While the walk at northwestern Loudoun County’s Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship this past Saturday began with cool temperatures (48) and drizzle, it quickly turned into a great morning of birding with 87 species.
Several species were found by Gerry Hawkins and the others who arrived early around the pond near the Education Center and then we all traveled to the southern part of the center, entering at Arnold Road and then taking the Sweet Run Loop, Butterfly Alley, and Old Bridge Trails, finally wrapping up around noon.
Highlights were 19 warbler species (including Cerulean, Blue-winged, Tennessee, Prothonotary, Hooded) , four vireo species, a White-crowned Sparrow, nice looks at both Swainson’s Thrush and Veery – see Hawkins’ photograph – and glances of a couple more catharus species that disappeared too quickly to identify, and great looks at Scarlet Tanagers. When we returned to our cars at Arnold Road we found in the meadows there not only more Eastern Meadowlarks, the Red-headed Woodpecker, a Grasshopper Sparrow, and another Blue-winged Warbler, but a kestrel and an Osprey as well. We also found some nice wildflowers, including a showy orchis. It was a great day of birding!
We also had some interesting misses including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Kentucky Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush.
This was one of Loudoun Wildlife’s Celebrating Birds walks, which began on May 1, included a program on warbler ID on May 3 and a Birdathon to raise funds for Loudoun Wildlife. Information on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship can be found at www.blueridgecenter.org/. Information on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s many free programs and field trips can be found at www.loudounwildlife.org.