Date: 2/19/18 2:48 pm
From: kurtcapt87--- via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Atlas Activities this Weekend, Feb 17-19, 2019

I got into the swing of things for this Third Year of the Virginia's
Breeding Bird Atlas. A quick stop Friday added a Bald Eagle ON at a nest
site in Mt Vernon CW. The bird was down low in the nest, so I used a big of
high ground from a distance to scope the female moving about in the nest
cup, her back slightly projecting above the top of the cup.

Saturday Marc Ribaudo and I joined forces. There are not too many species
in "safe date" range as nearly all are migrants or still in winter wandering
mode. That was clear for the vultures as we found large kettles and singles
on buildings along the Potomac (in otherwise open areas) - timing consistent
with the chart the Atlas tool kit provides. We managed to find a silent
Barred Owl at Cockpit Pt, Pr Wm Co (Quantico CE, code "H"), plus a pair
performing "monkey calls" in the Widewater area of Stafford Co (Widewater
SW, code "P"). Plus we tallied 2 different Bald Eagle nests ON in two
blocks in Stafford (Widewater SW and CW) near the Aquia River.

Sunday I linked up with Steve Johnson and Lynn Rafferty. We noted a Bald
Eagle nest near Lake Arrowhead in Stafford Co (Storck NE) with two gray
downy young! We looked for other raptor nests but found only one empty (but
apparently new) nest near Tenerife Rd in Fauquier Co. I should note that it
was a good raptor migration day, esp. for Red-shouldered Hawks as we saw
over 20 (some seemed to be displaying, but since this species continues to
migrate into early April, a breeding code was not assigned).

That evening I visited a few sites in the area known as Meadowood West in
the Fort Belvoir CW block. No owls! But there was one displaying American
Woodcock at the meadow near the Giles Run Trailhead off of Old Colchester
Rd. Of course, woodcock are migrating so no breeding code. Yet, this
location has many of the qualities Ashley Peele described in her Atlas
article on woodcocks and is worth visiting later in the season.

Today (Sunday) Rich Rieger, Sherman Suter and I first started at Burke Lake,
re-finding the Red-necked Grebe. We then motored to Lake Manassas and found
one of the Bald Eagle nests there quite occupied. (also, 500+ Common
Mergansers). We then moved to the Middleburg SE block and found 2
Red-shouldered nests apparently under construction, one nest with maker
unknown, and one likely Red-tailed nest (but no Red-tail evident). We noted
the locations of the empty nests for a re-visit. Also found a Barred Owl
low on a branch near one of the roads - it was not in appropriate habitat
which means this bird is still wandering bit, consistent with the March 1
safe date for the piedmont.

Best of Luck to All in your Atlas-ing Efforts!

Kurt Gaskill

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