While we stayed together most of the time, we did split into two groups a couple of times for short time periods. The groups were led by Del Sargent, Joe Coleman, Dori Rhodes, and Elliott & Nancy Kirschbaum.
The highlights of the walk involved lots of breeding bird behavior among the 58 species, including five warbler species.
Four American Kestrels were seen together, an apparent family group; at one point the two adults rose high into the sky to chase a Red-tailed Hawk that was passing through their territory.
We also saw what appeared to be a family group of Belted Kingfishers along the Goose Creek. Right above the trail, three or four feet above the birder who found it, was an Acadian Flycatcher sitting in its nest.
Willow Flycatchers were found in two dif. locations & one case one there was apparently a male singing with a silent female sitting next to him who then disappeared into an Autumn Olive.
A very nice treat was seeing a bird that many of us hear a lot more than we see & seeing them more than once, Yellow-throated Vireos. One of them was agitated and worked on leading us away from a clump of trees (interestingly enough this is the first time in six years that Yellow-throated Vireos have been observed on the regular June bird walk).
A little ways down the trail from the vireo were two Yellow-breasted Chats who put on a pretty vigorous distraction display and gave us great looks in the process. In this same area we not only found recently fledged Towhees and Field Sparrows but the first of a half dozen singing Prairie Warblers.
Along side the trial near the Goose Creek two adult Catbirds were feeding two very young Catbirds who still had colorful gapes . And while we never found a Baltimore Oriole we had at least 10 Orchard Orioles including a family unit of adults and recently fledged young.
And while we were tallying on the porch at the Visitor Center a Blue Grosbeak landed in the scrub in front of the center to eat. All in all, a great day to go birding!
See below for the complete list of birds seen.
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); information on both and their upcoming events can be found on their websites.
Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08, Loudoun, US-VA
Jun 9, 2012 7:45 AM – 11:30 AM
58 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose X, Black Vulture 5, Turkey Vulture 3, Red-shouldered Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 1, American Kestrel 4, Rock Pigeon 2, Mourning Dove X, Chimney Swift 3, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Belted Kingfisher 4, Red-bellied Woodpecker 3, Downy Woodpecker 3, Pileated Woodpecker 1, Eastern Wood-Pewee X, Acadian Flycatcher X, Willow Flycatcher 3, Empidonax sp. 2, Eastern Phoebe 2, Great Crested Flycatcher 3, Eastern Kingbird 5, Yellow-throated Vireo 3, Red-eyed Vireo X, Blue Jay X, American Crow X, Fish Crow X, Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1, Tree Swallow 8, Carolina Chickadee X, Tufted Titmouse X, White-breasted Nuthatch X, Carolina Wren X, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 12, Eastern Bluebird X, Wood Thrush X, American Robin X, Gray Catbird X, Northern Mockingbird X, Brown Thrasher 2, European Starling X, Cedar Waxwing 3, Ovenbird 2, Common Yellowthroat 10, Yellow Warbler 2, Prairie Warbler 6, Yellow-breasted Chat 3, Eastern Towhee 5, Chipping Sparrow 1, Field Sparrow 15, Song Sparrow 1, Scarlet Tanager 3, Northern Cardinal X, Blue Grosbeak 1, Indigo Bunting 20, Red-winged Blackbird 6, Common Grackle 1, Brown-headed Cowbird 2, Orchard Oriole 8, American Goldfinch X
Prairie Warbler, by Nicole Hamilton, shown here in the photo.