Hopwell, I went by Dutch Gap and enjoyed a good variety of dabbling ducks including A. Widgeon, Gadwall, N. Shoveler, N. Pintail, Mallard and Wood Duck. I also had a male Common Yellowthroat calling from the marsh.
For the day I observed 4 warbler species (Pine, Yellow-rumped, Nashville, Orange-crowned).
December 10, 2016
The front that went through our area late in the week left us with cold temperatures to great the morning. With the temperature hovering around 25 in Hopewell bird activity appeared to be hit and miss dependent upon the stop chosen. Highlights were the 5 Orange-crowned Warblers, 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and running into the RAS group in Hopewell.
December 4, 2016
I started with car challenges this morning on my way to Hopewell so those plans got interrupted. After addressing my vehicle issues I went to Powhatan State Park for a leisurely birding effort. Highlights included a Red-tailed Hawk (albietcola)- 1; House Wren- 2; Rusty Blackbird- 14 and Purple Finch 1.
December 3, 2016
I visited Highland County, Virginia early today. The skies were overcast and temperatures were hovering around freezing as I got into Monterey. As I traveled further west and approached Bear Mountain the overcast conditions transitioned into a foggy/cloudy condition with temperatures dropping to 25 degrees. Freezing fog was accumulating on almost all surfaces presenting a beautiful presentation.
Highlights from a birding perspective were Eight (8) Bald Eagles and two (2) Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagles were on both sides of Snowy Mountain and challenging to observe due to the freezing fog conditions present there also.
On my return from Highland County, I stopped at the Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch and got to enjoy a few raptors and vultures with Gabriel Mapel, William Leigh and Jennifer (?).