The scarcity of birds here in the winter makes birding more of a challenge, and after returning from a week in a warmer climate where there were lots of birds, the difference appears even greater! Well, back to reality.January 8; Old Trail, Crozet, VA
We had three inches of snow yesterday, and it was sunny but blustery today. With winds ranging from 15 to 20 mph, and gusts 10 mph higher, it felt really cold outside, and many birds were hunkered down. I only saw 15 avian species this morning. The female Common Merganser is still hanging out with Canada Geese at the golf course pond, and it may spend the winter here.
Female Common Merganser
January 10; Swoope, VA
It was a bit warmer and less windy, but the skies were mostly overcast. I wondered if the Short-eared Owls in Swoope might be out because of the cloudy conditions. I was disappointed how few birds I saw in Swoope today, although I did end up with 22 avian species there.
Great Blue Heron
Both Bald Eagles were at their nest.
As I was nearing the end of my loop on North Mountain Road, I got my first two Red-tailed Hawks of the day.
Well, not great, but an okay outing, and I started back towards home. Just before leaving Swoope, I saw the highly leucistic Red-tailed Hawk that I had seen there twice last November.
That made my day! As I was near Staunton, I decided to try for the Short-eared Owl that has been seen along Bell's Lane. I never seem to have good birding luck there. I didn't see the owl, but added two more trip species and got my 4th Red-tailed Hawk of the day.