It was a great day to be outside and birding. Walt Childs and I headed west into the Shenandoah Valley going north at first, and then south before heading back to Nellysford. As Walt drove down my driveway to pick me up, a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers were flitting about in the trees next to my driveway to be counted as our first trip bird species of the day.
Our first stop was at Leonard's Pond, although we stopped on the way there to look at a Red-tailed Hawk. There were a few Tree Swallows, Canada Geese, Song Sparrows, Killdeers, Mallards, and a Ruddy Duck at the pond, and a large flock of Starlings took flight when an American Kestrel flew by them.
Starlings and American Kestrel (lower right)
From there, we made stops at the pond on Oakwood Road near Dayton, Silver Lake, and Nazarenne Wetlands, but only saw a few more species. Starlings seemed to be everywhere, and when one would take flight, the entire flock would go along, even when in the middle of a meal.
We headed south to Swoope, stopping first at Smith Lake and then driving around the area. There were lots of sparrows - mostly Song Sparrows, but also a few Swamp Sparrows and Field Sparrows, and a single Lincoln's Sparrow.
Great Blue Heron
We had logged 35 avian species for the day, and as we were leaving Swoope, we saw our third Red-tailed Hawk of the day. It was perched on a wire, but took flight after an Eastern Bluebird that flew by it.