March 16, 2013 [LINK / comment]

Birding field trip in Waynesboro

This morning I led a special Augusta Bird Club field trip along the Greenway in Waynesboro, with Mary Katherine Froehlich, proprietor of Stone Soup Books. The outing was part of The Community Read, sponsored in part by Community Foundation of Central Blue Ridge in their One Book One Community program. The 2013 book is "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, hence this event. More information can be found at (Text from the Web site, which I wrote.)

It was the first time I had walked along the Greenway, the first phase of which was completed last year. The plans are to extend it by another mile or so during the next couple years, and it will make Waynesboro a much more desirable place for nature and recreation. Unfortunately, no one else showed up for the field trip, probably because it was raining at dawn. By 8:00 the precipitation had ended, however, and we had a rather successful outing. The highlights of what we saw included Phoebes, a Brown Thrasher (both first-of-season for me), a Yellow-rumped Warbler, both the Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and a Great Blue Heron, pictured below. Robins and Grackles were all around, as well as the ubiquitous Starlings.

Needless to say, I was hoping to use my new camera, but the high likelihood of rain persuaded me to keep it in the car until we returned to the parking lot. As it turned out, it didn't rain at all until late in the afternoon, so I probably missed some good photo ops.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron, with wet, spiky feathers, by the South River.

What follows is the official report I submitted to, including birds that I heard but did not see:

South River - Invista, Waynesboro, US-VA
Mar 16, 2013 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
32 species

Canada Goose  25
Mallard  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Rock Pigeon  10
Mourning Dove  4
Belted Kingfisher  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Eastern Phoebe  3
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  8
Fish Crow  1
Common Raven  2
Carolina Chickadee  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Carolina Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Eastern Bluebird  4
American Robin  12
Northern Mockingbird  2
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  60
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Song Sparrow  20
White-throated Sparrow  4
Dark-eyed Junco  8
Northern Cardinal  8
Common Grackle  20
House Finch  2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

On my way home, I stopped at Bell's Lane, where I saw a lone Tree Swallow, the third first-of-season sighting of the day for me.

In preparation for the field trip, I went out to scout the Greenway trail the day before, and managed to get some good photos of two Kingfishers, of which the one below is the best. [All the bird photos on this page, and many more, can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.]

Kingfisher (male), fish

Belted Kingfisher (male), above the South River, chewing on a fish he caught for dinner. (Friday)

South River, Greenway, Invista

The new Greenway along the South River in Waynesboro, with the Invista (formerly DuPont) synthetic fibers manufacturing complex and the west slope of the Blue Ridge in the background. (Friday)

Other recent bird news

I have been checking Bell's Lane two or three times a week, but nothing really spectacular to report. There was, however, a flurry of activity out back the other day when a hawk of the accipeter variety zoomed in to catch some unwary songbirds feeding on the ground.

Cooper's Hawk

[ Cooper's Hawk, adult, in Staunton, on March 7. NOT a Sharp-shinned Hawk, as previously indicated; thanks to Allen Larner for the correction. ]

COMMENT by: Andrew Clem, of Staunton, VA on Mar 17, 2013 23:30 PM
Thanks to Mary Vermeulen for serving as an intermediary contact person in getting this joint field trip set up. We will probably do a makeup ("rain check") field trip to the same place next month, or else in May.