Nine of us showed up for the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s regular bird walk (every 4th Sat except Dec) at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northwestern Loudoun County near Harper’s Ferry. It was in the lower 30’s when we started and stayed surprisingly cool for awhile though it did finally warm up to almost 60.
One of our first birds occurred at the very beginning of the walk and alerted us to its presence with a thrush-like call that was similar to but not the chup of a Hermit Thrush but closer to the quip of a SWAINSON’S THRUSH.
It was perched in a tree near the small farm pond which is close to the Education Center and stayed there long enough to for all of us to get great looks at it and for one person to take a photo which we haven’t rec’d yet. All its diagnostics (distinct buffy eye ring, dull spotting on the chest & dull coloration on the back, & a total lack of tail-dipping the entire time we watched it) indicated a very late Swainson’s Thrush.
To top it off, when it finally flew away we listened to dif. thrushes on BirdJam and when it flew back in, it responded to the call of a Swainson’s Thrush. The late date for Swainson’s Thrush in the Maryland Yellow Book is Dec. 1; looking at Virginia’s Gold Book this may be a late record for VA. Hope the photos turns out. Interestingly enough we never found a Hermit Thrush in spite of being in pretty nice habitat for this species.
After watching the Swainson’s Thrush we crossed the berm next to the pond where there was lots of activity including our heard our first Brown Creeper of the walk(we saw three and heard at least that many in other locations), one of several we heard and three.
We also had several Golden-crowned Kinglets and at least two Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Other highlights included two Fox Sparrows, at least 6 Field Sparrows (but no Am. Tree Sparrows), more Juncos than we wanted to count, and a handful of hawks. Also surprising was the lack of any Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. All in all a nice walk on a pleasant late fall day.
Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at http://www.blueridgecenter.org. Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its many free activities can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.
Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co
See below for complete list of bird species seen:
Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship – MFF01, Loudoun, US-VA
Nov 26, 2011 7:45 AM – 10:45 AM
Turkey Vulture, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Swainson’s Thrush, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Field Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch.