April 23, 2016
Ed and Nancy Lawler led a very successful (though underattended) Augusta Bird Club field trip to Augusta Springs today, accompanied by just Jo King and me. Nancy heard a Louisiana Waterthrush as soon as we got out of the car, and we found it shortly thereafter, along with several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Those were only two of the seven (7) first-of-year bird sightings for me; here is the complete FOY list:
Other notable sightings included several Bluebirds, Towhees, Goldfinches, a Raven, a Downy Woodpecker, and most of the other usual birds. I also spotted a Swamp Sparrow, I believe the first one I had seen since the winter of 2014-2015. (They head north in the summer.) I also heard but did not see a Red-eyed Vireo, a Blue-headed Vireo, a Pine Warbler, and an Eastern Phoebe. We had to hurry back to the car as it started to rain at 11:00, just when the forecast had said it would. On the way back to Staunton we stopped to see the Bald Eagle nest in Swoope, and saw two big juveniles in it, and one adult in a nearby tree.
At Sweet Briar College yesterday I saw my first Yellow Warbler of the year, and saw my first Chimney Swifts of the year the week before that.
On Tuesday I hiked around Montgomery Hall Park after unloading stuff at the recycling center, but didn't see any new spring arrivals. Likewise on Bell's Lane later in the afternoon, it was relatively uneventful.
The above montages, as well as individual photos of most of the birds shown therein, can bee seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.