Fall birding at Sweet Briar
I arrived early at Sweet Briar College on Monday morning, so I spent a half hour or so exploring some of the trails around the pond. Almost as soon as I got out of my car, to my surprise, I saw two species of winter birds for the first time this season (excluding those seen in highlands, where they breed): Red-breasted nuthatches and Yellow-rumped warblers. But that wasn't all! This is the times of year when you see summer birds intermingled with winter birds. The highlights:
- Red-breasted nuthatches (FOS)
- Yellow-rumped warblers (FOS)
- Common yellowthroat
- Downy woodpecker
- Kingfishers (2)
- Wood ducks (M)
- House finches
- Black-throated green warblers (M, F/J)
- Magnolia warbler (prob.)
I also saw Great blue herons flying both on the way there, and on the way back.
On Tuesday a confused [Downy] woodpecker (female) showed up at the thistle seed bag, which is intended for Goldfinches, and stayed long enough for me to record the amusing moment for posterity. We've seen a lot more Goldfinches feeding out back lately, and they have almost finished molting into their dull winter plumage.