Approx. 15 birders joined Laura Weidner and Mary Ann Good for the monthly (2nd Sat.) bird walk at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. Prior to the 8:00 walk, Mary Ann and Gerry Hawkins spent 45 minutes surveying the nearby Dulles Wetlands for LWC’s Loudoun Co. Bird Atlas.
We were pleased and surprised to find a breeding plumaged LITTLE BLUE HERON on the spit of the island in the middle of the water, next to a Green Heron, a rare find in Loudoun Co., especially prior to breeding dispersal. A pair of Willow Flycatchers sang and interacted, as did at least 3 male Yellow Warblers, and a Northern Parula was heard nearby.
The second-most-exciting find of the morning was an adult Red-headed Woodpecker perched at the top of a tall tree in the field by the visitor center of Banshee Reeks. It raised hopes that they will re-inhabit their abandoned colony at the Beaver Pond.
Other highlights well seen by all were an Osprey, adult Bald Eagle, not 2 but 3 Am. Kestrels in the field they frequent, more Willow Flycatchers, Prairie Warbler (this one heard only), and two pairs of Blue Grosbeaks! We were also delighted to spot a young Raccoon looking back at us from his resting spot in a tree.
At the banding station, the young birder in our group who had expressed his hope of getting a look at a Wood Thrush got one better – he got to hold and release one after it had been banded!
Following is the list of 65 species for the morning (Dulles Wetlands sightings, where applicable, are second):
Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron – 0/1, Green Heron – 1/1, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Canada Goose, Wood Duck – 0/2, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Am. Kestrel – 3, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo – 1, Chimney Swift, Red-headed Woodpecker – 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, E. Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher – 2/2, E. Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, E. Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, Raven – 1, Tree Swallow, No. Rough-Winged Swallow – 0/1, Barn Swallow, Car. Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, E. Bluebird, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, No. Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Eur. Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler – 1/3, Prairie Warbler – 1, Ovenbird – 3, Common Yellowthroat, Scarlet Tanager – 4, Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, No. Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak – 3, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird. Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch