July Birding at the Blue Ridge Center
Ten people, including a couple celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary, participated in the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s free monthly bird walk, led by Joe Coleman & Larry Meade, at the Blue Ridge Center this morning and found 56 species in the fields and woods there.
After listening to a couple of Grasshopper Sparrows and the first of many (maybe 30) Indigo Buntings we carpooled to the southern edge of the center at the end of Sawmill Rd. From there we walked along the western edge of the field where we heard and saw a variety of birds including a couple of White-eyed Vireos but missed on the Blue-winged Warblers and Chats that nest in that area.
We then followed Butterfly Alley to Sweet Run & into the dense forest along the stream to the Arnold Rd Trail. Within 200 yds of entering the woods we started hearing numerous Acadian Flycatchers (about one every 100 yards or so) and a few Wood Thrushes, but not a single Kentucky Warbler or Ovenbird, both of which were common in this area just a few weeks ago. However, we did start hearing and then finally got great looks at several Scarlet Tanagers, a few of which were beginning to molt.
We took a side trip to Gordon Pond where we heard and saw a number of the same forest species as before and added a few more including several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. After visiting the Gordon Pond we returned to the Little Turtle Trail where a few of us heard a Worm-eating Warbler.
After crossing Piney Run we took the Farmstead Loop back to the Visitor Center, arriving there about 12:15. There was a flurry of activity around the small pond near the Visitor Center, including a very cooperative Louisiana Waterthrush which posed for photos. We added a couple more species, including a Raven, while tallying on the porch.
When we drove back to Sawmill Rd to pick up our cars about 12:30 there was a Blue-winged Warbler in the hedgerow next to the parking area.
In addition to a lot of different butterflies, we also saw two large Black Snakes, one high in the trees where there was a lot of bird activity and one high on the side of one of the old stone houses on the center. There were also American Toads all along the trail and numerous green frogs at the pond. It was a great day for exploring Loudoun nature!
Al Eddy caught some great nature and wildlife photos during the walk and a few are included here in this post.
Number of species: 56
Green Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, ChimneySwift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Blue-winged Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Common Grackle, Orchard Oriole, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow