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Braley Pond field trip

On June 16, John Spahr led five other Augusta Bird Club members on a second field trip focused on the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project. (See the June 2 report below.) The main destination was Braley Pond, near the village of West Augusta, but most of the time was spent along the Johnson Draft trail upstream from the pond. That trail turned out to be very rich in terms of likely breeding birds, and a number of Northern Parulas, Worm-eating Warblers, and Indigo Buntings (including a female with nesting material) were heard and/or seen. Afterwards, some of the members stopped for lunch at the nearby convenience store, where a Ruby-throated Hummingbird came to a feeder. Finally, they spent a while at the Chimney Hollow trail, where they succeeded in locating an Acadian Flycatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush, as well as some juvenile Eastern Phoebes.

Ed, Jo, Dan, Lisa, John at Braley Pond
Montage 16 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Northern Parula, Eastern Phoebe, Black-and-white Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Indigo Bunting (F & M). (June 16)

Annual picnic brunch

On Saturday, June 9th the Augusta Bird Club held its annual spring picnic brunch, this time at Humpback Rocks Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Attendance was HUGE -- about 30 people -- reflecting the nice weather and the recent surge in club membership. Crista Cabe and Andrew Clem led two separate groups on hikes along nearby trails, and a nice variety of birds were heard and seen. Among the highlights were Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Cerulean Warblers, American Redstarts, and Blue-headed Vireos. And to top it off, the picnic food was wonderful! Many thanks to Linda Matkins, who organized and carried out the big event, and to all the folks who took the time to prepare tasty treats, and finally, to those who helped set up and later clean up all of the picnic paraphernalia.

Picnic brunch group at overlook near HumpbackRocks

>> Overlook >> Trail sign >> Food table >> Picnic table 1 >> Picnic table 2 >> Picnic table 3 >> Picnickers

Montage 09 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Wood Pewee, Cerulean Warbler, Indigo Bunting, American Redstart, Blue-headed Vireo, and in center, Red-tailed Hawk. (June 9)

Highland County field trip

On June 6, three Augusta Bird Club members went on a hastily-improvised field trip to Highland County, taking advantage of momentary good weather. They succeeded in spotting three main target species. At the Blue Grass cemetery, several Bobolinks were singing and displaying. A few miles north, two male Golden-winged Warblers were seen, along with other warblers, including a female Yellow Warbler in her nest. Finally, at Paddy Knob (on the southwest corner of Highland County, on the West Virginia state line), an elusive Mourning Warbler was briefly spotted, as well as Black-throated Blue Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, and a Least Flycatcher.

Ann Cline, Andrew Clem, Linda Corwin in Highland County
Montage 06 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Mourning Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Bobolink, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Least Flycatcher, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler (F) in nest!, and in center, Chestnut-sided Warbler. (June 6)

Swoope field trip

On June 2, John Spahr led five other Augusta Bird Club members on a field trip around the Swoope area, as part of the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project. The big highlight was when Nancy Lawler spotted a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest on a horizontal tree branch not far away, and soon the mother-to-be was seen in the nest! In a nearby tree, two Eastern Wood-Pewees seemed to be preparing a nest. Also close by were two Yellow-billed Cuckoos, but efforts to photograph them did not pan out.

Montage 02 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-headed Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Orchard Oriole (1st-yr. male), Willow Flycatcher, Bobolink, Eastern Wood Pewee, Ruby-throated Hummingbird (F) in nest!, American Goldfinch, and in center, Eastern Bluebird. (June 2)

Shenandoah Mountain Trail field trip

On May 24, seven Augusta Bird Club members went hiking along the Shenandoah Mountain Trail, going south about a mile from the Confederate Breastworks. The weather was almost perfect. Among the highlights were Yellow-billed Cuckoos (two heard, one glimpsed), Black-throated Green Warblers, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warblers (M&F), Ovenbirds, Scarlet Tanagers, and Eastern Wood-Pewees.

ShenandoahMountainTrail_group 2018
Montage 24 May 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Indigo Bunting, Red-tailed Hawk, Black-throated Green Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Raven, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, and Eastern Wood Pewee. (May 24)

Shenandoah Wetlands Bank field trip

On May 12, a group of Augusta Bird Club and Rockingham Bird Club members went to the Shenandoah Wetlands Bank, under special arrangements made by Allen Larner. (It is a special nature preserve closed to the general public.) Virginia Rails were heard calling in multiple locations, a hopeful sign of breeding activity. A variety of migrant birds and (year-round residents) were observed as well.

Montage 9 May 2018
Montage 12 May 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Eastern Towhee, Pileated Woodpecker, Willow Flycatcher, and two images of a Veery. (May 12)

Raptorthon 2018

Raptorthon 2018 on May 13 was a HUGE success! (We're calling it epic!) Our team, the Rockfish Gap Hawkwatchers (Vic Laubach, Betty Mooney, and Baxter Beamer) spent 15 hours driving nearly 300 miles birding throughout 2 states and 4 counties, with a major focus being on Highland County, VA. We had tremendous fun, the weather was gorgeous, there were birds everywhere, and it seemed that every location we came to yielded new species! Our efforts were rewarded with a total of 122 species. The biggest highlight of the day came at 5:30pm with the sighting of a Mississippi Kite in Weyers Cave, Augusta County. In terms of raptors, we ended up with 7 species (Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Mississippi Kite, Barn Owl, Barred Owl). As for warblers, we totaled 21 species.

by Vic Laubach


Mississippi Kite, on May 13. (Courtesy of Vic Laubach.)

Peak spring migration season is here!

If you haven't been outside looking for birds lately, you'd better hurry!

