Stoney Creek (Wintergreen) and Crozet, VA 5/15/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


It wasn't supposed to be a birding day for me. We had just under two inches of rain yesterday and through the night, with more forecasted for today. But I awoke to muggy air and sunny skies, and decided to take a short hike here in Stoney Creek before any more rain developed. I started out at Sawmill Creek pond #3, and just as I was thinking that I hadn't seen a Great Blue Heron here for a few weeks, one flew out of nowhere right in front of me. There were Canada Geese with their goslings on Lake Monocan, and Crows were harassing a Red-tailed Hawk over the field east of the small pine forest. When I got home I checked on the Red-shouldered Hawk chicks in the nest in my back yard, and assumed that my birding was over for the day, as it was starting to get dark and cloudy, and then more rain followed.


Great Blue Heron


Great Blue Heron


Canada Geese


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk chicks


Red-shouldered Hawk chicks

The rain cleared in the early afternoon, and at 2:30, I read on the Monticello Bird Alert that a Black Tern was seen on the ponds at the King Family Vineyards in Crozet, VA - only about a 25 minute drive from my house. This is a rare bird for this part of Virginia, and the last sighting of this species in Albemarle County was May 24, 1958. As I headed north on route 151, it started to drizzle, and I wondered if the Black Tern would still be there, if it would be pouring with rain when I got there, or both. Both I was lucky on both counts! Birders are not allowed to get close to the wetland ponds there - I wish I could have gotten closer, but I took more than 500 photos from afar between 3:00 and 3:30, hoping that some of them would be okay. The following are the best of the photo shoot of the rare visitor to central Virginia.


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern


Black Tern



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