This past Sunday, January 23rd, 10 people joined leaders Liam and Laura McGranaghan on a Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy outing in search of Birds of Prey in central Loudoun County. In spite of the cold and windy conditions, the trip was enjoyed by all involved.
Not including the numerous vultures of both species, we saw a total of 41 raptors represented by 6 species. Highlights include a Barred owl near the Dulles Greenway Wetland Mitigation area, a lengthy and close viewing of a female Kestrel hovering for mice over a wetland along Evergreen Mills Road, and very good viewings of two Northern Harriers hunting the grassy fields along Spinks Ferry Road and Limestone School Road near Lucketts.
The group took a short hiatus from our raptor search to enjoy watching a group of Horned Larks feeding in a horse paddock along Limestone School road.
Two additional harriers were also seen late in the day along Montressor Road, but unfortunately renewed construction work in the area seems to be having an impact of the raptor numbers we have seen in the past.
Surprisingly absent from our trip were any sightings of Bald eagles and the only accipiter seen was a single Cooper’s hawk flashing through a neighborhood just after we left our meeting spot at Ida Lee Park.
Here is the full list of species we counted:
Northern Harrier 6
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 7
Red-tailed Hawk 20
American Kestrel 6
Barred owl 1