Date: 5/16/18 5:30 am
From: Rowe, Richard A, 'Dick' via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [VA-bird] Recent Birding in Rockbridge County
Yesterday, to my surprise and pleasure, I had a Bobolink singing at my research site, Sky Farm. Their song is so beautiful and it made a lovely background noise while I checked nest boxes. I'm hoping it might stay, but I didn't hear/see a female. As a note, the closest nesting Bobolinks to Lexington that I know of are at Michael Godfrey's farm in Buffalo Gap (west of Staunton). So, Lexington/Sky Farm aren't that far away. In addition to the Bobolink, I had Ravens, a Grasshopper Sparrow, several Orchard Orioles (3-4 males), Baltimore Orioles, one Yellow-breasted Chat, Field Sparrows, too many Tree Swallows (I have 26 active nests with about 125 eggs), Bluebirds (I have 6 nests, 4 with nestlings), Barn Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles, and likely a few others.

At McCormick's Farm near Raphine (exit 205 on I-81), I was surprised to hear Red-headed Woodpeckers. I've never heard or seen them there. They were along the gravel road just past the first little woodlot on the right. One, the male?, was very vocal. Other birds at McCormick's Farm, Great Blue Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Towhees, 3 Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Baltimore Orioles (sycamores near front pond), Warbling Vireos (in the sycamores near the mill), Barn Swallows and a few Cliff Swallows.

Saturday on the BRP: I birded mainly at Yankee Horse Ridge pull off (mile post 34). It's one of my favorite places to bird. Along the old logging railroad, there were Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Canada Warblers, Ovenbirds, Scarlet Tanagers, Redstarts, 3 vireos - Red-eyed, Blue-headed, and Yellow-throated, Wood Thrushes, Veerys, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and a few Juncos.

If you're out looking for warblers, I'd go soon. The leaves are starting to come out up high along the P'way.

I've posted a few photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vmibiology/

Dick Rowe
VMI Biology Dept

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