October 28, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Life bird: Pectoral sandpiper(s)

I paid a visit to the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave today, where there was an exhibit of aircraft from World War II, and afterwards I took a slight detour to Leonard's Pond, just in case some unusual birds might be present. It turned out to be a wise decision, as I soon spotted some unusual-looking shorebirds that I soon identified as Pectoral sandpipers. I got good, extended views, and every detail matched my field guide perfectly. LIFE BIRD #400!!! I have updated my Life bird list accordingly.

The Dunlins which were seen in that location earlier this month are still there, along with the other "usual suspects." Today's full list:

Yesterday I saw my first Junco of the season in Lynchburg, and this morning saw one out back, along with my first Ruby-crowned kinglet of the season. The juvenile Yellow-bellied sapsucker first seen last week has been making occasional appearances as well. Finally, White-throated sparrows have begun appearing out back, another sign of the approach of winter.

Rare bird in England

An Eastern crowned warbler was sighted along the northeastern coast of England last week, drawing "twitchers" (bird watchers) from far and wide. Its normal range is in the forests of Siberia and Central Asia. See BBC. Warblers in Europe and Asia are from a completely different biological family than warblers in the New World.