Rockingham County, VA 12/4/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

A rare visitor to Virgina, a Snowy Owl, has been seen in three locations in Rockingham County. Yesterday, it was perched at the same location all day long, but Walt Childs and I did not learn about this until it was too late in the day to make the hour plus drive there.

We headed out early this morning to yesterday's reported location. When we arrived, there were already two birders that we knew looking there for it without success, and they told us that two other birders we knew had already been there and were heading north to search for it.

Walt and I drove around the area looking for it, and met up with another birder we knew who was also unsuccessful in finding the owl. He said that he was meeting up with a birder coming from Richmond (about 150 miles away) and another birder coming from the north. We all had each other's cell phone numbers in case anyone located it, but it was nowhere to be found.

Walt and I searched all three previous locations where the owl had been sighted, as well as back farm roads between these locations. We did end up seeing 28 other avian species. There were several American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, and a huge flock of Common Grackles. At one point, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk flew up and landed in a tree right in front of me, but quickly departed after seeing me.

Two other Snowy Owls have been reported in Northern Virginia, one at Dulles International Airport and one at the Manassas Airport. These owls like the large open grassy areas. We checked out the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport on the drive home, but did not see any owls there.


American Pipit


American Pipit


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk


Common Grackles


Great Blue Heron

Today's list:

American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Kestrel
American Pipit
American Robin
Belted Kingfisher
Blue Jay
Canada Goose
Carolina Chickadee
Common Grackle
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Meadowlark
European Starling
Great Blue Heron
House Sparrow
Killdeer
Mallard
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Flicker
Northern Mockingbird
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Tufted Titmouse
Turkey Vulture


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