August 24, 2005 [LINK]

Early migrant warblers

A pleasant lunch hour repast in mild temperatures and clear skies at Montgomery Hall Park today turned into a surprisingly productive bird outing. I saw an Eastern wood pewee, a Ruby-throated hummingbird, a White-breasted nuthatch, as well as several Red-bellied woodpeckers and a Downy woodpecker. I walked over to investigate all the activity in the thick underbrush, and was delighted to see a female (or juvenile) Canada warbler. To my astonishment, I also saw a Golden-winged warbler, for the first time ever. I only glimpsed it for a few seconds, but it was enough to see the wing patch and bold head markings for a confident identification, so I can count it as the first domestic "life bird" for me so far this year. Finally, I saw a Red-eyed vireo and a Blackburnian warbler. All three of those warbler species nest in the mountains of western Augusta County, but are certainly not among the more common species. They are almost never ever seen in town except during migration season, so this is one of the first signs that autumn is on our doorstep.

We still see the male hummingbird at our back porch feeder every day, and sometimes a female hummer shows up as well.

UPDATE: I just learned that there is a new Web site for the Bath-Highland County Bird Club, to the west of Augusta County, and they are working on a project to monitor the number of Whip-poor-wills, a species that may be in decline. I've never seen a Whip-poor-will before, but after listening to the sound clip at (requires Real multimedia software), I'm pretty sure I've heard one at least a few times.