May 25, 2016 [LINK / comment]

Birding on Shenandoah Mountain

I went hiking on Shenandoah Mountain today, heading south from the Confederate Breastworks, just like I did one year ago (May 30). NOTE: Shenandoah Mountain is NOT part of the Shenandoah National Park. As soon as I got out of my car at the Confederate Breastworks, I heard a veritable symphony of warblers, vireos, and others. Not long after I began hiking I spotted a Blackburnian Warbler up in the trees, but just couldn't get a decent photo. Along the way (about a mile in each direction), I saw a wide variety of birds, including one of my "target species," the Cerulean Warbler, but they were too quick for me to get a satisfactory, well-lit photo. I heard a possible Ruffed Grouse flushing from a short distance away, and heard the loud crash of a breaking branch, which may have been a Black Bear. There was bear scat in more than one location. On the way back, about a couple hundred yards from the end, I saw what I thought was an Eastern Wood-Pewee at the top of a tree. But after looking at the photo later on, I realized, to my surprise and delight, that it was an Olive-sided Flycatcher -- the first one I have seen in years!

Shenandoah Mountain trail, Augusta, Virginia, US
May 25, 2016 9:15 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
28 species

  1. Turkey Vulture -- 4
  2. Broad-winged Hawk -- 1
  3. Yellow-billed Cuckoo * -- 1
  4. Hairy Woodpecker -- 2
  5. Olive-sided Flycatcher -- 1
  6. Eastern Wood-Pewee * -- 2
  7. Yellow-throated Vireo -- 1
  8. Blue-headed Vireo -- 7
  9. Red-eyed Vireo -- 5
  10. American Crow -- 2
  11. Common Raven -- 1
  12. Black-capped Chickadee -- 5
  13. Tufted Titmouse -- 4
  14. White-breasted Nuthatch -- 3
  15. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher -- 1
  16. Ovenbird -- 8
  17. Worm-eating Warbler -- 4
  18. Black-and-white Warbler -- 4
  19. Hooded Warbler * -- 1
  20. Cerulean Warbler -- 3
  21. Blackburnian Warbler -- 2
  22. Black-throated Blue Warbler * -- 2
  23. Pine Warbler -- 3
  24. Black-throated Green Warbler -- 6
  25. Chipping Sparrow -- 6
  26. Eastern Towhee -- 2
  27. Scarlet Tanager -- 5
  28. Indigo Bunting -- 9

* (asterisk): heard but not seen. View this checklist online at ebird.org

Montage 20 May 2016

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Olive-sided Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Black-throated Green Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Pine Warbler, and in center, Hairy Woodpecker.

More photos can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly page. I also saw a few Periodical Cicadas, which are just emerging. We had a swarm of those in many parts of Augusta County in 2012 (see June 11, 2012 and Other insects photo gallery), but this brood is either in a distinct range or overlaps with different hatch year cycles.

Periodical Cicada - 2016

Periodical Cicada, on Shenandoah Mountain.