Bird-a-thon news from the Tweeters – Christine Perdue, Linda Millington, and Emily Southgate
We began our bird-a-thon on May 11th, a spectacularly beautiful day, by leading an LWC sponsored IMBD walk at Camp Highroad in western Loudoun County.
During the walk, we spotted Cerulean Warblers and Black-throated Blue Warblers on a wooded slope above Goose Creek; watched a distraction display by an Ovenbird which gave everyone close-up views; witnessed an unexpected fly-over by an Osprey; and discovered Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers feeding their chicks in a nest on a lofty branch in a tall sycamore by the pond where a Green Heron stood on the shoreline.
Our fifty-one species included Pine Warblers, Prairie Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, American Redstarts, Indigo Buntings, Northern Parulas, Eastern Wood Pewees, and Wood Thrush.
After the walk, we drove along Beaver Dam Bridge Road where a Barred Owl called, Eastern Meadowlarks perched on farm fences, and Common Yellowthroats skulked in hedge rows. Rough-winged Swallows swooped above a stone bridge across a creek. Then, we paused for lunch in Christine’s beautiful garden where we were joined by the usual feeder birds and serenaded by House Wrens all around.
After lunch, we traversed roads near Mountville. Along Pot House Road, near a small pond, we saw a bird on the ground which looked in the distance like a Brown Thrasher with no tail, and realized that it was a Veery! Emily was also side-swiped by a Pileated Woodpecker at this stop.
A Broad-winged Hawk soared near Frances Mill Road. We added Orchard Orioles, Savannah Sparrows, and Song Sparrows. Then, it was on to the National Beagle Club near Aldie where Yellow-breasted Chats, Eastern Towhees, Great Crested Flycatchers, and Ovenbirds sounded off in the dense foliage. It took a while, but we tracked down a chat, and as always, it was a thrill to see this gorgeous bird.
From there, we crossed the road to Mt. Pleasant farm with its beautiful red barn, home to countless Barn Swallows swirling above our heads. In a tall willow, we found a Warbling Vireo and stood underneath listening to its lovely song. We circled the pond where Red-winged Blackbirds flashed their red epaulets and a Baltimore Oriole sang from a tree top, his bright orange breast gleaming in the sunlight. All day, everyplace we went, we found Gray Catbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, and Chipping Sparrows in abundance.
We found a few great species near our respective homes. A Red-headed Woodpecker adorned a branch near Christine’s. At Emily’s, a female Wood Duck with three ducklings glided across a tiny pond, and a Killdeer performed her broken wing display near her nest in the coarse sand of a horse ring. Not too far from Linda’s house, we found our last bird of the day, a Solitary Sandpiper on a pond on Piney Swamp Road.
We had a great day. In the twelve hours we birded, we spent almost seven hours walking the back roads, paths, and trails in the forests, farms, and fields of Loudoun County. We ended our day with 77 species.
Thank you to Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy for supporting efforts that preserve and protect our beautiful habitat and ensure a future for many more bird-a-thons!