November 19, 2016 [LINK / comment]

Field trip to Chimney Hollow

For the third (and probably final) time this year, I led an Augusta Bird Club field trip to Chimney Hollow this morning, and once again, nobody else showed up! (Granted, it was my own fault on the trip in March.) The weather forecast was ominous, but conditions turned out to be quite pleasant for the first couple hours. After a half hour, I came across a cluster of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Chickadees (both kinds), and was happy to get a good look at a Red-breasted Nuthatch. It flew away before I could take a photo, however. Later on I saw a Winter Wren, another "target" bird which I had mentioned in the trip description contained in the ABC Bulletin. I could only get a distant, blurry photo however. I also saw a Brown Creeper, but couldn't get a photo. Two "surprise" birds were both seen and heard flying high overhead: Eastern Bluebirds and American Goldfinches.

After 11:00 or so, the skies turned overcast and the high winds (which had been forecast) finally arrived. I made a quick trip over to nearby Braley Pond, and my effort was rewarded by a Pied-billed Grebe -- the only bird I saw or heard there!

Back in Staunton, late in the afternoon, I went to Bell's Lane, where I had seen a Northern Harrier the day before, during a chance encounter with Allen Larner. Sure enough, the same bird was there, swooping low over the fields, but once again the photos I took were only mediocre. Even though the skies had cleared, it was extremely windy and cold by then, so I didn't stick around for long.

Montage 19 Nov 2016

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hairy Woodpecker (M), Pied-billed Grebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet (again), Carolina Wren, Winter Wren, Northern Harrier (F/J), and in center, White-breasted Nuthatch. (November 19)

Chimney Hollow Trail, Augusta, Virginia, US
Nov 19, 2016 9:05 AM - 11:55 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Comments: Augusta Bird Club field trip
18 species

  1. Black Vulture -- 1
  2. Turkey Vulture -- 2
  3. Downy Woodpecker -- 3
  4. Hairy Woodpecker -- 4
  5. Pileated Woodpecker -- 1
  6. Blue Jay -- 1
  7. American Crow -- 8
  8. Carolina Chickadee -- 4
  9. Black-capped Chickadee -- 7 *
  10. Tufted Titmouse -- 6
  11. Red-breasted Nuthatch -- 1
  12. White-breasted Nuthatch -- 4
  13. Brown Creeper -- 1
  14. Winter Wren -- 1
  15. Carolina Wren -- 4
  16. Golden-crowned Kinglet -- 10
  17. Eastern Bluebird -- 5
  18. American Goldfinch -- 3

* Most of the chickadees I heard had the distinctive slow-cadenced call, and this area is known to be on the edge of the Black-capped Chickadees' range. I tried but could not get any good photos.
View this checklist online at

UPDATE: Since I mentioned the visit to Bell's Lane yesterday, I figured I might as well add some of the photos that I took then. Allen Larner pointed out a Palm Warbler on the pavement, and I just managed to get a distant photo of it, showing the yellow rump. In the flooded ravine on the north side of Bell's Lane I saw a single female Hooded Merganser. Later in the afternoon, Jacqueline and I went to Gypsy Hill Park, where I took some closeup photos of common birds such as Mallards and Starlings. Those photos can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.

Montage 18 Nov 2016

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Northern Harrier (F/J), Mute Swan, Eastern Bluebird (M), Red-tailed Hawk, Palm Warbler, European Starling, Hooded Merganser (F), and Mallard (M). (November 18)