Swoope, VA 6/26/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


Cool temperatures, low humidity, and bright sunny skies made for an excellent morning to do some birding. I went over to the Swoope area southwest of Staunton, VA. This area is mostly agricultural, and my target bird was a Dickcissel. I hoped to see one sitting on a fence post.

Although I didn't see any Dickcissels, it turned out to be a fun trip. I saw quite a few common birds there: Red-winged Blackbirds, Indigo Buntings, Cardinals, Chipping and Song Sparrows, Brown Thrashers, Goldfinches, Turkey Vultures, Robins, Orchard Orioles, Crows, Tree and Barn Swallows, etc., but there were a few highlights.

Soon after getting there, I saw a male and a female American Kestrel perched on a far tree in the middle of a field, and then the female starting soaring around looking for food.


Male and female American Kestrels


Female American Kestrel

A short while later, and not too far from my previous stop, I saw a juvenile male American Kestrel sitting on a post. When I got out of my car to get some more photos of it, the Kestrel took off a flew around for me to get some photos of it as it soared over the field.


Juvenile male American Kestrel


Juvenile male American Kestrel


Juvenile male American Kestrel

Back tracking my route, I once again encountered the female American Kestrel, but she was making a racket. Seems that she had some sort of disagreement with a Crow.


Female American Kestrel


Female American Kestrel and American Crow

A little farther down the road there was a Horned Lark sitting on a fence post. It didn't mind my getting fairly close to take some photos, and these are my best ever photos of this species.


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark


Horned Lark

I saw four or five Grasshopper Sparrows sitting on fence posts. One of them let me pull up along side of it, turn off my car engine, and take photos of it from my car.


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow

I ended the trip seeing some more common birds. Three Tree Swallows were having a diasgreement as to who got to sit where on a power line.


Tree Swallows


Willow Flycatcher

And I got to see how a juvenile Starling turned into a Cowbird!


Catching flies!


Catching flies!


Catching flies!


Catching flies!



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