Augusta County, VA 11/11/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It was a beautiful day to be out birding, so I headed over to the Swoope area to see what might be there. As I drove down Hewitt Road, I saw Starlings, Crows, House Finches, Bluebirds, a few sparrows, and an Eastern Meadowlark.


Eastern Bluebird

I arrived at Smith Lake (on private property, permission required) and saw a few shorebirds and ducks. The shore birds included four Wilson's Snipes and a few Killdeers.


Wilson's Snipes


Wilson's Snipes


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe


Killdeer taking a bath

There were four ducks on the lake. Three of them were female Hooded Mergansers. The other duck was a Goldeneye. I have only see a few Goldeneyes, and they all have been Common Goldeneyes (uncommon here). This one, however, looked different, and based on the white neck, almost all yellow bill, more limited white patches on the upper wing, and a sleek head shape in flight, this one looks more like the Barrow's Goldeneye in my reference books. A Barrow's Goldeneye would be exceptionally rare here, but with the record low pressure in Canada, and massive cold and snowfall in the upper U.S., perhaps one these western or northeastern ducks was here. Any comments would be appreciated.


Goldeneye


Goldeneye


Goldeneye


Hooded Merganser


Goldeneye and Hooded Mergansers


Goldeneye and Hooded Mergansers

There were a few other species around the lake, including some boldly colored Savannah Sparrows.


Savannah Sparrow


Savannah Sparrow

From Swoope, I headed over to the Augusta Springs Wetlands, but only saw a few common species there and one of the reddest dragonflies I have ever seen.


American Robin


Carolina Wren


Dragonfly

I stopped at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch on the way home, but except for a very distant Bald Eagle, all I saw there were lots of Crows and Turkey Vultures.


American Crow


Turkey Vulture


Turkey Vulture



E-mail comments on this report


Return to blog page home