North winds brought colder temperatures back to central Virgina, and slowed the northward progess of migratory bird species. A return to southerly winds and warmer temperatures starting this coming weekend should bring some new birds to the area. I visited a few sites within 45 minutes of my house, and saw more than 40 avian species during the past week.
Stoney Creek (Wintergreen) 4/5-10/12Short hikes near my home produced a good number of commonly seen species. The Red-shouldered Hawk is still in her nest in my back yard, and the Eastern Screech Owl in my neighbor Frits's yard continues to poke its head out of the Wood Duck box.
Northern Cardinal and Yellow-rumped Warbler
Female Belted Kingfisher
I had a late morning appointment in Charlottesville, and decided to check out Ivy Creek. I was there from 12:30 to 2:30, and the highlight of my hike was finding my way back to the parking lot after hiking for two hours without a trail map.
Eastern Painted Turtles
I had planned to go to the Western Ridge Lake to look for migrating rails and bitterns in the large marshy areas there, but changed my mind because the forecasted sunny skies were actually very cloudy. As I drove from my house, I saw that the sky was clearing in the direction of Crozet, so I again changed my mind back to my original plan. I didn't see any rails or bitterns, but did see 37 avian species, including three Wilson's Snipes (a new Virginia bird for me), my FOS Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, my FOS Barn Swallow, a small flock of Rusty Blackbirds, and lots of other species. The Bald Eagle was in her nest.
Wilson's Snipes and female Green-winged Teal
Wilson's Snipe and Common Grackle
First year(?) Swamp Sparrow
Boldy-colored Yellow-rumped Warbler
This morning's list (37 species):