James River Wildlife Management Area 11/19/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


I have been wanting to go birding at the James River Wildlife Management Area for almost a year, but although it is only 32 miles from my house, this morning was the first time that I have gone there. Unlike WMAs in some other states where I have been birding, the primary focus of WMAs in Virginia is for hunting and fishing, and not as a wildlife preserve. As soon as I entered the JRWMA, I met three hunters, so I put on my blaze-orange vest as soon as I got out of my car at the public boat landing. I had hoped to see some waterfowl in the James River, or perhaps some Bald Eagles along the river, but even though the river was fairly calm, there was no avian activity on or adjacent to the river.

However, the area between the boat landing and the railroad tracks is supposed to be a no-firearms area, and there are some nice marshy wetlands with walking paths around them. It must have been the wrong time of year to see much in the marsh, as I only got a quick glance of a couple of birds in the marsh, but I did manage to see 12 species of birds nearby, and some Bluebirds and Dark-eyed Juncos just outside of the WMA. In the WMA I saw (or heard) the following: Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Crow, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Turkey Vulture, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk, and an American Robin. There were large flocks of Cedar Waxwings and a small flock of Common Grackles. One of the Cedar Waxwings had an orange-tipped tail, with new yellow-tipped tail feathers growing in.


Golden-crowned Kinglet


Brown Creeper


Large flock of Cedar Waxwings


Cedar Waxwing with orange- and yellow-tipped tail feathers


Common Grackles


Huge flock - Cedar Waxwings?


Red-tailed Hawk


White-throated Sparrow

This afternoon I went for a hike here in Stoney Creek. The Cedar Waxwings were getting their fill of berries, and for the second time in one day, I saw another Cedar Waxwing that had an orange-tipped tail, with new yellow-tipped tail feathers growing in. I also saw a White-crowned Sparrow - my first one here in Stoney Creek. I ended the hike watching a female Red-bellied Woodpecker enlarging a tree cavity to make her winter home.


Cedar Waxwing


Cedar Waxwing


Cedar Waxwing with orange- and yellow-tipped tail feathers


White-crowned Sparrow


Female Red-bellied Woodpecker



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