Central Virginia 11/25/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Rockfish Valley Trail and Stoney Creek 11/22/12

I did some birding on the trail this afternoon, but there wasn't too much to see - only 22 species. I saw the same Red-tailed Hawk again, so it must have claimed its territory and will be on the trail for a while. When I got home, there were a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in my yard.

Red-tailed Hawk

Pileated Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Nelson, Augusta, Highland, and Bath Counties 11/23/12

Walt Childs and I headed west across the Blue Ridge to look for irruptive winter finches and a male Northern Harrier. There had been another wave of Pine Siskins at my bird feeder in the morning, and I was hoping to see some of the other irruptive species. Our first stop was at the Confederate Breastworks in the Allegheny Mountains (Highland County). Along the way we saw several avian species including a Red-tailed Hawk and a Bald Eagle. All we saw at the Breastworks was a White-breasted Nuthatch. We then headed down to Ramsey's Draft where we saw a few birds. I enjoyed photographing a Black-capped Chickadee there as they are rare on our side of the Blue Ridge.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Black-capped Chickadee

Downy Woodpecker

We then back-tracked over the Allegheny ridge line down to Cowpasture Rd. Here we saw our second Red-tailed Hawk of the day. It was boldly colored.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

We stopped at Bill O.'s house to say hello and take a look there. As soon as we parked, Walt spotted a distant, juvenile Cooper's Hawk. I wanted to show the huge hornet's nest to Walt that I had seen on a window at Bill's house last summer, but did not photograph when I was last there. The hornet's nest was still there, but it wasn't active this time of year. I got a photo of it from the outside as well as looking from inside Bill's house. We logged our first of two Belted Kingfishers along the Cowpasture River behind his house.

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

Hornet's nest

We continued south on Cowpasture Rd., and headed for the Fort Lewis lodge in Bath County. Along the way, we saw the first of six American Kestrels of the day, and our second Kingfisher.

American Kestrel

Belted Kingfisher

Just before the Fort Lewis lodge, we stopped at a wildlife management area. At the pond, we saw a few species of birds, a flock of Mallards, and a very lost cow.

White-throated Sparrow


Our next stop was the Swoope area in Augusta County where we saw a Red-shouldered Hawk and five more Red-tailed Hawks, making it seven of these hawks for the day at that point. One of the Red-tailed Hawks had such a lightly colored head that we weren't sure at first what it was.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Our last stop was on Hall School Rd. in Stuart's Draft to look for the male Northern Harrier and the Rough-legged Hawk that have been seen there quite a few times in the past week or so. Our plan was to arrive there at 3:30 that afternoon, and we were only ten minutes late after being on a long trip. Unfortunately, the sky got quite cloudy around 3:00, and it was very dark. We thought we spotted the Rough-legged Hawk in a field, but when the sunlight peeked through the clouds, we could see its red tail and our eighth Red-tailed Hawk of the day. On the way home we saw another Red-tailed Hawk. We ended the day having seen 24 species.

Red-tailed Hawk

Stoney Creek 11/25/12

On a walk here in Stoney Creek, Alice and I saw four Hooded Mergansers and a juvenile Pied-billed Grebe in Lake Monocan.

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe

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