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2022 Holiday Party

On Monday, December 12, the Augusta Bird Club held its annual Holiday Party for the first time since 2019, before the covid-19 pandemic. For the time being, at least, normality has returned! As usual, Linda Matkins was in charge of the festivities, handing out bird books and other fabulous prizes to the lucky attendees. Club President Rich Wood put together a visual display consisting of special bird photographs taken by club members over the past few years. The pot luck dinner provided great nourishment to all.

2022 Holiday Party
2022 Holiday Party
2022 Holiday Party
2022 Holiday Party
2022 Holiday Party

Early winter (???) birds

In late November, a MacGillivray's Warbler was spotted among the reeds at the west end of Lake Shenandoah in Rockingham County. It is only the third one of this species ever recorded in Virginia. It breeds in the Rocky Mountain states, as far northwest as British Columbia. That may explain its hardiness in enduring cold weather in this region.

MacGillivrays Warbler

MacGillivray's Warbler (Lake Shenandoah, Dec. 4)

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush (Mont. Hall Park, Dec. 3)

Late autumn birds

Well over a dozen club members joined Penny Warren's walk along Bell's Lane on November 28, enjoying pleasant temperatures and clear skies. Some of the highlights are shown below, and a few members also had a great closeup view of a Red-tailed Hawk.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Eastern Bluebird, American Coot, Double-crested Cormorant, Northern Harrier (M), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (M), and Red-shouldered Hawk, along Bell's Lane on November 28.

Mid-autumn birds

Vesper Sparrow, in Swoope along Livick Road on November 1. (Courtesy of Vic Laubach.)

Scarlet Tanager, in Jolivue September 27. (Courtesy of Warren Faught)

The Augusta Bird Club field trip to Augusta Springs on October 15 proved to be very fruitful, thanks in great measure to Kristin Fuoco (who gave the presentation at our September meeting) and her colleague, Javier. The highlights are shown below, including some unusually late migrating species as well as one of the many warblers seen in Swoope by some of the members on the way back to Staunton.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Augusta Springs, October 15. (Courtesy of Tom Roberts)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Augusta Springs, October 15. (Courtesy of Tom Roberts)

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Augusta Springs, October 15. (Courtesy of Tom Roberts)

Palm Warbler, in Swoope, October 15.

American Woodcock, Dolly Sods, West Virginia, mid-October. (Courtesy of Antonio Martinez)

Tennessee Warbler, October 3. (Courtesy of Al Wolf)

Black-throated Green Warblers, October 1. (Courtesy of Rich Wood)

Early autumn birds

Black-and-white Warbler (soaking up the sun), east of Verona in early September. (Courtesy of Ann Cline)

Cape May Warbler (taking a bath), east of Verona in early September. (Courtesy of Ann Cline)

On September 10, five members of the Augusta Bird Club took a four-mile hike through "uncharted territory" to Bother Knob, a forested mountain peak on the West Virginia border. We had brief views of a variety of warblers, excellent looks at Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, as well as a Bald Eagle soaring up above.

by Andrew Clem

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cedar Waxwing, Rose-breasted Grosbeak (F), American Goldfinch (M), American Redstart (F/J), Dark-eyed Junco, Palm Warbler, Bald Eagle, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Red-shouldered Hawk, and (in left center) Black & white Warbler. (near Bother Knob, Sept. 10).

A pair of Sanderlings, a rare migratory transient in this area, paid a visit to Leonard's Pond last month. This photo was taken on Sept. 11.

On the morning of September 12 five members of the Augusta Bird Club joined in on a bird walk on Bell's Lane. Sun and blue skies greeted us, as well as quickly rising humidity levels again! We tallied 30 species plus one warbler yet to be identified... Some highlights: Wood Ducks; Red-bellied, Downy, and Hairy Woodpeckers, and N. Flicker; American Kestrel, E. Phoebe, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, and Indigo Bunting. I thank those who participated and helped to find and to photograph many of the birds!

by Penny Warren

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-tailed Hawk, American Redstart (F/J), Brown Thrasher, Indigo Bunting (F/J), American Kestrel (M), and (in center) Northern Flicker (M). (Bell's Lane, Sept. 12).

Early on September 17, Allen Larner led several ABC members on a field trip along Rt. 610 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Highlights included a Swainson's Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, Blackburnian Warbler, and male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Afterwards, the participants joined the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch open house at the Afton Inn.

by Andrew Clem

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Baltimore Oriole, Blackburnian Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak (M), Northern Parula, Swainson's Thrush, flycatcher, and (in center) Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Scarlet Tanager (F). (Blue Ridge Parkway, Sept. 17).

Late summer birds

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-tailed Hawk, probable Summer Tanager*, Field Sparrow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Towhee, and (in center) Yellow Warbler. (Bell's Lane, August 6)
* This bird was seen in the Mill Place industrial park in Verona.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager (F/J), Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Blue-headed Vireo. (Dowell's Draft trail, July 23)

American Avocet; photo courtesy of Vic Laubach. (Target pond in Stuarts Draft, July 23)

Recent field trips, etc.

On Wednesday June 29 Andrew Clem went for a six-plus mile "field trip" hike along the Shenandoah Mountain trail south of the Confederate Breastworks. He was later joined by Huck Hutchens, in spectacular weather conditions with numerous neotropical migrants along the trail. Besides the seven warbler species shown below, Ovenbirds, a Worm-eating Warbler, and a Black-and-white Warbler were seen, a Yellow-rumped Warbler was heard, and several Indigo Buntings, Blue-headed Vireos, Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Wood Pewees made appearances as well.

2022 Jun 29

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Chestnut-sided Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warblers (M & F), Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Canada Warbler. (Shenandoah Mountain Trail, June 29)

by Andrew Clem

Old McCormick had a Farm...

The second day of Summer (June 22) was quite warm but four intrepid birders from the Augusta Bird Club conducted a great outing to McCormick's Mill Farm in Raphine. Fifty species were recorded with a new species for the Farm (#172) being a Yellow-breasted Chat. Other highlights included Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, American Goldfinch, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

by Josephine King

Big weekend in Highland County

On Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12, over a dozen members of the Augusta Bird Club went to Highland County to look for specialized birds that are seldom seen closer to home. On Saturday morning, they hiked for over two miles along trails lined by Mountain Laurel blossoms at the Laurel Fork Sapsuckers maple sugar farm, and in the afternoon they went to Bramble Hill, where the late Margaret O'Bryan used to live. On Sunday morning they stopped at a number of places along Laurel Fork Road, and the highlights were a Blackburnian Warbler and a Canada Warbler. A total count of species that were observed is pending, but these photos give a rough idea of the more notable sightings...

2022 Jun 11

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Bald Eagle, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Orchard Oriole, Ovenbird, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker, and in center, Indigo Bunting and Scarlet Tanager. (New Hampden, Laurel Fork Sapsuckers Farm, and Bramble Hill, June 11)

ABC group at Bramble Hill

ABC members at Bramble Hill, June 11

Mountain Laurel flowers, Jack Holt

Mountain Laurel flowers & Jack Holt, June 11

2022 Jun 12

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Bobolink, Canada Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Bald Eagle, Yellow Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and in center, Alder Flycatcher. (New Hampden, Straight Fork, and Laurel Fork, June 12)

ABC group at Straight Fork

ABC members at Straight Fork, June 12

On May 20 Andrew Clem led a field trip at the Mountain Home picnic area along Ramsey's Draft in western Augusta County. There weren't that many birds in the low area, so we hiked uphill for just a bit along the Road Hollow trail. Among the birds seen were a Blue-headed Vireo, a Blackburnian Warbler, Scarlet Tanagers, a Black-throated Green Warbler, and a Black-and-white Warbler. On our way back to Staunton, we stopped at the Georgia Camp trail head and had a nice closeup view of an Acadian Flycatcher!

by Andrew Clem

Bonnie Hughes, Jo King, and Zella at Ramsey's Draft

Bonnie Hughes, Jo King, and Zella at Ramsey's Draft, May 20

Rapthorthon 2022

On May 11, the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watchers team (Vic Laubach, Penny Warren, Rich Wood, and Ezra Staengl) conducted our 10th annual Raptorthon to raise funds for the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) and our local Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch. We spent the day birding in Highland and Augusta Counties, ending up with 98 species total, including 15 warblers and 7 raptors (Barred Owl, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Kestrel, and Cooper's, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks). The weather was beautiful: sunny all day with light breezes and gradually warming in the afternoon.

by Vic Laubach

Mourning Warbler

Mourning Warbler in Highland County on May 11; photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.

Young Bald Eagle

Young Bald Eagle in Highland County on May 11; photo courtesy of Vic Laubach.

Young Bald Eagle

Raptorthon 2022 participants: Vic Laubach, Penny Warren, Rich Wood, and Ezra Staengl.

Recent bird sightings of note

Magnolia Warbler M

Magnolia Warbler (M), along Bell's Lane on May 9.

Baltimore Oriole M

Baltimore Oriole (M), along Bell's Lane on May 9.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak F

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (F), in Stuarts Draft on May 9. Photo courtesy of Brenda Tekin.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker, in Stuarts Draft on May 7. Photo courtesy of Brenda Tekin.


Bobolinks (M) along Bell's Lane on May 6. Photo courtesy of Ann Cline.

May 5 birds

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Pileated woodpecker, Rose-breasted Grosbeak (M), Indigo bunting (M) with Blue Jay, Eastern Towhee (M) and Northern Cardinal (F), at the home of Sandy Lyon in Lone Fountain on May 5. Photos courtesy of Bonnie Rhyder.

Kites n Kritters 2022

Kites n Kritters 2022 cars

Kites n Kritters 2022 barn

The weather was almost perfect for the 2022 Kites n Kritters event held in the Bell's Lane area on April 23. The Augusta Bird Club was among many local participating organizations devoted to environmental issues and wildlife conservation.

Birding ventures to other parts of the world

Georgian bird montage

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Blackbird, European Robin, Syrian Woodpecker, Eurasian Green Woodpecker and Hooded Crow, in various parts of the Republic of Georgia in December; photos courtesy of Penny Warren.

Chestnut-crowned Antpitta

Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, in Colombia in December; photo courtesy of Lynne Parks.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet M

"Mystery bird" (stay tuned!), in Colombia December; photo courtesy of Lynne Parks.

Augusta Bird Club © 2024 (Photographs are used with permission.