Our regular monthly walk at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve was held as scheduled on Saturday, March 14. Nineteen people showed up and expressed their appreciation for the walk not being canceled. Because practicing “social distancing” is very practical for most outdoor activities, Loudoun Wildlife has decided to continue our walks, asking our participants to practice appropriate hygiene and not come out if they’re feeling unwell. Leaders at Banshee Reeks included Joe Coleman, Mary Ann Good, Michael Myers, Mike Sciortino, and Jane Yocom.
It was a beautiful day for a walk and we enjoyed observing 39 species at Banshee. The highlights of the walk there included first of season (for most of us) Tree Swallows and a Brown Thrasher, good looks at a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Fox Sparrow and Common Mergansers on three different occasions with flocks of 13 and three flying over as well as a pair on the Goose Creek.
Because Loudoun Wildlife wanted to evaluate the conditions on the Dulles Greenway Wetlands Mitigation Project for future small public walks there, a few of us went over there after the Banshee Reeks walk. The Wetlands has greatly grown up in the past few years and is covered in a lot more water because of the extensive beaver activity and has virtually none of the mud banks which once attracted so many shorebirds. Furthermore, the trails have grown dense with vegetation so while the Dulles Greenway Wetlands may
no longer be an easy place for humans to visit, it has developed into a wonderful wetlands and is great for the critters.
Our highlights there were several ducks in flight, including Northern Shovelers, Wood Ducks, Gadwall, and Hooded Mergansers, all of which easily and quickly disappeared in the extensively flooded willows. We also confirmed a Bald Eagle in its nest, found a handful of Swamp Sparrows, and enjoyed several Tree Swallows chittering overhead.
For a complete list of all the birds observed at Banshee Reeks see the eBird report at https://ebird.org/checklist/S65773819. For the Dulles Greenway Wetlands see https://ebird.org/checklist/S65780181
The regular monthly free bird walk (every second Saturday) at the Banshee Reeks Nature preserve is sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Friends of Banshee Reeks. You can also join us for our regular every third Sunday walk at Bles Park and regular every fourth Saturday walk at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in northwestern Loudoun County near Harper’s Ferry.