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.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38807523

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.

Evan Spears
Farmville, VA
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