Jay Fever (Adam, Ella, and Zach Stevenson and Nancy Reaves) started out on Friday, May 13 at 6:00 am. We began birding at Nancy Reave’s property off of Purcellville Road. It rained intermittently throughout the day, but it was the sort of cleansing, warm spring rain that buoys you up a bit. Once we walked around the Reaves’ property, we checked out Virt’s Pond on the corner of Purcellville Road and Route 9. We heard a Grasshopper Sparrow, which was a new bird for many in our group. Next, we drove over to Crooked Run Orchard as Uta Brown had graciously given us permission to bird on their property, and we ended our first morning of birding at the Chapman-DeMary Trail where we were happy to see a stunning male Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. In the afternoon a few members of our group drove up to Blackburn Trail Center off Appalachian Trail Road west of Round Hill and heard a few more warbler species — while also startling a southern flying squirrel out of its tree cavity.
On our second day of birding, we started out at the Blue Ridge Center and ran into another Birdathon team that was kind enough to help us identify a few warblers by ear that were stumping us. To end the day, we headed to eastern Loudoun where we visited Meadowbrook Farm Ponds, Bles Park and Beaverdam Reservoir. At Bles Park we were able to hear the Virginia Rail, which was especially surprising as soccer games were going on nearly all around the small marshy area it was hiding in. Throughout these last stops we also saw a few more warblers and friendly birders. The last bird we added to our list was a resilient Killdeer nesting in a gravelly undeveloped section of a strip mall in Purcellville. It was the first Birdathon for every member of our team, and we finished exhausted but content with a total of 84 bird species.