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A male Blue Grosbeak was seen in the open pastures section of Bell's Lane on July 28.

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Augusta Bird Club members may submit rare bird sightings by using the Update page. For further information, or to report any unusual sightings, please contact the rare bird alert coordinator, Allen Larner.

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Birds of Augusta County book cover

Birds of Augusta County, edited by YuLee Larner. We still have copies available for a small donation; if interested, please contact Dan Perkuchin. They may also be found at local public libraries and school libraries.

August 2018
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Last news update: 09 Aug 2018

Our next "Birds & Brews, Wings & Wine" social hour will be: Thursday, August 23 at 6:00 PM at Plaza Azteca in Waynesboro.
Thursday, June 28th, 5:30 p.m., at Table 44, located at 300 Church Street, near Sunspots Studio in Staunton.
Sorrel's Lounge in the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, Staunton on March 26 at 6:00 PM. RSVP to Peter Van Acker by March 22. 6:00 PM on Tuesday, February 27 at the Depot at 42 Middlebrook Ave, Staunton. Please RSVP by February 26 to Peter Van Acker.
6:00 PM on Tuesday, January 30 at the Fishin' Pig, 117 Apple Tree Lane, in Waynesboro. (It's just off I-64 next to the Best Western.)
Thursday, October 26 at the Yelping Dog, downtown Staunton, starting at 6:00 PM; please RSVP to Peter Van Acker. Stable Craft Brewery, 375 Madrid Rd, Waynesboro, VA 22980

Birds of Augusta County:
new edition!

The complete updated Birds of Augusta County (4th ed., 2016) is now available online: Birds_of_Augusta_County_2016_4th_Ed.pdf

(NOTE: The link previously shown above was to a much more detailed historical records document, not suitable for public use. Thanks to Allen Larner for calling attention to the error.) Many thanks to Dan Perkuchin for all the work he put into bringing our records up to date!

Montage 30 Jun 2018

Blue Grosbeak (male), on Bell's Lane. (July 28, 2018)

"New" birding hot spot: Dowell's Draft

In the course of doing surveys for the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project (see news items below), on June 30 Andrew Clem "discovered" a birding hot spot that was previously unknown to the local birding community: Dowell's Draft, which is close to Braley Pond and Chimney Hollow, near the village of West Augusta. Near the trail head, an Acadian Flycatcher was singing, along with Ovenbirds and Worm-eating Warblers. At least two Northern Parulas were heard and seen just a bit further along the fire road. The highlight was a singing Prairie Warbler, briefly scuffling with another bird, presumably of the same species. A couple hundred yards after that, another Prairie Warbler was singing, and several Black and White Warblers and American Redstarts were making a racket, probable families in both cases. After a stream crossing, the trail begins a long uphill climb toward the east. Along the way, Scarlet Tanagers and Red-eyed Vireos were seen, and Pine Warblers were heard. At a clearing near the summit of Chestnut Oak Knob were Indigo Buntings, Eastern Towhees, and Worm-eating Warblers.

Montage 30 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Parula, Prairie Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, and in center, Indigo Bunting and Red-bellied Woodpecker. (June 30, 2018)

Dowell's Draft happens to be located in or adjacent to the right of way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, which began to clear a wide swath of trees in western Augusta County this past spring. How this project will affect birds and other wildlife remains to be seen...

A second visit to Dowell's Draft on July 10 yielded mutliple Northern Parulas once again, as well as Ovenbirds and Worm-eating Warblers, but no Prairie Warblers.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dowells Draft

The future course of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in Dowells Draft. (July 10, 2018)

On July 14, Penny Warren, Ann Cline, and Andrew Clem made a follow-up visit to Dowell's Draft, seeing or hearing most of the same birds as before. Most importantly, a singing male Prairie Warbler was photographed, confirming probable breeding activity in that location. Another nice surprise (not previously seen there) was a Black-throated Green Warbler, either female or juvenile. There will probably be a field trip to Dowell's Draft in early September.

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler at Dowell's Draft, July 14, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Ann Cline)

Northern Parula

Northern Parula at Dowell's Draft, July 14, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Ann Cline)

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat along Balsley Road east of Staunton, July 15, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Ann Cline)

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)

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