April 1, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Teals and grebes at Book Fair

I drove up to the Green Valley Book Fair this afternoon, and for the first time that I can remember, books were not my main objective. There have been recent reports of wintering water birds in that area, so I figured I might as well kill two ... well, you know. My first stop was "Leonard's Pond," north of Weyer's Cave, and sure enough I immediately spotted the Green-winged teals; there were ten of them, in all. To my surprise, however, no shore birds or swallows were present. Then I headed along some back roads toward Mount Crawford and soon arrived at the famed rural mecca for book lovers. This was the first time I had paid attention to the pond just to the west of the Book Fair, and I did spot two low-profile birds swimming and diving, one slightly darker than the other, along with two Mallards. The pond was about 200 yards away, however, so I had to trudge across the field to get close enough to pick out the field marks with my compact binoculars. After consulting my field guides back home, I confirmed that they were indeed the Horned grebes that have been reported there. That makes two more first-of-(winter)-season birds for me!