Shenandoah Valley, VA 11/21/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I headed west and north in the Shenandoah Valley to see if the snow storms up north had blown any unusual birds our way. We drove north on Route 340 from Wayneboro up to Elkton, but saw very few birds along the way. Next stop was Lake Campbell in Harrisonburg where we saw several species in addition to the resident Mute Swans: Canada Geese, a Great Blue Heron, Mallards, Eastern Bluebirds, House Finches, Ring-billed Ducks, our first of about eight American Kestrels for the day, and a lone American Wigeon.


American Kestrel


American Wigeon

We then went to nearby Lake Shenandoah, but although I read reports of some ducks there in the afternoon, we didn't see any birds in the lake during the late morning. From there we went to Leonard's Pond where we saw a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow and a very cooperative Wilson's Snipe.


Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe


Wilson's Snipe

We drove around the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport and didn't see any birds worth reporting, but as soon as we turned off onto Rockfish Road, we saw a Turkey Vulture and a Red-tailed Hawk eating something in a farm field. The hawk took off as soon as he saw us, and then we walked down the road a bit, seeing more White-crowned Sparrows, Cardinals, and a good size flock of Horned Larks.


Red-tailed Hawk


Adult White-crowned Sparrow


Northern Cardinal


Horned Larks

A quick drive along Strickley Road didn't yield any birds, so we went to the Stuart's Draft area. As we were driving on Guthrie Road, a small raptor flew in front of the car. It had the underside coloring and shape of a juvenile Northern Harrier, but wasn't much larger than a Kestrel, and it didn't fly like a Kestrel. We stopped the car and got out for a better look, but couldn't find it.

We drove down to the water treament plant and saw a single female Bufflehead in the water there. Along the road we saw quite a few White-throated Sparrows, Cardinals, Killdeers, and my first-of-season Fox Sparrow.


Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow


Adult White-crowned Sparrow


Adult White-crowned Sparrow


Fox Sparrow

As we drove down Lipscomb Road, we saw a large murder of Crows chasing a pair of Red-tailed Hawks.


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk



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