November 30, 2017
This morning was both enjoyable and surprising. In the City of Hopewell, I observed four (4) warbler species. The list included a male Wilson’s, an immature male C. Yellowthroat, three (3) Orange-crowned and many Yellow-rumped. I also had two (2) C. Raven’s in the eastern part of town which flew in from Prince George County. At Colonial Heights I was surprised to locate both a Brant and a Cattle Egret in front of the Holiday Inn and American Family Fitness respectively.
The gull flock on the James River is “large” with a count of 30,000+ birds.
Some photographs follow:
November 26, 2017
I enjoyed the day with several opportunities to closely photograph some raptors. A very obliging adult Sharp-shinned Hawk at the Shawnee Springs Preserve presented itself twice for many photographs. I suspect the bird is “ill” as I have never seen an accipiter behave in this manner. Also observed at the Shawnee Springs Preserve was a continuing Nashville Warbler which James Fox reported a week or so ago.
November 25, 2017
Today was enjoyable with a variety of raptors, water birds and a shrike. I had a Loggerhead Shrike at Blandy Farms this afternoon. In the morning at this location I had a large accipiter in the early light and it appeared to be an adult Northern Goshawk but was only observed briefly and in questionable light (as the unfortunately poor pictures of it going away will demonstrate). During the day I also had both Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks for a possible 3 accipiter day. A little after mid-day I visited Lake Frederick and noted a Red-throated Loon (which I learned that David Boltz had observed earlier). In Jefferson County, WV I had a variety of raptors highlighted by two (2) Peregrines perched distantly up a tree in a field.
November 19, 2017
I toured through several areas today in Clarke and Frederick Counties in Virginia and I spent a little time in Jefferson County, WV. Boy, what a day can make. A strong cold front went through overnight and winds were brisk through mid-day at 20-30+ mph. Skies were highly variable going from partly cloudy to overcast back to partly cloudy. The most interesting observations were an adult Golden Eagle in Frederick County, migrating Common Loons over the hawk watch at Snicker’s Gap and well posing Merlin and Brown Creeper.
November 18, 2017
I drove around quite a bit from morning to mid-afternoon. I covered areas in Fauquier, Clarke and Frederick Counties in Virginia and Jefferson County in West Virginia. The highlights for the day proved to be three (3) Lapland Longspurs in Jefferson County, WV, two (2) Red-tailed Hawks (abeiticola) and a Peregrine in Clarke County. The day proved to be overcast with temperatures ranging from 37 to 47 degrees.
November 12, 2017
This morning I visited both the Great Shiplock Park and Belle Isle in Richmond. I was hoping for a lingering warbler but I struck out except for Yellow-rumped Warblers. Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets were common and alway enjoyable “for me” were the numerous Winter Wrens with at least 3 in song.
I traveled back to Winchester up through the center of the state. I observed three (3) different Red-tailed Hawks (abeiticola) in Goochland, Culpepper and Fauquier Counties. Once in Winchester, I visited a local area and stumbled onto a late Orange-crowned Warbler in Frederick County.
November 11, 2017
I visited both the City of Hopewell and Charles City County this morning. Birds were active in the slightly windy and cold temperatures of early morning at Hopewell. Both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets were in good numbers. Orange-crowned Warblers were about average for this portion of the season with four (4) being observed.
In Charles City County, Palm Warblers (11) and a Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) were the highlight.
Some photographs are as follows:
November 5, 2017
I visited several locations in Frederick County during the afternoon. Highlights were a Orange-crowned Warbler at Abram’s Creek Wetlands and Common Loons (3) at Lake Frederick. Some photographs of an apparent adult female Sharp-shinned Hawk (backlit) can be found as follows:
November 4, 2017
I visited Sully Woodlands Park in Fairfax county with the hope of photographing the returning/continuing Northern Shrike. The bird appeared at ~8:00 a.m. in one of the highest perches in the area. Conditions for photography were marginal at best with mostly overcast skies. Some photographs follow:
Photographs of a immature female Cooper’s Hawk follow:
October 21, 2017
I visited several areas today from Blandy Farm early to a couple of areas in Clarke County then traveled into Jefferson County, WV and then finally I walked a “regular” area in Frederick County. The weather was mild ranging from 43 to 75 degrees under sunny skies. The highlight of the day was an unexpected immature Dickcissel in the woods(?), continuing Lincoln’s Sparrow (4) at Blandy Farm and Rough-winged Swallows (3) in Jefferson County, WV. Blue-headed Vireos were seen at several times during the day with a total of 5 seen for the day.
October 20, 2017
I got out late this afternoon and enjoyed about 1 hour of birding in Frederick County, Va. Best bird of the day was a Orange-crowned Warbler. I also had at least one continuing Lincoln’s Sparrow here in western part of the county.
