Swoope, VA 6/28/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

There have been reports of Bobolinks and Dickcissels in the Swoope area south of Staunton, Virginia. Both species are uncommon visitors to central Virginia, and are always a treat to see. Dickcissels are more common in the mid-western United States, but wide-spread drought there during the past two summers seems to have pushed this species farther to the east where we have had plenty of rainfall.

Although I didn't see any Bobolinks on this trip, I did log 20 avian species, and at least four Dickcissels. I met up with a local birder, and we searched some of the fields along Cattleman Road.


Eastern Meadowlark

The first Dickcissel we saw was a female that flew to the east from where we saw her, so we headed that direction in search of the bird. We located a male Dickcissel singing a good distance away, and then the female flew to within about 100 feet of us.


Male Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel

Then the male Dickcissel landed even closer to us.


Male Dickcissel


Male Dickcissel


Male Dickcissel


Male Dickcissel


Male Dickcissel


Male Dickcissel


Male Dickcissel


Male Dickcissel

We then headed to another field where we saw a mixed flock of about a dozen Barn and Cliff Swallows. The Cliff Swallows were using a mud nest in a small shed, and a young bird poked its head out to see who we were.


Barn Swallow


Cliff Swallow


Cliff Swallow


Cliff Swallow - yum!


Cliff Swallow


Cliff Swallow

We then saw a second pair of Dickcissels.


Male and female Dickcissels


Male and female Dickcissels


Male Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel


Female Dickcissel

Today's list:

Turkey Vulture
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eastern Phoebe
American Crow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dickcissel
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch


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