Augusta & Highland Counties, VA 6/6/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It was a beautiful day for birding, and I decided to head west into Augusta and Highland Counties to try for better photos of a few warbler species. My first stop was at Ramsey Draft where I heard a Northern Parula, but could not locate it in the dense foliage. The next stop was at the Confederate Breastworks on the Augusta/Highland boarder. Not much there.

I then turned off route 250 onto 616 to go to Bill O.'s house on Cowpasture River Road - usually a good place for some of the harder-to-find warblers. Along the way I saw several Eastern Meadowlarks, a male and a female Baltimore Oriole, and at least one more Baltimore Oriole near Bill's place. But I only heard an American Redstart there. The road there was fairly "birdy," but no other warblers.


Eastern Meadowlark


Female Baltimore Oriole


Male Baltimore Oriole


Male Baltimore Oriole


Brown Thrasher


Eastern Phoebe


Eastern Wood-Pewee


Female Scarlet Tanager


Red-eyed Vireo

On my return, I stopped at the small bridge that crossed over the Cowpasture River. There was a lot of bird sounds - a few singing Song Sparrows, but mostly chatter. The trees were loaded with juvenile Starlings calling for their parents to feed them.


Song Sparrow


Juvenile Starling


Starlings


Starlings


Starlings

Thre is a commercial turkey farm near the bridge, and a turkey had escaped and was walking down the road.


Turkey

I stopped once again at Ramsey's Draft, but not much there in the middle of the afternoon. As short distance thereafter, I turned off of route 250 for Braley's Pond - only one mile from the highway. I had never been there before. The road to the pond was full of potholes, and there were only a few birds there. But Braley's Pond might be a really good place during migration. A large, elevated pond is surrounded by conifers, and the lower stream and picnic areas were loaded with deciduous trees. There are several trails from the picnic area.

I ended the outing with 34 avian species - not a great birding day, but a lot better than staying inside on such a beautiful day.


Barn Swallow


Great Spangled Fritillary



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