March 31, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Vireo, Cormorant, Blackbird

I had three interesting sightings at three different locations today, just in time to make it by the end of the month.

At the Peaks of Otter late this morning, I heard a strangely familiar song in the trees, and within a few minutes spotted my first Blue-headed Vireo of the season. Only one day later than my earliest-ever sighting of that species! (March 30, 2000)

In the town of Buchanan, I spotted a Double-crested Cormorant flying east over the James River. The orange beak patch was prominent, even 100+ feet up. It circled a few times to gain altitude, and then headed north over a ridge, crossing right in front of the crescent moon. Wow! Many Tree Swallows were zooming around, accompanied by a few Northern Rough-winged Swallows.

Finally, McCormick's Mill was much quieter than my visit there last week, but I did get a very good look at one of the Rusty Blackbirds (a male), carefully observing the beak shape and listening to the song to confirm that it was not a Brewer's Blackbird. Tree Swallows and Yellow-rumped warblers were also conspicuous.