November 4, 2016 [LINK / comment]

New month arrives, & new birds too

After completing the editing tasks on the Augusta Bird Club newsletter yesterday, today I picked up the hard copies from Marden Press downtown, and headed out toward Swoope in hopes of seeing more winter birds. The weather was perfect: mild with clear blue skies, and I just couldn't resist. I saw a fair number of Song Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows, but no other sparrows (such as Lincoln's) which I was hoping for. On Route 705 just south of Buffalo Gap I came across six or seven Wild Turkeys crossing the road, but had a hard time getting any good photos of them. Then I drove to Augusta Springs, where the highlight was a group of Red-breasted Nuthatches. (I saw a couple of those in the Shenandoah National Park on Wednesday, my first of the season.) Otherwise, not much.

Back in Staunton, after taking stuff to the recycling center, I drove to Reservoir Hill to get some scenic photos, and saw a bunch of Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures on the cell tower there, so I photographed them. When I returned home I checked out the back yard, and got some very nice photos of a White-breasted Nuthatch and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet with an aphid in its beak.

Montage 04 Nov 2016

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Wild Turkeys, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and in center, Red-tailed Hawk. (Roll your mouse over the image to see the Ruby-crowned Kinglet enlarged.)

On Tuesday, I spotted a different-looking bird out back, and soon realized that it was a Hermit Thrush, the first one I have seen this season. Unfortunately, it was too shady for me to get a high-quality photo. Later on I went to Bell's Lane, and saw a nice variety of birds, most notably a Palm Warbler and some White-crowned Sparrows (first of the season, I believe).

Montage 01 Nov 2016

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Palm Warbler, American Goldfinch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird *, White-crowned Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and in center, Red-tailed Hawk. (Roll your mouse over the image to see the Hermit Thrush enlarged.)
* The Bluebird photo was taken on Nov. 29.

Enlarged images of some of the other birds can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.