May 19, 2023
November 3, Bell's Lane: I had some decent views of a Red-tailed Hawk and a Great Blue Heron, but the highlights came toward the end, when I spotted some rare Rusty Blackbirds among all the American Robins and European Starlings (just north of the "beaver pond"), as well as a huge flock (2,000+) of Common Grackles and a lone Northern Harrier (adult male) as dusk was about to fall.
November 4, Montgomery Hall Park: I was startled to see a coyote! It was stalking the woods uphill from where they dump waste wood. I did at least see a Hermit Thrush, plus a few sparrows, etc. Near the kiosk on Bell's Lane I glimpsed some Yellow-rumped Warblers. Back home a young Sharp-shinned (or Cooper's?) Hawk was feasting on an unfortunate squirrel.
November 5, Braley Pond: Jacqueline and I went hiking in the Braley Pond area today, a major change of plans after we encountered a mass of fog and drizzle along the Blue Ridge. The weather was better, but still partly cloudy for most of the time. Once again, there were a number of Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches present, as well as Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and various woodpeckers. The big highlights were a Hermit Thrush hiding in a bush and an American Woodcock (my second one over the past seven days!) that flushed from just a few feet in front of us. As usual, my efforts to locate it did not pan out. Rather oddly, I didn't see any kinglets or Fox Sparrows.
November 7, Bell's Lane: It was a beautiful morning and I had nice views of various birds. Late in the afternoon I returned in hopes of seeing a Norther Harrier (at the usual place), and my efforts were soon rewarded!
November 12, Dowell's Draft trail: I missed the club's field trip to Swoope, and instead went my own way, eventually getting lucky with some nice closeup views. I saw my first Brown Creepers and first Winter Wren of the season, along with several others. I also glimpsed a Pileated Woodpecker and a Hermit Thrush, and I'm pretty sure I heard the "smack" call of a Fox Sparrow, but never did see it, unfortunately.
November 19, Elkhorn Lake and Braley Pond: I went hiking mainly to get exercise. Not surprisingly, given the frigid temperatures, I saw hardly anything other than some Juncos and a Red-shouldered Hawk in that area. At the lake I saw several Scaups (not sure which), Hooded Mergansers, and Buffleheads. No Bald Eagles near the nest, however. Near the intersection where the restroom is located were two Winter Wrens.
November 24, Bell's Lane: A vigorous walk in the afternoon proved very fruitful, as I had spectacular views of Northern Harriers and a Red-tailed Hawk flying overhead!
November 26, Swoope: I finally saw my first Savannah Sparrow of the season, on top of a fence post. A Northern Harrier and some American Kestrels were patrolling the area east of the post office. I had good luck along the private road that extends west from the Boy Scout camp toward the mountains. There I saw a boatload of songbirds, including Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and Brown Creepers, as well as woodpeckers, etc. etc.
November 28, Bell's Lane: Among the highlights on the ABC field trip led by Penny Warren were American Coots and Double-crested Cormorants, both first-of-season for me. We also saw some distant Ring-necked Ducks and a Pied-billed Grebe, and some folks had a great closeup view of a Red-tailed Hawk.
As usual, the above photo montages, including some closeup images and additional photos, can be seen on the Wild Birds chronological photo gallery page.