August 30, 2008
Not surprisingly, we saw a fair number of interesting birds during our extensive time outdoors in Virginia Beach last weekend, including at least three species for the first time in my life: Sanderlings (which I probably had seen before without identifying it), Royal Terns (likewise), and a Seaside Sparrow. (I'm not quite sure about the Wilson's Storm-Petrels; there was a flock of 20 or so small dark birds fluttering above the waves, and I don't know what else they could have been.) It was at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It was a nice treat to see several Brown-headed nuthatches at close range right at our campground. I had seen that species only once before, at Chincoteague in 1999 -- also at a campground!. Here is a fairly complete list of the more noteworthy birds that we saw, grouped according to location:
I also saw several large dark birds flying high over the ocean; my guess is that they were some species of Shearwater. During the pre-dawn hours at the campsite we heard, on successive nights, a Great Horned Owl and a Screech Owl. The latter spooked Jacqueline, and it was the first time I had heard one for sure. Finally, we saw White-tailed deer up close, a Raccoon, a number of turtles, and even some dolphins. All in all, it was a wonderful excursion into the world of Nature.