April 30, 2015
I haven't had much time to enjoy the outdoors this spring, but I try to take advantage of the opportunities that arise from teaching at various colleges.* On Tuesday after class at Bridgewater College, I went over to Wildwood Park, about a mile to the northwest, and was pleased to come across two local birders. Within a few minutes, I spotted something in the bushes, and soon determined it to be a male Prairie Warbler. After stalking him for a few minutes, I finally got some nice closeup photos.
I continued walking along the North River, and saw an Osprey circling overhead. Fortunately, it landed at the top of a dead tree, so I was able to get a decent photo of it as well:
Other notable sightings at that park included Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Baltimore Oriole, and Black-throated Green Warbler. On the way home, I stopped at Bell's Lane, and saw a Yellow Warbler, as well as another Osprey. And that was on top of my morning walk along the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad trail, where I saw some Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a Yellow-rumped Warbler, plus a flock of 20 or so Black Vultures circling overhead. Finally, in our back yard there have been quite a few Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and a few Purple Finches. The latter two species were unusually scarce over the winter. Some of those can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.
On April 21 (Tuesday), Jacqueline and I went for a morning walk on Bell's Lane, and I heard a strange song up in the trees. Soon I spotted what I thought might be a Catbird, but it turned out to be a male Orchard Oriole. Nice!
* I haven't seen many birds at Sweet Briar College yet, but I'm hoping I'll have better luck in the next couple weeks before the semester ends. Barring a miracle of some sort, Sweet Briar will close its doors permanently this summer, a terrible tragedy. More on that soon...
In the above paragraphs, the birds shown in bold face were the first ones I have seen this year. I am in the midst of a long-overdue updating of the Annual arrival page.