Montage 9 May 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Black-throated Green Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (M & F), Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and Red-headed Woodpecker.
(on Betsy Bell Hill, May 9.)

Green Heron

Green Heron (on Bell's Lane, May 7, courtesy of Ann Cline.)

Montage 7 May 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Orchard Orioles (1st-year male and adult male), Scarlet Tanager, Yellow Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Eastern Wood Pewee, and Red-tailed Hawk.
(on Bell's Lane and Betsy Bell Hill, May 7.)

Riverfest 2018

Riverfest 2018 - South River
Riverfest 2018 - Linda Matkins
Riverfest 2018 - Bonnie Hughes

Linda Matkins (upper photo) and Bonnie Hughes (lower photo) were among those helping at the Augusta Bird Club's table during Riverfest, April 28, 2018.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager, near Heathsville, VA in early May; courtesy of Ann Cline.

Montage 7 May 2018

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, at Augusta Springs, April 30.

McCormick's Farm field trip

April 18 was a good day for a field trip to McCormick's Farm in Raphine, Virginia. Nine birders conducted a walk for the Augusta Bird Club. Altogether, 41 species were noted. Observing the male and female Red-bellied Woodpecker at their nest hole was a beautiful sight, as were the five Blue-winged Teal. The Green Heron gave us all a fun show as well.

by Jo King

Montage 18 Apr 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Green Heron, American Goldfinch, 3 Brown-headed Cowbirds, Blue-winged Teal, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Osprey.
(At the McCormick's Farm field trip on April 18.).

McCormick's Mill Apr 2018

LEFT TO RIGHT: Mark and Betty Gatewood, Elaine Carwile, Dan Perkuchin, (?), Jo King, and Diane Holsinger, at the McCormick's Mill field trip on April 18.

Ridgeview Park field trip

On April 14, three ABC members went on a field trip to Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro, followed by a walk along the trails by the South River on the northeast side of town. Aside from the birds shown below, Blue-headed Vireos and a White-eyed Vireo were seen as well.

Montage 14 Apr 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Prairie Warbler, Pied-billed Grebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Osprey, and Brown Thrasher, at Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro, April 14.

McCormick's Mill field trip

On Wednesday, March 28th, Jo King led a good-sized group to McCormick's Mill in Raphine, Virginia, where they found 34 species, including Gadwall, Wigeon, Towhee, Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Great Blue Heron, among the "usual suspects."

by Bonnie Hughes

McCormick's Mill group Mar 2018

LEFT TO RIGHT: Peter Van Acker, Mark Gatewood, Mona Welliver, Dan Perkuchin (back), Jo King (front), Barbara Roman, and Tom Trykowski, at the McCormick's Mill field trip on March 28. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Hughes.

Bell's Lane field trip

On Monday, March 19th, five members of the Augusta Bird Club participated in a trip to Bell's Lane. It was definitely a chilly morning but we managed to get 45 species. Among the highlights (posted at were Wood Duck, Gadwalls, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawks, American Coots, Wilson's Snipes, American Kestrels, Eastern Phoebes, Tree Swallows, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Meadowlarks, and American Goldfinches.

by Penny Warren

Montage 19 Mar 2018

Photos by Andrew Clem

Short-eared Owl: an intimate portrait

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl, photographed at very close range by Allen Larner on Livick Road in Swoope around noon on March 13. Several other Short-eared Owls continue to be seen in that area, and along Bell's Lane on the northeast side of Staunton.

Birding in Florida

In January, Ann Cline traveled to Florida, where she photographed several very special birds. Here are some of the best photos she took:

American Bittern

American Bittern, at the Viera Wetlands, Florida.

Great Egret, frog

Great Egret enjoying "lunch" at the Viera Wetlands.

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills in St. Augustine, Florida. (Above photos courtesy of Ann Cline.)

Dinner at Bedlam 12 Feb 2018

Featured speaker John Coiner (at center, along with his wife) were the guests at our pre-meeting dinner on February 12, held at Bedlam Brewing in Staunton.

Owls continue to abound, and astound!

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl, on Bell's Lane, after dusk on Valentine's Day. As many as nine have been seen there at one time!

Barn Owl

Barn Owl, in Waynesboro, in mid-January. Photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.

Rare winter sighting: Baltimore Oriole!

Baltimore Oriole - Jan 2018
Baltimore Oriole - Jan 2018

Baltimore Oriole, in Waynesboro in early Febuary; photos courtesy of Susan Vermeulen Lancaster. According to Allen Larner, it is the eighth winter record for this area.

Madison Run Fire Road field trip

Weather conditions improved on January 27, as ten members and friends of the Augusta Bird Club went hiking along the Madison Run Fire Road, on the edge of the Shenandoah National Park near the town of Grottoes. Approximately 22 species were identified by sight or sound, including some at a nearby house with a feeder. The highlight was a brief view of a Ruffed Grouse that flushed from the bushes along the road. A Hermit Thrush and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were also seen. Afterwards, some of the participants paid a brief visit to Bell's Lane and saw two Sharp-shinned Hawks and a Northern Harrier.

by Andrew Clem

Montage 27 Jan 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: White-breasted Nuthatch, Hairy Woodpecker, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and in center, American Goldfinch.

Madison Run field trippers Jan 2018

LEFT TO RIGHT: Mark Gatewood, Herb Myers, Betty Gatewood, Dan Perkuchin, Jo King, Jean Smith, Stephen Petrowski, and William Leigh.

(Not pictured: Peter Van Acker and Andrew Clem.)

American Kestrel Jan 2018

American Kestrel, near the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, Jan. 23.

ABC bird montage small

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