July 6, 2010
It was by sheer coincidence that West Virginia's senior senator Robert Byrd passed away just as we were about to travel there (in part to go bird watching) last week. Alas, the "Silver-capped Orator" is no longer with us.
Nearly all the birds we saw in West Virginia were at one of two major places: Bald Knob (BK), elevation 4,824 feet, and Cranberry Glades (CG). We saw Juncos and Cedar waxwings at both locations. Birds listed with an exclamation mark are only found at high elevations or in northern latitudes, and do not nest in Virginia. At Cranberry Glades we heard Common Yellowthroats signing, but I never saw any.
On Bell's Lane yesterday morning, I finally saw some orioles -- several in fact, both male and female. I couldn't be sure which species the females were, though.
For any bird watcher, the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are almost too painful to bear. I wish I could help out, somehow, but I just don't have enough training in handling wild birds to be of much use. Ed Clark of the nearby Wildlife Center of Virginia recently visited the shores of Louisiana and reported on what he saw there.