April 7, 2005 [LINK]

Birds: slow start to spring

Birding has taken a back seat lately, because of baseball. On Saturday Jacqueline and I drove up to the Shenandoah National Park, where we saw a Pileated woodpecker, a White-breasted nuthatch, and a Common raven. On the way there we saw several Tree swallows and a few Northern rough-winged swallows, for the first time this spring. Yesterday I saw a Swamp sparrow and a Field sparrow behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad, the latter being the first one this spring. After the intoxicating experience of seeing all those exotic birds in Costa Rica (note a few late-late additions to that page, at the bottom of the "second batch"), it's hard to measure up. But you never know what to expect; it was just over a year ago that I saw the first Western tanager ever observed in Augusta County, or for that matter (I think) the entire Shenandoah Valley.