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NOTE: The oldest issue currently available is December 2007. Also, a few issues from the years 2008 and 2010 are missing.
Fall migration: peak of activity!
Neotropical migratory birds numbering in the millions are passing through our region, and if you are lucky or diligent enough, you might just catch a glimpse of some of these "feathered jewels"!
Bay-breasted Warbler, at Augusta Springs on October 7, courtesy of Jim Hill.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cape May Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Eastern Wood Pewee, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Bay-breasted Warbler, American Redstart, and in center, Magnolia Warbler, along Bell's Lane and at Montgomery Hill Park on October 2.
Tennessee Warbler, along the Mill Place trail in Verona on September 27.
On September 16, a large contingent of birders led by Lynne Parks scoured the Augusta Springs wetlands, and after a while, hit upon a veritable gold mine of migrating warblers. Highlights of the day other than those shown below included Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrushes, Eastern Wood Pewee, and Eastern Phoebe.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: American Redstart (M), Common Yellowthroat, Magnolia Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Black-and-white Warbler, during the ABC field trip to Augusta Springs on September 16.
Blackpoll Warbler, along Bell's Lane on September 13, courtesy of Jim Hill.
Hawk Watch Is Underway!
The Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch had a great start to the 2023 fall season on August 15, with 15 raptors total and 5 different species (3 Bald Eagles, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 6 Broad-winged Hawks, 3 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Kestrel, and 1 unidentified)! Although the old Inn at Afton continues to deteriorate, the parking lot and grassy area remain clear and visiting hawk watchers will be welcome as usual. However, we have decided to cancel the annual Open House event due to the site conditions.
(Excerpted from the September "Meadowlark," the ABC newsletter.)
Fall migration is here!
As fall migration season gets underway, the Augusta Bird Club is picking up the pace of field trips to local hot spots. On September 9, eight people went on a hike along the Shenandoah Mountain trail, but the best sighting of the day (a Ruffed Grouse) eluded our cameras, unfortunately.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Scarlet Tanager (F/J), Pine Warbler, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Blue-headed Vireo, along the Shenandoah Mountain trail on September 9.
Summer birds of note
Green Heron at Eagle's Nest pond, Aug. 11. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Hughes.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Indigo Bunting along the Mill Place trail in Verona; and Solitary Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Great Blue Heron*, and Killdeer (mostly) at Leonard's Pond, on August 10. (* in Verona)
Young Red-tailed Hawk being harrassed by an Eastern Kingbird, along Bell's Lane on July 11. Photo courtesy of Jim Hill.
Canada Warbler; near Reddish Knob / Briery Branch Road on June 14. Photo courtesy of Antonio Martinez.
On Saturday May 6 Lynne Parks led a field trip to the Cowbane nature preserve southwest of Stuarts Draft. The turnout was massive, with over 20 people in at least a dozen vehicles attending. The weather was almost perfect, and many birds were to be seen! Lynne will lead an invasive plant removal work session on Saturday May 20.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Common Yellowthroat (M), Warbling Vireo, Baltimore Oriole (M), Eastern Kingbird, Osprey, and Orchard Orioles (both male and female), at Cowbane nature preserve, May 6.
Chestnut-sided Warbler; along the Shenandoah Mountain trail on May 14.
Red-eyed Vireo; along Route 610 near the Blue Ridge Parkway on May 9. Photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.
House Wren. Photo courtesy of Warren Faught.
Ovenbird; at the Humpback Rocks picnic area overlook on April 29.
Cerulean Warbler; along Route 610 near the Blue Ridge Parkway on April 21. Photo courtesy of Lynne Parks.
Vesper Sparrow at Cowbane Prairie on March 30. Photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.
Field Sparrow at the Mill Place trail in Verona on March 28.
Greater Scaup (M) at the Hardee's pond in Verona on March 26.
Horned Grebe at the Hardee's pond in Verona on March 25. Photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.
