Here’s the report from Joe on yesterday’s walk:
Four of us showed up for the regular monthly bird walk at Banshee Reeks just as the snow stopped. Even though the sun never came out, it was a still and beautiful morning with about an inch of snow on the ground which let us compare numerous different animal tracks.
Until the wind picked up about 10:30 am it was rather comfortable in spite of the low temperatures. And while there weren’t a lot of birds, except for juncos and fly-over Canada Geese, we did observe some species that are rarely tallied at Banshee in January.
Almost immediately after starting on the walk we saw an adult BALD EAGLE and while a common sighting in this area they are always magnificent to watch. Later a juvenile NORTHERN HARRIER not only flew directly over our heads, it started flying back & forth over the fields while hunting for rodents. There was also an AMERICAN KESTREL perched on the wires.
For some reason and in spite of their abundance at the almost-contiguous Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project, KILLDEER are rarely observed at Banshee. We were thrilled when one flew by and pleased when we saw 2 BLACK DUCKS later. It was also nice to find a HAIRY WOODPECKER and watch a COMMON RAVEN fly over as well as see a SAVANNAH SPARROW near the beaver pond.
The regular monthly free bird walk (every 2nd Sat) at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (www.loudounwildlife.org) and the Friends of Banshee Reeks (www.bansheereeks.org)
Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co
Location: Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08
Observation date: 1/8/11
Number of species: 34
Canada Goose 75, American Black Duck 2, Mallard 16, Black Vulture 15, Turkey Vulture 4, Bald Eagle 1, Northern Harrier 1, Red-tailed Hawk (Eastern) 1, American Kestrel 1, Killdeer 1, Mourning Dove 2, Red-bellied Woodpecker 8, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1, Downy Woodpecker 1, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Pileated Woodpecker 2, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven 1, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch 2, Carolina Wren 1, Northern Mockingbird 3, Yellow-rumped Warbler 1, Eastern Towhee 1, Savannah Sparrow 1, Song Sparrow 8, White-throated Sparrow 11, Dark-eyed Junco 55, Northern Cardinal 2, Red-winged Blackbird 15, American Goldfinch 2.