Albemarle County 2/7/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I set out on this cold and overcast morning to try for two new life birds for me. There were reports of a Lapland Longspur mixed in with flocks of Horned Larks and Killdeers in southern Albermarle County, and Common Goldeneyes in Beaver Creek Lake in Crozet. An immature Tundra Swan was also reported in that Lake.

First stop was the field where the Longspur had been reported, and we soon saw the large flock of Killdeers and the large flock of Horned Larks. However, even though the vegetation was not very tall, the distance from the Horned Larks was significant, and it was difficult to see them. I took about 100 photos of clusters of Horned Larks, hoping to be able to find the Longspur when processing and reviewing the photos, but I did not find one.


Horned Larks

We were near to Warren Ferry, so we headed there and saw quite a few White-throated Sparrows and Cardinals, but it was a Golden-crowned Kinglet and three Pied-billed Grebes that highlighted that stop. On the way there and then to Beaver Creek Lake, we saw a few Red-tailed Hawks. Along the way, we stopped at the edge of a wet field and caught a glimpse of a Wilson's Snipe as it flew from one spot to another and was quickly hidden in the grasses.


Golden-crowned Kinglet


Pied-billed Grebe


Red-tailed Hawk


Wilson's Snipe

When we arrived at Beaver Creek Lake, the white, immature Tundra Swan was immediately seen swimming with a large group of Canada Geese. When I got out of the car to photograph it, I had to manuever around some trees and tall vegetation to get a clear photo, and something else caught my eye. It was a Horned Grebe, a new life bird for me. After getting a lot of photos of the Grebe, I turned my attention to the Swan and ducks: three Hooded Mergansers (two males and one female), three Ruddy Ducks, and a male Lesser Scaup swimming with four Common Goldeneyes (my second new life bird of the day). The Goldeneyes appeared to be all females, but after processing the photos, two of the Goldeneyes look to be first winter males. Not a bad morning for me!


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Horned Grebe


Immature Tundra Swan


Immature Tundra Swan


Immature Tundra Swan


Immature Tundra Swan


Immature Tundra Swan


Immature Tundra Swan


Lesser Scaup and Common Goldeneyes


Common Goldeneyes


Hooded Merganser


Hooded Mergansers


Ruddy Duck



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