On a warm and calm morning on October 23, a group of 20 nature enthusiasts gathered at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship for a three-mile guided bird walk through forested trails and verdant meadows.
Highlights included a loudly vocalizing Red-shouldered Hawk pair, impressive flocks of Cedar Waxwings, a cooperative and surprisingly colorful Palm Warbler and good looks at both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. A mystery bird call heard throughout the three-hour walk stumped several birders, but leader Joe Coleman was not fooled by the calls of Spring Peepers. The final species count for the morning was 34 bird species and one frog.
Among the group of birders were five young participants, whose sharp ears and eyes did not go unappreciated by some of the older hikers. Other assists came from Greyson Steward who first located the small flock of Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Esther who helped ID a Blue-headed Vireo with her photography skills.
The walk was enriched by Joe Coleman’s insights into the history of the area and co-lead Larry Meade’s ability to explain the nuances of sparrow calls.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy schedules three regular bird walks most months, one at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship on the fourth Saturday of the month except in December, one at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve on the second Saturday of the month, and one at Bles Park on the third Sunday of the month. These are free events, and everyone is welcome at these walks although registration is required.