Donna Quinn, Germaine Connolly, and Mary Ann Good took an impromptu “green” walk for St. Paddie’s Day at Balls Bluff National Cemetery along the Potomac north of Leesburg this past Saturday. Here is Mary Ann’s report:
Balls Bluff is a great place for wildflowers, which we enjoyed between birds. Birds not commonly heard singing were singing this morning as it warmed up and the fog cleared. What is more cheering than the Winter Wren’s tinkling song?
We also heard a song I’d never heard before and traced it to a Brown Creeper, which I’ve often heard delivering its call of 3 high thin notes, but never its full song before, repeated again and again.
Other highlights were a Barred Owl that we ran into twice and unexpectedly seeing four Red-shouldered Hawks circling together over the trees, with two additional ones calling from opposite sides. We couldn’t figure out what would have brought 4 together at this time of year.
There was also a very lovable Garter Snake that put up with a little snake-handling for photos, and of course wildflowers! Many varieties blooming and many more to come! The Bluebells are just on the verge of an amazing show. This is a gem of a spot in the spring.
Bird species seen: Canada Goose, Wood Duck – 4-6, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk – 6, Killdeer, Barred Owl – 2 (1 heard), Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, No. Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, E. Phoebe – 3, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, Car. Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper – singing, Carolina Wren, Winter Wren – singing, Golden-crowned Kinglet – 2, Am. Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, No. Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Am. Goldfinch.