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April 26, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Big Spring Day, 2008

Just in time for this year's Big Spring Day, I finally signed up for the eBird system yesterday. It is a joint project of the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, enabling birders all across the country to submit their sightings so that experts can compile a much broader range of data on avian distribution. Today's report includes two first-of-season sightings, a Red-eyed Vireo and a Common Yellowthroat (M):

Location: Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad trail
Observation date: 4/26/08
Notes: Very warm, sunny, and humid.
Number of species: 29

I missed out on the Big Spring Day last year, but participated in 2006.

Sweet Briar afternoon

My first eBird report was based on a brief walk to the pond after I left the office late on Friday afternoon:

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Location: Sweet Briar College boat pond
Observation date: 4/25/08
Number of species: 16

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

* The Virginia Rail call from from a bunch of thick, tall clumps of grass next to the pond. It sounded just like a can of spray paint being shaken, and it took a minute for me to figure out what it probably was. It would have been my first-ever sighting of that species, but the bird became silent as I approached. Maybe I'll get another chance. Not included in the eBird report: a few very loud Carolina Wrens. In future tabulations using eBird, I will probably list only non-abundant birds, as has been my standard practice.

Here's a thought: When you put "Virginia" and "rail" together, most people would think of the Virginia Railway Express, the commuter train system in Northern Virginia.

Owl Web cam

For a peek at a Great Horned Owl nest with two hatchlings, see; hat tip to Connie.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 27 Apr 2008, 1: 05 AM

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Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

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