October 19, 2016
Yesterday morning I "led" an Augusta Bird Club field trip to one of my favorite places, Chimney Hollow. Unfortunately, nobody else showed up, probably due to the fact that it was rescheduled from last Saturday, to avoid a conflict with the club's bird seed sale. So, just like the last time I "led" a field trip there (March 26), though for a different reason, it was a solo venture, hence the quotation marks around led. Just like the last time, I heard a Pine Warbler as soon as stepped out of my car, and heard a number of different birds soon thereafter, including a Blue-headed Vireo and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. But quite unlike the last time, I never did see any of those birds. Not until I reached the part of the trail that begins to climb steeply uphill (where I usually turn around and head back) did I get a good view of any birds, in fact. Overall, it was a disappointing day, but at least I spotted (and photographed) a Black-throated Blue Warbler. On the way back I heard and saw what was almost certainly a Winter Wren along the banks of the stream. I definitely heard the slow-cadenced call of Black-capped Chickadees, and probably Carolina Chickadees as well. Western Augusta County marks the approximate border between the ranges of those two closely-related species, and there may be some inter-breeding. Finally, I heard the loud scream of Pileated Woodpeckers at two different locations. I ended up with very few bird photos, but I took plenty of mushroom photos, which will be posted in the near future.
Chimney Hollow Trail, Augusta, Virginia, US
Oct 18, 2016 9:10 AM - 11:50 AM
Comments: Augusta Bird Club field trip
19 species (+1 other taxa)
NOTE: "(H)" = heard but not seen. View this checklist online at ebird.org
While looking out back on Sunday afternoon (October 16), I saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (male) -- in each case, the first of the fall season for me as far as the Staunton area. A photo of the latter, as well as the montage above, be seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page. Also, a Sharp-shinned Hawk (probably the same one I photographed on Saturday) has been shrieking in the neighborhood, eliciting alarm calls from Blue Jays and forcing smaller birds (including our canaries inside!) to take cover. Finally, I noticed that one of the recently-arrived White-throated Sparrows out back has a single white feather in its left wing, just like a bird we have seen here for the past two winters, and I strongly suspect it is the very same bird!