Seventeen people enjoyed the regular 2nd Sat. of the month bird walk sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy & the Friends of Banshee Reeks this beautiful spring morning. While the temperature started at 42 degrees it quickly warmed up and lots of the birds were in song including many Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows, and American Goldfinches as well as a few Spring Peepers and a couple of Gray Tree Frogs.
Among the highlights of the 53 bird species, including four dif. warblers, were two very early Blackpoll Warblers found by three of the group (see below for their description of these two birds), a flyover Great Egret flashing in the sun, one Eastern Meadowlark, two dif. Barred Owls well-seen by everyone as they perched and checked us out as carefully as we did them, two male Purple Finches, and several, for many of us, first of season Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The spring wildflowers were great, esp. the carpets of spring beauty in the woods. And not only were a few Spring Azure butterflies seen, so was a single Gray Hairstreak. See below for complete eBird list of the birds seen at both locations.
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.
Good birding, Joe Coleman, near Bluemont, Loudoun Co
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve – MFF08, Loudoun, US-VA Apr 13, 2013 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM Protocol: Traveling 3.0 mile(s) 53 species
Canada Goose X, Wood Duck X, Great Blue Heron 3, Great Egret 1, Black Vulture X, Turkey Vulture X, Northern Harrier 1, Red-shouldered Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 1, Rock Pigeon 1, Mourning Dove X, Barred Owl 2, Belted Kingfisher 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker X, Downy Woodpecker X, Hairy Woodpecker 2, Northern Flicker X, Pileated Woodpecker 2, American Kestrel 2, Eastern Phoebe 2, Blue Jay X, American Crow X, Fish Crow X, Tree Swallow X, Carolina Chickadee X, Tufted Titmouse X, White-breasted Nuthatch X, Carolina Wren X, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 9, Eastern Bluebird X, Hermit Thrush 1, American Robin X, Northern Mockingbird X, Brown Thrasher X, European Starling X, Cedar Waxwing X, Louisiana Waterthrush 1, Blackpoll Warbler 2 Realizing that they had found a species much earlier than normal, Joanne Bradbury, Jon Rouse, and Steve Allen spent a long time studying two warblers flitting around the forest in Banshee Reeks. They determined they were two adult Blackpoll Warblers rather than anything else, including Black-and-White, because of the large white cheeks, the solid black cap, and white undertail coverts. They also noted the flitting behavior rather than the creeping gleaning that Black-and-white Warblers are prone to), Yellow-rumped Warbler 2, Prairie Warbler 1, Eastern Towhee 15, Chipping Sparrow 6, Field Sparrow 15, Song Sparrow X, White-throated Sparrow X, Northern Cardinal X, Red-winged Blackbird X, Eastern Meadowlark 1, Brown-headed Cowbird 3, Purple Finch 2, House Finch 1, American Goldfinch 15