Date: 5/7/18 7:34 pm
From: kurtcapt87--- via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [VA-bird] Atlasing with Migrants May 5&6
VA BIRDers,

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?

Kurt Gaskill







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