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May 15, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Migration season: past the peak

I've finally had enough time in the past few days to catch up on birding before spring "prime time" comes to an end, but not quite enough time to report on it. On Monday I took some back roads that I had not driven on for some time, and eventually hit "pay dirt." I drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway in hopes of seeing some of the warblers, etc. that others have seen, but it was too cold, overcast, and windy. In short, miserable. I did catch a glimpse of my first Cerulean Warbler of the season near Humpback Rocks, however. As I continued southeast, descending into the Piedmont hill country, the weather improved, and my first visit to the Blue Ridge Railway Trail at the town of Piney River proved to be especially worth while, as I saw two (2) Yellow-breasted chats for the first time in six (6) years! And that wasn't all!!

Yesterday (Wednesday) I saw several warblers, etc. on the trail behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad, including a Wilson's Warbler, which I had not seen at all last year. I saw another first-of-season bird out back -- a female Blackpoll Warbler, which is typically the last species is to migrate northward. That means that in another week or two, this year's "show" will be pretty much over.

Here are the highlights of what I saw (not the complete list), in those three places:

Location: Humpback Rocks
Observation date: 5/12/08
Number of species: 8

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Location: Piney River, VA
Observation date: 5/12/08
Number of species: 14

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Location: Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad trail
Observation date: 5/14/08
Number of species: 21

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

I also heard a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the distance, and possibly a Great Crested Flycatcher. This morning when I returned to the SARS trail, I saw at least three (male) Common Yellowthroats, but not much else. (NOTE: The "FOS" (first-of-season) labels were inserted manually in the above summary lists.)

Yellow Warbler

I heard a Yellow Warbler singing in our back yard a couple days ago, and managed to get close enough for a photograph.

Saving Scarlet macaws

In Costa Rica, an organization called the ZooAve Center for the Rescue of Endangered Species has successfully reintroduced captive Scarlet macaws into the wild, and they have begun to reproduce. See That is wonderful news for this precious symbol of tropical biodiversity. Jacqueline and I were very fortunate to see a flock of a dozen or so Scarlet macaws camera in Costa Rica in 2005.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 15 May 2008, 9: 16 PM

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Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

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