Old Trail; Crozet, VA; 11/26/16
Alice and did a short afternoon walk here in Old Trail, and we saw a cooperative Red-shouldered Hawk, but very few other birds.
Stuart's Draft, VA; 11/27/16
After reading about a large flock of Horned Larks and American Pipits in the fields along the road to the Stuart's Draft Water Treatment Plant, I decided to go looking for them on this bright, but cold morning. When I got there, I saw the usual White-crowned Sparrows, but no other species there. I could see that the gate to the WTP was closed and locked, and that did not surprise me for Thanksgiving weekend. But I saw a new sign - at the end of the fenced field before the very short drive to entrance to the WTP, there was a "No Tresspassing" sign. This was the first time I have seen that sign there, so I guess the WTP is now off-limits to birders.
I continued driving around some of the Stuart's Draft farm areas, saw a couple of American Kestrels and a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, but not much else.
Old Trail; Crozet, VA; 11/28/16
It was cold and cloudy when I hiked this morning from home here in Old Trail, and I didn't expect to see many avian species. The first bird I saw, less than 100 yards from my house, was another Red-shouldered Hawk, and this one looked to be a different bird than I had seen two days earlier.
This turned out to be quite a good birding hike for a cold and gloomy, late November morning. I ended up with 27 avian species, including six sparrow species: Song, Field, White-crowned, White-throated, Chipping, and Dark-eyed Junco.
I have had good luck with Golden-crowned Kinglets this year, and encountered another very cooperative bird.
As I approached home near the end of my hike, I saw that the Red-shouldered Hawk was still perched in the same spot where I had seen it an hour or so earlier. There was a flurry of activity near the trail, and when I raised my camera for a better look, I saw a bird with yellow on it. It took me a few seconds to realize that is was a Dickcissel! This species is rare here at any time of the year, but especially in the winter months. Another Dickcissel has been reported in Charlottesville during the past few days.