We're in the middle of a four-day, off and on, rainy weather pattern. Yesterday, the forecast was for rain all day today, and I hadn't planned on doing any birding today. But this morning it was only mostly cloudy, cold (about 50), and a bit breezy, and the rain was mainly to the south and west, and not forecasted to be here until mid-afternoon. So I decided to hike from my house here in Old Trail (Crozet, Virginia). Most of the birds I saw were common species, but I did have a few good ones. An Osprey flew high overhead at the start of my hike. I relocated the shorebird by the retention pond behind the assisted living lodge that I had seen yesterday, and this time had my camera with me. In the field, it looked to me to be a Solitary Sandpiper (my Old Trail avian species #112). When I processed the photos, its legs look very yellow, like that of a Lesser Yellowlegs, but the rest of it still looks like a Solitary Sandpiper to me. A Lesser Yellowlegs would also be a new Old Trail species for me, and I am open to other opinions.
I saw a barn Swallow flying over the meadow near the golf course pond, and although a common species, it was my Old Trail species #113.
Crows were chasing Turkey Vultures, and Red-winged Blackbirds were chasing the crows. Must be some serious nesting going on.
Crow chasing Turkey Vulture
There were a few Yellow-rumped Warblers near the golf course pond, and I heard both Lousiana Waterthrushes in the same locations where I saw and photographed them two days ago. I heard my First of Season (FOS) Common Yellowthroat in some dense vegetation, but when I tried to coax it out, it flew the other direction. I ended the hike with 34 avian species, including the 3 warbler species and two new Old Trail species for me - not bad for what was supposed to be an all day rain event. I hiked past the tree young deer that I have seen many times on the trail, and they must be getting used to me, as they looked at me and then continued eating.
I checked the forecast after lunch, and now the rain had been pushed to 5:00, so I drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. At mm. 2, I saw my FOS American Redstart.
At mm. 2.5, I got off onto Route 610 that runs parallel to the parkway, and across from parkway mm. 3, I got my FOS Hooded Warbler. This was turning into a good birding day.
I got back onto the parkway, and stopped at the pull-off just before (north of) the large cirque at mm. 7.5, where I saw my FOS Ovenbird.
I parked just to south of the cirque, and saw my FOS Cerulean Warbler and my FOS Black and White Warbler. I think that this is the earliest in the spring that I have ever seen a Cerulean.
Black and White Warbler
There were two chickadees there as well. One was a Carolina, but the other sounded different - it was Black-capped Chickadee.
I was now up to 43 avian species for the day, including 8 warbler species. Really not bad for a planned rainy day! I wondered if I could get 10 warbler species today, so I headed to Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro, but only saw a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and other species I had already seen today.