There are a few avian species on my nemesis list. These are uncommon to rare species that I should have seen during my 10 years of birding, but somehow, have not. These species leave this list once I see them, but once removed from the list, usually are seen by me multiple times in multiple locations soon after. Birding just works that way!
One owl species on my nemesis list is a Long-eared Owl. I have looked multiple times in the Blue Grass Valley in Highland County where one has been seen often, but I have never seen it. Last winter there were four of them along a road in Swoope, Virginia, for a week. When I found out about them, I drove there, only to find that the last day they had been seen was the day before I got there. I learned last week that there was a Long-eared Owl spending the winter in the same tree at the Blandy Experimental Farm in Winchester. I had seen this species posted on the list servers there a few times, but didn't know that it was a winter resident until a Charlottesville area birder posted that it was, and then sent me detailed directions to the exact tree where it was roosting. Walt Childs and made the 120 mile, 2 hour drive each way to see it, and found the correct tree. There was quite a bit of white dropping marks on the tree there, but no owl. The director of the Blandy Experimental Farm showed up and told us that the last day it had been seen was on Friday, just three days earlier, and it had probably migrated north for the summer. :-(
Walt and I birded there for a couple of hours and ended up with about 20 species. I got a few good photos of some Black-capped Chickadees that clearly show the white coverts and ragged, black bib. Winchester is almost due north of Crozet, and Black-capped Chickadees are uncommon this far south, and east of the Blue Ridge. Almost all the chickadees we see here are Carolinas.
I stayed close to home today, and saw 26 avian species. Red-winged Blackbirds have re-appeared; a good sign that spring is around the corner. I didn't see any Bald Eagles in the nest, even though it looked like the nest had been somewhat repaired, but the one photo I took of it looks like there might be a Bald Eagle sitting in it.