Hermit Thrush in Jollivue on March 20. Photo courtesy of Warren Faught.
Field trip to Piney Grove
On March 18, Allen Larner led four other ABC members on a long-distance field trip to the Waverly-Wakefield-Piney Grove area in southeastern Virginia, in hopes of seeing the rare Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. We fell short in that regard, but still managed to see quite a few good birds, primarily Pine Warblers and Brown-headed Nuthatches. We're going to try it again on April 15! (See the list of upcoming events above.)
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Brown-headed Nuthatch, Northern Mockingbird, Pine Warbler, Eastern Phoebe, Bald Eagle, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. (Around the Waverly-Wakefield-Piney Grove area on March 18.)
Rusty Blackbird, at Augusta Springs on March 5. Photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.
Winter Wren, at Augusta Springs on March 5. Photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.
Red-tailed Hawk, near Swoope on February 22. Photo courtesy of Antonio Martinez.
Common Goldeneye, at Saxis Nat. Wildlife Refuge on February 21. Photo courtesy of Jim Hill.
Eurasian Wigeon (male), at McCormick's Farm on February 15. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Hughes.
Red Crossbill (male), near Confederate Breastworks on February 12. Photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (male), at Azalea Park in Charlottesville on February 5.
Red-shouldered Hawk, at the Murphy Deming trail on January 30.
Field trip to Swoope
On January 28, 13 members of the Augusta Bird Club went hiking for almost a mile along the woodland road at the Boy Scout camp in Swoope. There were several woodpeckers, including a distant Red-headed one, as well as many White-throated Sparrows, Tufted Titmice, Carolina and/or Black-capped Chickadees, and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Later we all stopped at Cattleman Road, and Bill Benish eventually spotted our main target bird, the Loggerhead Shrike. It was very cooperative as it gradually got closer to us in the course of its hunting routine. Finally, we headed east on Livick Road where, to our utter amazement, we saw a SECOND Loggerhead Shrike! (Top center in the photo montage below.) One day later, Bill Benish and Robyn Puffenberger returned and determined beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were in fact two separate birds. Thanks to Josephine King for keeping track of all the species we saw, including several Northern Harriers and American Kestrels, but no Bald Eagles, unfortunately. On the way back to Staunton we saw three or four Red-tailed Hawks, some of which were being harassed by American Crows. Many thanks to all those who participated, including three new members: Jeff and Jeanie Roberts, and Eric Pritchett.
by Andrew Clem
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-bellied Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike (#2), Loggerhead Shrike (#1), Red-tailed Hawk, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, and in center, Red-breasted Nuthatch. (Swoope, January 28)
LEFT TO RIGHT: Jeff Roberts, Eric Pritchett, Jeanie Roberts, Warren Faught, Wendy Hill, Jim Hill, Josephine King, Bonnie Hughes, Stephen Pietrowski, Bill Benish, Antonio Martinez, and David Chernoff.
Field trip to Highland and Bath Counties
On January 7, Allen Larner led five other members on a very successful field trip to Highland and Bath Counties -- the first such winter trip since before the pandemic! We saw Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles in mutliple locations. As usual, we saw many interesting ducks at the pond along Rt. 220 just south of the county line, as well as Horned Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, a Common Loon, and many Common Mergansers at Lake Moomaw. But the biggest ighlight of the day came at the very end when Allen spotted a Barred Owl perched on a wire along the road as we left Lake Moomaw.
by Andrew Clem
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Barred Owl, Bald Eaglea (adult and juvenile), Golden Eagle (juvenile), Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, and in center, Common Merganser and Belted Kingfisher. (Highland and Bath Counties, January 7)
Other recent sightings
Hermit Thrush in Jollivue, January 20. (courtesy of Warren Faught)
Red-tailed Hawk above Bell's Lane, January 18. (courtesy of Eric Pritchett)
Loggerhead Shrike in Swoope, January 16. (courtesy of Vic Laubach)
Augusta Bird Club ©
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