December 9, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Many finches, few sparrows

I took a morning walk along the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad trail for the first time in months, and right away had a nice surprise: a first-year Kestrel that landed in a nearby tree top to look for "breakfast." Later on, I saw my first Purple finches of the season, but relatively few White-throated sparrows and no Song sparrows. I'm still puzzled by the small number of those sparrows this fall and winter. Here is the complete list from today:

In other news, a Calliope hummingbird has been sighted near Lynchburg, way out of its range and out of its proper season. Given the extreme rarity of that species, I may try to go find it later this week. It normally is found in western states, and it would be a life bird for me. Also, a Snowy owl has been seen north of Ruckersville, along Route 29.