With hopes of observing as many migrating birds as possible, 10 enthusiastic birders attended the monthly bird walk at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve on Saturday, May 13. It was an overcast morning with temperatures around 70 degrees. The forecasted rain held off except for two showers that passed quickly.
The field trip was led by Dori Rhodes, Joe Coleman and Mike Scott, who got off to an exciting start. Within a few hundred yards of the parking area, the group got great views of a Yellow-breasted Chat, a Blue Grosbeak and a Yellow Warbler. They were also thrilled to get a front-row seat to a pair of Orchard Orioles carrying nesting material. As the group continued to survey the edge habitat where the meadow and wooded ecosystems meet, the unmistakable songs of White-eyed Vireos and Prairie Warblers could be heard to their left while Northern Parulas and Red-eyed Vireos vocalized high up in the treetops to the right.
It was a relatively light day for raptors, with no sightings of Cooper’s Hawks or any of the several Bald Eagles known to nest in the area. The group did, however, see and hear two Red-shouldered hawks and added a last-minute Red-tailed Hawk circling over the tree line while tallying up their species total on the porch of the Visitor Center. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird also visited the porch hoping to access the nectar feeders, but decided it was too crowded and kept flying.
Other notable species observed include Indigo Buntings, Cedar Waxwings, Brown Thrashers, Eastern Towhees and Eastern Kingbirds. 53 species were observed in total, which is a strong number for this time of year in Loudoun. The complete list of species can be viewed on eBird at: https://ebird.org/checklist/S137400142.