Date: 3/5/17 5:30 pm
From: Gerco H <drgerco...>
Subject: [Va-bird] FW: Highlights NVBC Trip to Highlands Co
The Northern Virginia Bird Club winter trip to Highlands Co (and the larger Staunton area) faced snow showers, strong winds, sunny moments and a few birds.
Friday afternoon Allen Larner showed us around the Staunton area. Where we found a nice selection of birds. Where all we birded in the Staunton area I do not remember, but it was fun. Despite the strong winds, we tallied over 40 species. Moments of excitement where when we saw two birds that went from Common Raven to Golden Eagles to finally Bald Eagles. ID challenges are always fun and this was one of them. At a local waste station we saw a Common Raven landing and sitting on the nest! Wow, that was cool. I think most people in the group had never seen this. Some of us tallied over a dozen American Kestrels along the way.
Friday highlights: Wood Ducks, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Wilson's Snipe, Tree Swallows, Bald Eagles, and over a dozen American Kestrels
Saturday morning, we stopped at Bells lane (North Staunton) to see if we could find White-crowned Sparrows. We had no luck, but we did see a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers. A group of three geese came flying over and one of them was white! Snow Goose perhaps? No, as it turned out it was a Ross' Goose. Nice and unexpected this sighting was. In Highlands County, we searched and found more American Kestrels and a single Golden Eagle (1st year bird). The local trout farm produced not only trout, but we also saw a few common mergansers with a few more Canada Goose. A few interpret birders went out to the local cemetery at night to listen for owls. In the distance a single Great-horned Owl was heard.
Saturday highlights: Ross' Goose (Staunton), Eastern Towhee, Golden Eagle (Highlands County), Common Mergansers, more Kestrels, Great-horned Owl, Black-capped Chickadee
Sunday morning, we spend more time in the Monterey area and found Brown Creeper, Fox Sparrow and a single Purple Finch along Rte 631. A detour to a pond in Bath County produced a nice variety of ducks, including Wood Duck, Gadwall, Mallard, American Wigeon (Male), Common and Hooded Mergansers. At the bridge in Bolar we found several Rusty Blackbird foraging in the water.
Sunday highlights: Wood Ducks, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Hooded and Common Mergansers (Bath County), Rusty Blackbirds (Bolar - Highlands County), Fox Sparrows, Brown Creeper, Purple Finch, and yet more kestrels.
I haven't calculated the total numbers yet, but I suspect to end up with nearly 2 dozen American Kestrels at this trip! Wow, nice to see that many.
All together we saw 65 species. The list in alphabetical order (may contain errors) is shown below
Gerco
Leesburg, VA

American Black Duck
American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Kestrel
American Robin
American Wigeon
Bald Eagle
Black Vulture
Black-capped Chickadee
Blue Jay
Brown Creeper
Canada Goose
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Common Grackle
Common Merganser
Common Raven
Cooper's Hawk
Dark-eyed Junco
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Towhee
European Starling
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Gadwall
Golden Eagle
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl
Hairy Woodpecker
Hooded Merganser
House Finch
House Sparrow
Killdeer
Mallard
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Harrier
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Shoveler
Pileated Woodpecker
Purple Finch
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird
Ring-necked Duck
Rock Pigeon
Ross's Goose
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Rusty Blackbird
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Song Sparrow
Tree Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Turkey Vulture
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Wild Turkey
Wilson's Snipe
Wood Duck
Yellow-rumped Warbler

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