Andrew Clem blog home
Wild Bird Watching

A diary of birds I've observed, with occasional commentary on wildlife conservation issues, spiced up with photos of varying quality. Captions identifying the birds in these photo montages are found on the Wild Birds intro page.

Wild bird montage shadow
Special archives:

Bird photos

Birding Web sites:

Reciprocal links:


Conservation links


July 18, 2015 [LINK / comment]

Summer birding doldrums

As I prepare to hit the road on my big summer road trip for this year, I thought I should write a few lines about recent birding and outdoor experiences. I have continued to get in shape by hiking this month, but now that breeding season is nearing an end, not as many birds are singing.

Earlier this month, Allen Larner reported seeing a group of Ruddy Ducks, with males in full breeding plumage, on Lake Shenandoah in Rockingham County. So, I drove up there and did see the birds in question, but they were too far away for a good photo. I returned on July 14, but they were already gone. I did see a Green Heron there, however, as well as a young Great Blue Heron at Leonard's Pond on the way back home.

Then on Thursday, I took a short hike south from the Humpback Rocks area, in search of breeding Cerulean Warblers. That species is in decline, and that part of the Blue Ridge is known as a habitaul breeding ground for them. I heard and saw quite a few birds, including Indigo Buntings, Scarlet Tanagers, Eastern Wood Pewees, Pileated Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Blue-headed Vireos, and Red-eyed Vireos. Finally, as I was heading back to the parking lot, I heard the distinctive buzzing song of the Cerulean Warbler. I may have caught a glimpse, but couldn't be sure. It was still very rewarding to identify its presence.

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting (male), at the Humpback Rocks parking lot, July 16.

tiny tanager

Favorite warblers
(already seen):

  1. Chestnut-sided warbler
  2. Magnolia warbler
  3. Prothonotary warbler
  4. Blackburnian warbler
  5. Yellow warbler
  6. Northern parula
  7. Black-throated green warbler
  8. Canada warbler
  9. Common yellowthroat
  10. American redstart

Yet-unseen warblers:
(eastern species)

  • Blue-winged warbler
  • Kirtland's warbler
  • Swainson's warbler
  • Bachman's warbler (extinct?)

Yet-unseen warblers:
(western & semitropical)

  • Virginia's warbler
  • Lucy's warbler
  • Colima warbler
  • Crescent-chested warbler
  • Tropical parula
  • Black-throated gray warbler
  • Golden-cheeked warbler
  • Townsend's warbler
  • Hermit warbler
  • Grace's warbler
  • MacGillivray's warbler
  • Bahama yellowthroat
  • Belding's yellowthroat
  • Gray-crowned yellowthroat
  • Bahama yellowthroat
  • Red-faced warbler
  • Painted redstart
  • Slate-throated redstart
  • Fan-tailed warbler
  • Golden-crowned warbler

"Abundant" birds
(ones I normally don't bother counting):

  • European starlings
  • House sparrows
  • Cardinals
  • Tufted timice
  • Carolina chickadees
  • Carolina wrens *
  • Song sparrows
  • House finches *
  • Gray catbirds *
  • Mockingbirds
  • American robins *
  • Blue jays
  • Common grackles *
  • American crows
  • Fish crows *
  • Turkey vultures
  • Canada geese
  • Mallards

  • * Sometimes less common