Greater Wintergreen Area 5/29-31/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Stoney Creek 5/29/12

I only had time to check out the Red-shouldered Hawk's nest in my back yard. At least two of the chicks look like they may be getting ready to fledge.

Red-shouldered Hawk chicks

Red-shouldered Hawk chicks

Wintergreen Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway 5/30/12

Most of the Wintergreen Resort on the mountain is above 3000 feet, with a peak of more than 3900 feet. I haven't birded up there for a while, and wanted to give it a try, hoping that perhaps there might be some high elevation warblers there that do spend the summer above 3000 feet in the Allegheny Mountains of the other side of the Shenandoah Valley. However, almost everywhere I went there had either road construction or home building/repairs going on. All I saw were a few common year round resident bird, but I did see a Cerulean Warbler and heard another one.

Dark-eyed Junco

I decided to head back the long way, going along the first 14 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I heard a few more Cerulean Warblers, saw some American Redstarts, and got a photo of a Worm-eating Warbler actually eating a worm!

American Redstart

Worm-eating Warbler

Crozet, VA and the Blue Ridge Parkway 5/31/12

Walt Childs and I went over to Crozet to do some birding. We started out at the Western Ridge (Lickinghole Creek) trail and lake, and saw quite a few species. Some of the highlights included the Bald Eagle perched on a limb near its nest, a female and a very colorful male Orchard Oriole, a Semipalmated Sandpiper, and an immature Common Yellowthroat that remained perched on a small tree branch only a few feet away from us. The papa Yellowthroat soon showed up but kept its distance from us.

Bald Eagle

Male Orchard Oriole

Male Orchard Oriole

Male Orchard Oriole

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Immature Common Yellowthroat

Immature Common Yellowthroat

Immature Common Yellowthroat

Adult male Common Yellowthroat

Next stop was the Old Trail golf course pond where we saw an immature Ring-necked Duck, and then two adult male Ring-necked Ducks on the other side of the pond. When the immature duck saw us, it headed over to the adults.

Immature Ring-necked Duck

Adult male Ring-necked Ducks

Ring-necked Ducks

We then headed over to the ponds at the King Family vineyards, but there wasn't much to see. Finally, even though it was then early afternoon, we decided to drive the first 14 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway so that I could show Walt my two favorite sites for warblers. At the mm. 7-8 cirque, I heard quite a few warblers - mostly American Redstarts, but also heard some others; however, the vegetation was so dense that we only saw glimpses of birds. At Hickory Springs overlook we only saw a few birds. We did see an interesting Indigo Bunting. It was an immature bird in transition from juvenile to adult plumage, and it wasn't until we got a good profile of its bill that we could positively identify it as an Indigo Bunting. It had a rusty back and a very light, almost white breast, so we also considered Eastern Bluebird and Blue Grosbeak as possibilites before seeing its bill in profile.

Indigo Bunting

Our 5/31/12 list (37 species):

Eastern Bluebird
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Belted Kingfisher
Ring-necked Duck
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Green Heron
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Northern Cardinal
White-eyed Vireo
Indigo Bunting
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Turkey Vulture
American Robin
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Eastern Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco
Scarlet Tanager

Red-winged Blackbird
Tufted Titmouse
Mourning Dove
American Crow
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Wood Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Orchard Oriole
Northern Mockingbird
Common Grackle

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