December 31, 2016 [LINK / comment]
Another BIG year of bird photography
As the otherwise mostly awful year of 2016 comes to a close, I thought it would be fitting to present the highlights of the year in birding, more specifically, bird photography. So I reviewed my wild bird blog posts for the year, and tried to pick out the very best photos from each one. It was such a good year for me, bird-wise, that even after weeding out the not-so-great photos, I was still left with 21 photos, plus montages. I was so busy teaching at Sweet Briar College last year that I didn't have time to post a summary of my autumn 2015 birding until February 6 of this year. I have had much more free time since May, and I made the most of it.
Today, the final day of 2016, I went back to Strickley Road northeast of New Hope, in hopes of getting a better photo of the Snow Bunting, which I first saw five days ago. It wasn't there, unfortunately, but thanks to two birders from Rockingham County (Greg Moyers and Diane Lepkowski), I saw another very special bird instead: a Merlin! It is displayed as the very last entry below.
Virginia Rail, on Bell's Lane, February 20. NOTE: This photo appeared in the June/July annual photography issue of Virginia Wildlife magazine.
March 26, 2016: Field trip to Chimney Hollow
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Pine Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (male), Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Creeper (rotated to fit), and Red-breasted Nuthatch, in Chimney Hollow, March 26.
April 30, 2016: Migration season reaches peak
Cape May Warbler (male), at Cook's Creek Arboretum, in Bridgewater, April 30.
May 7, 2016: More migrants visit Bell's Lane
White-eyed Vireo, on Bell's Lane, May 2.
May 21, 2016: ABC field trip to Reddish Knob
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Ruffed Grouse, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Red Crossbill, and in center, American Redstart. (Roll mouse over to see the juvenile Ruffed Grouse.)
June 7, 2016: ABC field trip to Highland County
Mourning Warbler, on Sapling Ridge, Highland County, June 4, 2016.
June 9, 2016: FOD Prothonotary Warblers!
Prothonotary Warbler, at the Dutch Gap conservation area near Richmond, June 8.
July 1, 2016: Birding in Huntley "Meadows"
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: Osprey, Common Yellowthroat, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Egret, Green Heron, Great Blue Heron. .
July 3, 2016: Kentucky Warblers, and more!
Kentucky Warbler, Hightop Mountain trail head, Shenandoah National Park, July 2.
July 8, 2016: Soras breeding in the Valley!
Sora, Nazarene Church Road wetlands, Rockingham County, July 8. (Roll mouse over to see one of the juveniles.)
White Ibis, on the North River in Bridgewater, August 10.
Mississippi Kite (juvenile), in the north part of Staunton, August 19.
August 27, 2016: Common Gallinule at Willow Lake
Common Gallinule, at Willow Lake, August 27.
Philadelphia Vireo, McCormick's Farm, September 14.
NOTE: A question was raised about the species identification, since Philadelphia Vireos are similar to Warbling Vireos, which are known to breed in that location. Fortunately, this photo confirms all of the distinguishing field marks from montereybay.com:
- has bright yellow underparts with the brightest and most intense yellow on the throat and center of the breast, and
- has a prominent dark line between the eye and the bill that was thicker near the eye, and
- has a gray crown and green back contrast, and
- shows a 'different' or 'cute' facial look than Warbling because the supercilium wasn't so long and flared, and
- has a short tail and looks 'compact' compared to your experience with Warbling, and
- the date and locale make sense
September 27, 2016: Lucky! 13 warblers on Betsy Bell Hill
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Scarlet Tanager (F), Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler (M), Hooded Warbler (M), Tennessee Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak (F), Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler (M), Black-throated Blue Warblers (F & M), and in center, Nashville Warbler.
American Golden Plovers, at the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction in Rockingham County, September 29.
October 5, 2016 Shenandoah National Park birding (II)
American Pipit, at Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park, October 4.
October 30, 2016: Sandhill Cranes still lingering
Sandhill Crane, north of Fishersville, October 26.
November 4, 2016: New month arrives, & new birds too
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, with an aphid in its beak, in Staunton, November 4.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Pipit, Horned Lark, Snow Bunting, Horned Grebe.* (Roll mouse over to see a closeup of the Horned Lark and Snow Bunting.)
* All birds were northeast or southeast of New Hope, except for the one marked with an asterisk, which was in Waynesboro.
December 31, 2016 Another BIG year of bird photography
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: American Kestrel, Merlin, Belted Kingfisher (F)*, Eastern Bluebird (M), Great Blue Heron*, American Coot*, and in center, Hooded Merganser (M)*. (Roll mouse over to see a closeup of the Merlin.)
* The raptors and Bluebird were northeast of New Hope; birds marked with asterisks were in Waynesboro.