Birds at the Blue Ridge Center
Twenty-six people participated in the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s free monthly bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES). The walk was led by Joe Coleman and Larry Meade who were great at pointing out birds and helping newer birders so we all got good looks.
As we walked through the meadows of the organic farm and through the forest along Arnold Road, we found 59 different species of birds and a nice variety of butterflies. It was a delightful day to be outside and the birding was great though the heavily-leafed out trees did make it difficult to find many of the extensively vocalizing birds. We had fun at one point trying to locate an Acadian Flycatcher (pictured below) that was calling no more than 20 feet in front of us, demonstrating its great camouflaging.
Our most interesting sighting occurred towards the end of the walk near noon when there were only about a dozen of us left. We came across a bird that sounded just like a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER but looked just like a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. It was in an area, near the Visitor Center, where we also heard and saw two or three BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS.
Other highlights were several vocalizing (& 1 seen) YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS, a HAIRY WOODPECKER, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE on a nest, nine warbler species including BLUE-WINGED, CERULEAN, KENTUCKY, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, as well as several SCARLET TANAGERS and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS. As a testament to how quickly the spring migration happens, the only species we encountered that was clearly a migrant was the BLACKPOLL WARBLER, of which we saw three: two males and one female.
Following is the full list of the birds heard and seen during our walk: Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher , Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Blue-winged Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat. Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Common Grackle, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow