Central VA 1/7-11/15

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It has been very cold and windy here, so I decided to stay close to home. I birded the Rockfish Valley Trail and here in Stoney Creek (Wintergreen) on Wednesday and Thursday. I saw about 20 avian species, the best of which were three Hermit Thrushes (one on the trail and two in Stoney Creek)


Hermit Thrush


Hermit Thrush


Hermit Thrush


Song Sparrow


Field Sparrow


Eastern Bluebird

I read reports of Ross's, Cackling, Snow, and Greater White-fronted Geese mixed with a large flock of Canada Geese in the Fishersville area in the Shenandoah valley, so I went there on Friday morning. It was quite cold, and so windy that I had a difficult time taking photos. There were lots of ducks and Canada Geese at the quarry, but I didn't see any of the rarer geese. Other water birds there included Mallards, Redheads, American Wigeons, Ring-necked, Green-winged Teal, and Ruddy Ducks.


Waterfowl at the Fishersville quarry


Waterfowl at the Fishersville quarry

From there, I drove out to Swoope, but Smith Lake and the Boy Scout Camp lake were frozen over. I saw a few common birds, five American Kestrels, and two Red-tailed Hawks.


American Kestrel


American Kestrel

On Sunday morning, William Leigh posted that he had seen the Ross's, Cackling, and Snow Geese with a large flock of Canada Geese in Fishersville north of route 250 (thank you, William), so I went there to take a look. Thre were a couple of hundred Canada Geese, 10 or more Snow Geese that included two dark morph adults and one white morph juvenile, 6 Ross's Geese, and at least 1 Cackling Goose.


Snow Geese


Snow Geese (adult and juvenile)


Snow Geese


Snow Goose

Ross's Goose is considerably smaller than a Snow Goose, has a shorter bill with little or no grin patch, and a straight bill/cheek border (curved on Snow Goose).


Snow and Ross's Geese


Snow and Ross's Geese


Ross's Geese


Ross's Geese


Ross's Geese


Ross's Goose


Ross's Goose


Ross's Goose


Ross's Goose


Ross's Goose


Ross's Goose


Ross's Goose

Cackling Goose is considerably smaller than a Canada Goose, and has a short, stubby bill.


Canada (front) and Cackling (back) Geese


Cackling Goose


Cackling Goose


Cackling Goose

I stopped at the Fishersville quarry, but there were only a few ducks there. Then I checked out a few places in Stuart's Draft. There was a small flock of juvenile and adult White-crowned Sparrows foraging in a corn field near the water treatment plant.


White-crowned Sparrow


White-crowned Sparrows

I stopped twice on Ladd Road - once for a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, and then for an adult Red-shouldered Hawk.


Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk



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