October 14, 2017
I visited Clarke, Fauquier and later in the day Frederick Counties in Virginia. The day started overcast with light fog and the temperature around 58 in Clarke County. I was joined by Chris Ray at Sky Meadows and we enjoyed a variety of sparrows. Late in the day, the sun was shining with no clouds and the temperature around 72 degrees.
Bird species that appeared to be “moving” were Lincoln’s Sparrow (18+), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (40+), Palm Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo. A possible latish Ovenbird was observed in Frederick County.
Butterflies included many Monarchs, Common Buckeyes and Cabbage White. Odes included several Common Green Darners and a couple of Autumn Meadowhawks.
October 7, 2017
I enjoyed a visit to old haunts in Prince George (PG), Charles City (CC) and eastern Henrico (H) Counties this morning. The warbler of the day demonstrating substantial migration was Northern Parula and was followed by Indigo Bunting and Blue Grosbeak. Nice surprises were a Clay-colored Sparrow (CC), Yellow Warbler (CC) and latish Barn Swallows (PG). Some photographs follow for several of the species:
October 2, 2017
I got out late this evening and while the overall activity was slow at that time and possibly for the day I did encounter a Nashville Warbler and obtained one (1) poor photograph.
September 30/October 1, 2017
Migration was lighter than desired on both days this weekend (Friday and Saturday nights). The biggest movers in the Frederick, Clarke and Fauquier Counties area appeared to be Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jays, Thrushes and to a lesser degree Indigo Buntings. Warblers, at least overall, were not present from both a species perspective and/or in any apparent unique quantities for any species.
That being said some good opportunities presented themselves for viewing Thrushes (Swainson’s, Gray Cheeked and Wood) especially in wooded areas of Fauquier County on Sunday morning. Also present on Sunday was a Lincoln’s Sparrow at Sky Meadows State Park.
September 24, 2017
Wonderful Morning! I was not expecting much migratory movement due to the light SW winds overnight, but I encountered a solid numbers of both Vireos and Warblers. Two (2) Philadelphia Vireos were observed and Nineteen (19+) Blue-headed Vireos which seemed to be everywhere I turned. Bay-breasted Warblers (17), Tennessee Warblers (20), Black-throated Green (12) and one (1) Nashville Warbler were the highlights in a 14 warbler species day.
Week of September 16-22, 2017
I have been enjoying a vacation with family at Atlantic Beach, N.C. On Sunday, I observed 4 different Parasitic Jaegers along the beachfront with the approach Hurricane Jose off shore. Since then I had the opportunity to follow-up (9-19) on observations by Clyde Atkins of both a Ruff and Buff-breasted Sandpiper north of Beaufort, N.C.
I visited the Croatan National Forest on Sunday and observed several Fine-lined Emeralds.
During walks, with the family and by myself over the last couple of days, I have noted eight (8) dead Clapper Rails along and in the road dead. The common factor in all cases appears to be they encountered the power lines while migrating and/or moving around during the night time hours.
On Friday, we visited Cape Lookout and enjoyed a walk to the “point”. Willets, Sanderling, Black-bellied Plover and Red Knot were the more commonly encountered shorebirds. A couple of immature Least Terns were also observed. On the way to Cape Lookout we stopped by the “Ruff spot” and again noted it and the continuing Buff-breasted Sandpiper.
September 10, 2017
Today was an enjoyable day with some minor migration going on early in Charles City County. Eleven (11) warbler species plus a single Chat and a latish Warbling Vireo made the biggest splashes.
Later in the day I took a short walk and had my first of season Black-capped Chickadee in Frederick County, Va. Also of note were two calling Great Horned Owls.
September 3, 2017
What a difference a day can make. I again visited Culpepper County this morning and found the migrant shorebird species to be enjoyable. I was surprised to see two species on the pond that were not present yesterday or obvious in the gray and drizzly conditions. A Red-necked Phalarope and two Stilt Sandpipers were at the far end but enjoyable through the scope. I then visited the field where the American Golden Plovers had been observed and while they were present in reduced or observed numbers (8), they were joined by a Sanderling and a Baird’s Sandpiper. Noted in the shorebird mix today were Least (6) and Pectoral Sandpipers (4), Semipalmated Plovers (7) and a few Lesser Yellowlegs (4).
After visiting Culpepper County for several hours I headed up to Clarke County. Since it was late much of the activity had abated(?). I did have success with flycatchers with several Least and Eastern Pewees being observed but I most pleased to observed two different Olive-sided Flycatchers feeding from their proverbial high perches.
I also got to enjoy a good comparison in size between an immature Bald Eagle and a Common Raven.
September 2, 2017
The remnants of Hurricane Harvey have been demonstrating themselves for the last 24 hours with overcast skies and light rain to drizzle here in northern Virginia. I decided to visit Culpepper County this morning to see whether any shorebirds had been grounded by the weather. The trip was fruitful in that American Golden Plovers (13) and a good variety of expected shorebirds were present.