August 29, 2011 [CLICK HERE to see proper format.][LINK / comment]

White hummingbird in town??!!

After returning form my recent trip to the Midwest, I had a lot of e-mails to get caught up on, and one of those was an alert about an albino hummingbird right here in Staunton! It seemed to good to be true, but I quickly called the folks who have been lucky to be hosting this little marvel of nature, and after a wait of 20 minutes or so on their back patio, I was able to see and photograph it. Believe it or not!!! Many thanks to Ed and Nancy Lawler for sharing this joy of nature.

Albino hummingbird

Albino hummingbird, in Staunton, VA. (Aug. 24, 2011)

I also uploaded a brief video to YouTube, the first one I have done in over a year.

Alleghany County bird census

Back in June, I participated in a census of birds in Alleghany County, a project that is run by the Virginia Society of Ornithology. Here are some of the highlights of what I saw:

One of the other census participants drew my attention to a Worm-eating Warbler nest that he found, and with his help, I located and photographed it. That species builds its nests on the ground.

Worm-eating Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler, in Alleghany County, Virginia. Roll mouse over the image to see a Worm-eating Warbler nest (with eggs) that I saw nearby, perhaps belonging to that very same bird.

Birding in South Dakota

While in South Dakota earlier this month, I went birding a couple times, but didn't see anything really spectacular. There was a Scarlet Tanager on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River south of Vermillion, apparently rather uncommon in that region, and a small flock of American Pelicans a couple miles upstream on the Missouri River. I saw a number of Dickcissels and heard a Sedge Wren at Spirit Mound, but didn't actually see any.

During my trip to South Dakota last January, however, I had a good look at a Bald Eagle, at Gavins Point Dam:

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle, perched in a tree along the Missouri River. Roll mouse over the image to see it in flight.

Falcon smuggling in Russia

This is just a random news clip I had saved from last year, but one that is worth sharing: Several gyrfalcons were smuggled out of Russia in a suitcase last October. It's another terrible example of the wildlife poaching that has become so common in Russia's mafia-dominated economy. See