Fall 2017 (September through November)

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.

Golden Eagle in Frederick County, Va.

Golden Eagle in Frederick County, Va.

Golden Eagle in Frederick County, Va.

Golden Eagle in Frederick County, Va.

Merlin in Jefferson County, WV

Merlin in Jefferson County, WV

Merlin in Jefferson County, WV

Merlin in Jefferson County, WV

Brown Creeper in Jefferson County, WV

Brown Creeper in Jefferson County, WV

Common Loon at Snicker's Gap Hawkwatch, Va.

Common Loon at Snicker’s Gap Hawkwatch, Va.

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.

Lapland Longspur in Jefferson County, WV

Lapland Longspur in Jefferson County, WV

Lapland Longspur in Jefferson County, WV

Lapland Longspur in Jefferson County, WV

Lapland Longspur in Jefferson County, WV

Lapland Longspur in Jefferson County, WV

Peregrine in Clarke County, Va.

Peregrine in Clarke County, Va.

 

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.

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Goochland County, Va

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Goochland County, Va.

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Goochland County, Va

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Goochland County, Va

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Culpepper County, Va

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Culpepper County, Va

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Culpepper County, Va

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Culpepper County, Va

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Fauquier County, Va.

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Fauquier County, Va.

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Fauquier County, Va.

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Fauquier County, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

Winter Wren in City of Richmond, Va.

Winter Wren in City of Richmond, Va.

 

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:

Orange-crowned Warbler in Hopewell, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Hopewell, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Hopewell, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Hopewell, Va.

Red-tailed Hawk (albeiticola) in Charles City County, Va.

Red-tailed Hawk (abeiticola) in Charles City County, Va.

Palm Warbler in Charles City County, Va.

Palm Warbler in Charles City County, Va.

Chipping Sparrow in Charles City County, Va.

Chipping Sparrow in Charles City County, Va.

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:

Sharp-shinned Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Sharp-shinned Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Sharp-shinned Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Sharp-shinned Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

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:

Northern Shrike at Sully Woodlands Park, Fairfax County, Va

Northern Shrike at Sully Woodlands Park, Fairfax County, Va

Northern Shrike at Sully Woodlands Park, Fairfax County, Va

Northern Shrike at Sully Woodlands Park, Fairfax County, Va

Photographs of a immature female Cooper’s Hawk follow:

Immature Cooper's Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Cooper’s Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Cooper's Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Cooper’s Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Cooper's Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Cooper’s Hawk in Frederick County, Va.

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.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Immature Dickcissel in Frederick County, Va.

Lincoln's Sparrow at Blandy Farm, Clarke County, Va.

Lincoln’s Sparrow at Blandy Farm, Clarke County, Va.

N. Rough-winged Swallow in Jefferson County, WV

N. Rough-winged Swallow in Jefferson County, WV

Blue-headed Vireo in Clarke County, Va.

Blue-headed Vireo in Clarke County, Va.

Golden-crowned Kinglet in Clarke County, Va.

Golden-crowned Kinglet in Clarke County, Va.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Frederick County, Va.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Frederick County, Va.

 

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.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

Orange-crowned Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

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.

Lincoln's Sparrow in Clarke County, Va.

Lincoln’s Sparrow in Clarke County, Va.

Lincoln's Sparrow in Fauquier County, Va.

Lincoln’s Sparrow in Fauquier County, Va. (Sky Meadows)

Lincoln's Sparrow in Fauquier County, Va.

Lincoln’s Sparrow in Fauquier County, Va. (Sky Meadows)

Lincoln's Sparrow in Fauquier County, Va.

Lincoln’s Sparrow in Fauquier County, Va. (Sky Meadows)

Ovenbird in Frederick County, Va.

Ovenbird in Frederick County, Va.

Blue-headed Vireo in Frederick County, Va.

Blue-headed Vireo in Frederick County, Va.

Palm Warbler in Fauquier County, Va.

Palm Warbler in Fauquier County, Va.

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:

claycoloredsparrow171007a

Clay-colored Sparrow in Charles City County, Va.

Clay-colored Sparrow in Charles City County, Va.

Yellow Warbler in Charles City County, Va.

Yellow Warbler in Charles City County, Va.

Yellow Warbler in Charles City County, Va.

Yellow Warbler in Charles City County, Va.

Barn Swallow in Prince George County, Va.

Barn Swallow in Prince George County, Va.

Blue Grosbeaks & Indigo Buntings in eastern Henrico County, Va.

Blue Grosbeaks & Indigo Buntings in eastern Henrico County, Va.

Northern Parula in Charles City County, Va.

Northern Parula in Charles City County, Va.

 

 

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.

Nashville Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

Nashville Warbler in Frederick County, Va.

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.

Lincoln's Sparrow from Fauquier County, Va.

Lincoln’s Sparrow from Fauquier County, Va.

Gray-cheeked Thrush in Fauquier County, Va.

Gray-cheeked Thrush in Fauquier County, Va.

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).

Baird's Sandpiper in Culpepper County, Va

Baird’s Sandpiper in Culpepper County, Va

Baird's Sandpiper and Sanderling in Culpepper County, Va

Baird’s Sandpiper and Sanderling in Culpepper County, Va

Sanderling in Culpepper County, Va

Sanderling in Culpepper County, Va

Rednecked Phalarope and Stilt Sandpiper in Culpepper County, Va.

Rednecked Phalarope and Stilt Sandpiper in Culpepper County, Va.

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.

Olived-sided Flycatcher in Clarke County, Va.

Olived-sided Flycatcher in Clarke County, Va.

Olived-sided Flycatcher in Clarke County, Va.

Olived-sided Flycatcher in Clarke County, Va.

I also got to enjoy a good comparison in size between an immature Bald Eagle and a Common Raven.

Bald Eagle with Common Raven in Clarke County, Va.

Bald Eagle with Common Raven in Clarke County, Va.

 

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.

American Golden Plover from Culpepper County, Va.

American Golden Plover from Culpepper County, Va.