A cold front with strong and gusty winds was forecasted to move through the area, but when I got up this morning, the front had not yet arrived, and it was sunny and calm. I decided to go back to Mint Springs Park where I had heard a Hooded Warbler two days ago. I was part way up the Fire Trail when I heard a Hooded Warbler in about the same area as two days earlier, but this time it showed up for photos (my 2021, #7 warbler species photographed).
I continued all the way up the 300+ foot elevated and steep trail to the level part of the trail, and soon heard a Worm-eating Warbler. A minute later, it flew right past me and disappeared. While I have photographed this species many times, this was my first sighting of one in 2021, but it was too quick for a photo. A few minutes later, the wind started to pick up, and I thought it pudent to start the hike back down. After about 50 feet down the trail, I saw either the same or another Worm-eating Warbler. I got a few poor photos of it, but it became my 2021 warbler photo species #8.
Down near the two lakes, I heard, but did not see, a Yellow-throated Warbler and a Louisiana Waterthrush, giving me 20 avian species including four warbler species at the park. Mint Springs Park is near the eastern base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the WNW winds were really coming down from the ridge tops. I then decided to try Lickinghole Creek and Basin, located about 4 miles to the southeast of Mint Springs Park. When I arrived at Lickinghole Creek, the wind wasn't too bad, and I hiked to the basin. There were several shore birds on the gravel bar.
5 Wilson's Snipes
(left to right): Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, Solitary Sandpiper, Northern Rough-winged Swallow (?), Wilson's Snipe
(left to right): Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper; Wilson's Snipe, Solitary Sandpiper, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Snipe
As I was photographing the shorebirds, an adult Bald Eagle flew by, but was gone before I could get a photo of it. I continued down the trail, and took some photos of the Bald Eagle nest. There appears to be two Eaglets in the nest.
The wind started to pick up here as well and I headed for home, but I had added at least 11 more avian species to my morning list.