Date: 5/7/18 7:34 pm From: kurtcapt87--- via VA-bird <va-bird...> Subject: [VA-bird] Atlasing with Migrants May 5&6
Another great weekend Atlasing. But the migrants made it tough! I started off on Possum Point Rd (Pr Wm Co, Quantico CE: a priority block) near sunrise Saturday. I managed a few confirmations, easy species like Carolina Wren, Barn Swallow, Mourning Dove, and Purple Martin. Yet the migrants kept me busy with 19 warblers tallied plus the now honorary warbler YB Chat. Perhaps if I had another set of eyes I could have done a bit better on the confirmations? I left with 85 species at 9 am so I could travel to the next block.
I arrived at Widewater CW at 9:18 am until about noon (this is another priority block for the Atlas; at this point, the priority blocks are, well, the priority for the Atlas and reports for non-priority blocks are of limited value). Despite missing the big migrant push, it was quite good given a confirm for Northern Parula nest building (pulling grass and then up to a nest site out of sight). There were 2 more confirms for this block, plus a few upgrades to Probable status. The great highlights were along the section of Brent Pt Rd through this forest valley (gravel road) which added Kentucky and Hooded Warblers plus a few Veerys (all coded as migrants despite singing!). In years past, Veery was a breeder in the DC metro area in forested stream valleys - we can only hope this is still true and will continue to monitor the situation. Plus, last week's young Barred Owl is looking a bit bigger and was more inquisitive Saturday, looking out of his tree hollow when I stopped to take his photo (I stayed in the car). It won't be long before this little owl is out and about. (Be sure to Atlas code your owl sightings! Not to mention the May 5th "Big Day" tallies for the Atlas!)
I finished the day mainly birding, checking Belmont Bay Marina for late ducks - I got lucky with a female White-winged Scoter plus Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, a Common Loon and a bunch of Coots. Afterwards, I visited the Lorton landfill site and tallied a Killdeer ON plus some meadowlarks and Savannah Sparrows. The day was good as I ended with 115 species at 3 pm.
On Sunday, Rich Rieger joined me for a visit to the priority block Middleburg SE (Pr Wm Co). Another fine day as we confirmed 8 species before noon and tallied 85 species. This past weekend was the peak period of migration in No. VA and is the great leveler - so most locations will have a great showing. Rich and I found 3 different migrant groups and managed 16 warbler species for this block which held highlights of Kentucky, Cape May and Blue-winged Warblers, plus Blue-headed Vireo and a Northern Harrier. But I must not forget the flyby Black-billed Cuckoo leaving a nice patch (which had a Prairie Warbler) and flying north to the woods behind a horse stable. An adult Coopers Hawk (probably female) was on the prowl flying SW from a wood lot over a field with Red-wingeds but no success; I think this mid-morning behavior makes it a local bird and coded it as "H"
Rich and I visited a few more place and although the birding was good, there were no other big standouts. On the way home we found a couple of YB Chats singing (if you call that singing!) at the Lorton fields (Fairfax Co) near the Barrett House. These fields are now getting a bit overgrown so perhaps the days of Bobolinks are over?