August 6, 2016 [LINK / comment]

Late summer birding doldrums

This time of year the neotropical migrant songbirds are all molting or just conserving energy in preparation for their big southbound journey next month, so it's unusual to see many of them. Obviously, I didn't have high hopes, but I just had to get away from the stifling heat and humidity today, so I drove west on Route 250 all the way to the Highland County line. On the way there, I stopped at Ramsey's Draft, where I saw a Hummingbird and heard some Cedar Waxwings and a Wood Thrush, but not much else. Once I reached the parking lot at the Confederate Breastworks at the summit, I decided to hike north on the Shenandoah Mountain trail, about a half mile or so. I heard an Eastern Wood Pewee, some Red-eyed Vireos, and saw some Black-capped Chickadees, Goldfinches, Turkey Vultures, and finally a family of Indigo Buntings. Satisfied with getting this photo, I decided to turn back and call it a day. I did get some nice mushroom photos along the trail, to be posted later.

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting (male), on Shenandoah Mountain, August 6, 2016.

Meanwhile, there have been continued reports of the two Sandhill Cranes north of Fishersville, as well as a Snowy Egret, and I have gone out there two or three times in the last week, just in case. No luck with either of those, but I did get some nice closeup photos of a Great Blue Heron, possibly a juvenile.

Great Blue Heron

Great "Blue" Heron, on Kiddsville Rd., July 31, 2016.

Finally, I have been keeping tabs on the Green Heron family in the flooded ravine on the north end of Bell's Lane, and the young ones have already lost their "fuzz." Thus far, I have had a hard time getting good photos, however. See the Wild Birds yearly page.