Date: 8/24/17 11:15 pm From: Evan Spears via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: [Va-bird] Five Rarities at Staunton River State Park (Halifax County)
After excellent recent shorebird reports from upper Kerr Reservoir, Amanda Dymacek, Julian Dymacek, and I took an impromptu trip down to Staunton River State Park on Thursday evening (Aug. 24). Weather was very nice when we arrived with the sun at our backs. We walked from the Staunton River boat ramp parking area past the cabins to the point. Along the way we were surprised by the many birds in the field and trees near the cabins including two BALTIMORE ORIOLES.
There were hundreds of shorebirds along the sandbars in the Staunton River. We managed to get some distant photos of most of the rarities. Four BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS landed on the close sandbar right as we arrived at the water's edge. A little ways down the shore was a RUDDY TURNSTONE, a bird which had not been seen in the county since 1997. Farther down near the tip of the close sandbar was a LAUGHING GULL, which may be a county first. Across the Staunton River were more birds in the mud including a MARBLED GODWIT and two SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS.
Other highlights included 3 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 23 GREAT EGRETS, 13 SANDERLINGS, 1 WESTERN SANDPIPER, 15 RING-BILLED GULLS, and 9 CASPIAN TERNS. We ended the evening with at least 14 shorebird species as the sun set.
Remember, there is no parking allowed along the cabin loop; the walk from the boat ramp to the point is about half a mile. Most birds were identified by scope, but some birds may be close enough to get with just binoculars. This location is tough in the early morning since the sun rises directly behind the sandbars. Staunton View Park (on the other side of the river in Mecklenburg County) is better for morning viewing.