Catching up??: Birding last September
September 2, Madison Run: I hiked up the Furnace Mountain trail, which veers right (south) from Madison Run, enjoying some nice sunlit views of the Shenandoah Valley as I climbed higher. There weren't many birds in the higher elevations, but I did see some good ones as I returned to the bottom.
September 7, Betsy Bell Hill: I saw a variety of migrating birds, most notably a possible Blue-winged Warbler that was obscured by the leaves, and view of a the underside of a possible Swainson's Warbler, which would have been a life bird for me. Mediocre sunlight didn't help. Others included Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Eastern Wood Pewee, and a female Scarlet Tanager.
September 10, Bother Knob: I led an Augusta Bird Club field trip, and we hiked about two miles north from "Crossbill crossroads," at the top of the mountain ridge that defines the West Virginia state line. [This is north of Reddish Knob, which has been the destination of past ABC field trips, but I had never been there before.] We saw a number of Cedar Waxwings, Dark-eyed Juncos, Eastern Towhees, etc. As we trudged along a road full of mud puddles, in a veritable "enchanted forest" full of Northern Hemlock and Fraser Fir trees, we encountered more "hot spots," with a variety of warblers, and best of all, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. [We came close to Bother Knob, but the path to the top was more circuitous than I had expected; maybe next time.] On the return leg of the hike we spotted more warblers, while a Bald Eagle and a Red-shouldered Hawk soared up above. Altogether we tallied about 30 species.
September 11, Bother Knob: The very next day I stopped at Leonard's Pond in Rockingham County, and was surprised to see a pair of Sanderlings, which frequent Atlantic beaches in the colder months.
September 12, Bell's Lane: The very next day (Monday) I joined an Augusta Bird Club field trip led by Penny Warren. While we were looking at an American Redstart in the bushes, Eric Pritchett, the chief meteorologist at WVIR Channel 29 in Charlottesville, jogged past (as he often does on Bell's Lane) and asked what we were looking at. I told him, and later submitted the photo to Channel 29, and while doing the weather one day later, he showed that Redstart photo during the weather segment. That was a great bit of publicity for our club!
September 17, Blue Ridge Parkway: I led an Augusta Bird Club field trip in search of migrants, and we had a fair amount of success. This event was in conjunction with the annual Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch open house, at the Afton Inn.
September 19, Montgomery Hall Park: A casual walk through the woodland trail paid off with two great migrant sightings: Magnolia Warbler and White-eyed Vireo, and several others as well.
September 21, Bell's Lane: I saw my first Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Yellow-rumped Warbler of the fall season, and had nice views of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings, etc.
September 23, Weymouth Woods, North Carolina: Jacqueline and I took a weekend trip to see the Farm Aid concert in Raleigh, NC, and on the morning of that event we spent a couple hours in a pine forest that has been preserved as a natural habitat. (It's not far from world-famous Pinehurt Country Club.) I was hoping to see the rare Red-cockaded Woodpecker, a species that is unique in building its nest in live pine trees rather than dead or decaying ones. I'm pretty sure I heard it, but I never did see it. I did see several Pine Warblers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Eastern Towhees, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Jacqueline really enjoyed that forest, and was impressed by the huge pine cones, so we bought some Weymouth Woods souvenir apparel.
As usual, the above photo montages, including some closeup images and additional photos, can be seen on the Wild Birds chronological photo gallery page.