Shenandoah Valley 11/25/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

After the Saw-whet Owl banding that we attended last Thursday evening, the two banders spotted a Snowy Owl on their way home. Clair Mellinger posted:

On the way home from Highland Retreat, where we were banding Saw-whet Owls, Charles Ziegenfus and I spotted a Snowy Owl along Singers Glen Road at around 11:30 p.m. It was clearly diving at something in the ditch along the road when we first spotted it [and then] it perched on a fence post long enough for us to get some poor photos.

Walt Childs and I decided to go looking for the Snowy Owl, as they are very rare around here. This species is sighted only once every few years this far south. We took the route suggested by Clair to look for it, but only saw a few birds. The best ones were four American Kestrels at various locations in that area.


American Kestrels; female left; male right

With little birding success, we decided to see what might be at Nazarene Wetlands. Walt was driving, and I said to stop when I saw something white in the ditch along route 613.


Close, but no cigar

We saw very few bird species at Nazarene. There was a Canada Goose, a few Killdeers, a good size flock of Starlings, and a Red-tailed Hawk in the distance. A small flock of birds looked different to me, but they were far enough away from where we were standing to see them clearly. They looked like they had reddish-brown tones to their plumage. The photos show clearly that they were Starlings, most likely immature birds getting their adult plumage.


Starlings


Red-tailed Hawk

From there, we went to Swoope to look for lake and shore birds, and saw a Great Blue Heron standing along side the road. But Swoope was disappointing. All we saw were a Downy Woodpecker, a few sparrows, and some crows.


Downy Woodpecker

It was a fun outing, but with little birding success.



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