Stuart's Draft, VA 7/11/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


I decided to take advantage of the cooler and drier air on the Shenandoah Valley side of the mountains, and headed over to the Cowbane Prairie Natural Area Preserve in Stuarts Draft, Va. Sora, Snipe, and American Bittern can be found in the marshy areas, and Virginia Rails are probable breeders there. It was my first visit to this preserve. After hiking 0.4 miles to the wooded tree line that marked the entrance to the preserve, I first headed right (west) and hiked the mowed path to the railroad tracks. Other than a few common birds in the woods, all I saw were six foot tall grasses, and decided that summer was not the best season to visit this preserve.

When I got back to the wooded tree line entrance, I heard a White-eyed Vireo to the east, and headed that direction. I didn't find the vireo, but a Great Crested Flycatcher landed in the tree where I was searching. Most of the birds that I saw there were Field Sparrows, along with Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches, Mourning Doves, Red-winged Blackbirds, and an unidentified woodpecker.

I could see marshy areas on the east side, but dense vegetation at the edge of the mowed path prohibited my seeing most of the ground where the marsh birds might be.


Great Crested Flycatcher


Great Crested Flycatcher


Great Crested Flycatcher


Field Sparrow


Field Sparrow


Field Sparrow


Eastern Bluebird



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