Three intrepid (or whatever word you think more appropriate) birders showed up for the regular monthly bird walk at Banshee Reeks on January 11th and in spite of the weather, a cold, in the 30’s rain and heavy fog, spent almost three hours birding.
After walking to the beaver pond where we found a dozen American Wigeon, we spent some time on the Old Field Trail, the Watercress Trail, the Greenway, the Twin Springs Trail, and then returned to the Visitor Center by way of the Greenway and the Tree Loop.
The highlight of the walk were very large mixed flocks comprised mostly of sparrows with a few other species mixed in. One flock of way over a hundred individuals crossed the path in front of us when we were on the Twin Spring Trail. We also found six of the seven woodpecker species found here in the winter. And while we saw several hundred individual sparrows, we found only five different species of sparrows.
The mixed flocks were mostly comprised of Dark-eyed Juncos, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, along with about 15 Field Sparrows and one or two Towhees. One of the small flocks also included four Golden-crowned Kinglets. And while there weren’t a lot of raptors, the ones we saw appeared to be as bedraggled by the wet as we were. And, of course, our greatest difficulty, was keeping the moisture off our binocular lenses and keeping them from fogging up which is very likely the reason we didn’t find any unusual sparrows in those very large mixed flocks.
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
Jan 11, 2014 8:00 AM – 10:45 AM
31 species (+2 other taxa)
Canada Goose, American Wigeon 12, Mallard 3, Bald Eagle 1, Red-shouldered Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 2, hawk sp. 2, Ring-billed Gull 35, Red-bellied Woodpecker 4, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4, Downy Woodpecker 5, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Northern Flicker 5, Pileated Woodpecker 1, Blue Jay 2, American Crow, Fish Crow, Carolina Chickadee 2, Tufted Titmouse 5, Carolina Wren 2, Golden-crowned Kinglet 4, American Robin 25, Northern Mockingbird 3, European Starling 5, Yellow-rumped Warbler 2, Eastern Towhee 1, Field Sparrow 15, Song Sparrow 75, White-throated Sparrow 75, Dark-eyed Junco 75, Northern Cardinal 15, blackbird sp. 25, American Goldfinch.