Late spring at Augusta Springs
I took a visiting out-of-town birder named Ben Harrison to Augusta Springs today, and we enjoyed perfect weather: clear skies and mild temperatures. We spotted several interesting birds along the trail, but for the most part it was only an average day. Clearly, spring migration season is over and done with for the year. Here is the full report I submitted to the eBird system:
Location: Augusta Springs Wetlands Trail - MFT03 Observation date: 5/23/09 Number of species: 33 Mallard 2 Turkey Vulture 5 Killdeer 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1 Eastern Phoebe 1 Great Crested Flycatcher 2 * Red-eyed Vireo 12 Blue Jay 2 Tree Swallow 8 Carolina Chickadee 4 Tufted Titmouse 3 Carolina Wren 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 6 Eastern Bluebird 2 Wood Thrush 1 American Robin 2 Gray Catbird 3 European Starling 6 Cedar Waxwing 2 Pine Warbler 3 * Worm-eating Warbler 8 Ovenbird 8 Louisiana Waterthrush 1 Common Yellowthroat 2 Scarlet Tanager 6 Eastern Towhee 4 Field Sparrow 1 * Song Sparrow 2 * Northern Cardinal 5 Indigo Bunting 6 Red-winged Blackbird 6 American Goldfinch 1 This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)
* I added the asterisks to indicate birds that I heard only, or ones that I barely glimpsed.
After that we headed over to the Chimney Hollow trail, about ten miles to the north "as the crow flies." It was getting warm, so bird activity was subdued, but we did see or hear a few Acadian Flycatchers at close range, and Red-eyed Vireos. In addition, I heard Black-throated green warblers, Black-and-white warblers, and Northern parulas, and even a Red-breasted nuthatch!
I brought my camera in hopes of getting some good mushroom photos after all the wet weather we've had lately, and was surprised that the fungi were so scarce. I did come across a few of these mollusks, however:
Other recent highlights
Over the past ten days I have seen a few more first-of-season birds here and there:
- Blackpoll warblers (M, F)* on Bells Lane, May 17
- Canada warbler (F), behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad, May 18
- Chestnut-sided warbler (M), at Ravens Roost, Blue Ridge Parkway, May 20
* That is the latest first sighting of Blackpoll warblers since 1997, when I first began keeping records. See the Annual arrival page. That species almost always arrives during the second week of May, and this makes me wonder if some environmental factor has caused a delay in their migration schedule.
I also saw a male Rose-breasted grosbeak singing loudly at the last location above. They are surprisingly abundant this year. On the other hand, Willow flycatchers are surprisingly scarce; I have heard a couple but have not seen any thus far. Finally, I have found nests of Blue-gray gnatcatchers and Yellow warblers, and hope to see the babies in the next week or two.