Stoney Creek (Wintergreen) and Stuart's Draft, VA 3/1-2/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


The first day of March started out with a lot of sunshine and warm temperatures - close to 70 degrees. I hiked first in Stoney Creek, and logged 25 species here. When I entered the Allen Creek Nature Preserve, I heard two birds hidden in the dense ground brush calling to each other - sounded like a low pitch barking or grunting. One was very loud, and the response was muted. As I got closer to see what they were, the calls stopped and I could not locate either bird. My best guess is that they were Ruffed Grouses sounding their alarm calls. I have heard them once before last fall in the same location, but didn't see them. I returned to the preserve after lunch with my Ipod Touch to try to record their call, but all I heard were a couple of muted calls that did not record well.


White-throated Sparrow having a bad hair day

As I approached Sawmill Creek pond #5 (the one behind my house) from the opposite side of the pond, I saw an Adult Red-shouldered Hawk, and in the pond there were a couple of Canada Geese and a pair of Wood Ducks.


Adult Red-shouldered Hawk


Male and female Wood Ducks

I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk in the trees in my yard, and it flew up to a nest near the pond, but in the lot next to my house. It was a juvenile hawk. I have suspected that these hawks have a nest nearby, as they are regular and yearly visitors to my wooded areas and nearby locations. (For Dave P. in Missouri - you are the nest expert - does this look like a hawk's nest or was it raiding a nest?)


Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

The juvenile hawk saw me taking pictures, flew from the nest, circled high above and squawking the entire time, and then settled in a different tree.


Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk


Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk


Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

I continued on my hike. There was a squirrel raiding the bird feeder in my neighbor Frits's yard, and Eastern Painted Turtles in the pond behind my house is a sure sign of spring.


Starling


American Robin


The squirrel thief caught in the act


Eastern Painted Turtles

I headed over to the Shenandoah Valley to pick up my car around 2 p.m. The dents from my deer encounter had been repaired - a $250 deductable provided a nice car wash and wax (sigh . . .) Prior to picking up my car, I stopped at a few location in Stuart's Draft, VA. There were strong winds marking the approaching front that had brought violent storms to the mid-western states. I didn't see much along Hall School Road, but on Guthrie Road I did see a small flock of Eastern Meadowlarks with brilliant new breeding plumage, and a small flock of Horned Larks.


Eastern Meadowlark


Eastern Meadowlark


Horned Larks


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark

As I entered Stoney Creek on my way home, an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk flew in front of my car and into the woods.

On the morning of March 2, I headed back over to the Allen Creek Nature Preserve to see if the Grouses(?) were still there, but noise from chain saws clearing debris from last week's storm scared most of the brids away from the preserve. On the way there, I did see a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Pine Warbler eating flower seeds from the same tree. In addition to seeing 16 of the 25 species I had seen the day before in Stoney Creek, I saw 7 species this morning that I had not seen the day before.


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Pine Warbler


Pine Warbler

As I walked along Sawmill Creek pond #6, a Sharp-shinned Hawk circled above the field - not far from where I had seen an adult the afternoon before. But this one appeared to be a young adult - although it had red eyes (adult feature), its back and wings were still juvenile brown and not gray like the adult I had seen, and it's breast still contained a lot of juvenile vertical streaks along with its adult horizontal barring.


Sharp-shinned Hawk


Sharp-shinned Hawk


Sharp-shinned Hawk

I approached the pond behind my house, and a Great Blue Heron took to flight.


Great Blue Heron

I thought that I was going to see a Red-shouldered Hawk again this morning, but what I heard was a Blue Jay doing a perfect imitation.

Two day list (a: Stoney Creek 3/1; b: Stuart's Draft; c: Stoney Creek 3/2):

Eastern Bluebird a,c
Yellow-rumper Warbler c
Pine Warbler c
Blue Jay a,c
Northern Cardinal a,c
Starling a
White-throated Sparrow a
Song Sparrow a,c
Dark-eyed Junco a,c
American Goldfinch c
House Finch a
Wood Duck a
Great Blue Heron c
American Crow a,c
Red-winged Blackbird c
Red-shouldered Hawk a
Red-tailed Hawk a
Sharp-shinned Hawk a,c
Eastern Towhee a
Ruffed Grouse? a
Downy Woodpecker c
Red-bellied Woodpecker a,c
Pileated Woodpecker a,c
American Robin a,c
Tufted Titmouse a,c
Carolina Chickadee a
Northen Mockingbird c
Carolina Wren a,c
Eastern Phoebe a,c
Turkey Vulture a,c
Mourning Dove a,c
Canada Goose a,c
Eastern Meadowlark b
Horned Lark b


E-mail comments on this report


Return to blog page home