It was cold and windy today. Walt Childs and I decided to drive south and west to Rockbridge County to look for raptors. Soon after leaving Stoney Creek, we saw a Red-shouldered Hawk along Route 151, and then a Red-tailed Hawk along I-64 in the Shenandoah Valley. Our first stop was at Willow Lake near Raphine, Virginia. We saw 100+ Canada Geese, 30 to 40 Gadwalls, 80 American Coots, 2 Pied-billed Grebes, a few Mallards, a single American Black Duck, a single Hooded Merganser, and 3 Ring-billed Gulls.
Gadwalls and Pied-billed Grebe
American Black Duck
We headed west amd then south. We wanted to drive down New Providence Road where we had seen a Rough-legged Hawk last winter, but made an incorrect turn and went much farther south than we had intended, but we saw a couple more Red-tailed Hawks, a Belted Kingfisher, and quite a few winter bird species.
Juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that was tough to see against a tree
We made our way back to where we wanted to look for the Rough-legged Hawk. We were now going north on New Providence Road instead of south as we had planned, and didn't see a Rough-legged Hawk. We turned west on Pisgah road, where we saw an unidentifed hawk and a Cooper's Hawk. We continued west on High Rock Road until we reached Walker Creek Road, and then turned north to Swoope in Augusta County. We saw an American Kestrel, two more Red-tailed Hawks, and some Mallards in Swoope before heading home with a trip count of 39 avian species.
When we entered Stoney Creek, we saw another, or possibly the same, Red-shouldered Hawk.
It was one of those birding outings where most of the birds were either far away from us, or we were looking into the sun, but it was still an interesting trip.