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October 5, 2016 [LINK / comment]
Shenandoah National Park birding (II)
Jacqueline and I had an overnight trip to the Shenandoah National Park earlier this week, and of course, looking for birds was a major objective -- at least for me. Unlike our previous such trip in late June, the weather was very good for the most part, though a bit chilly and occasionally cloudy.
Our first major activity was hiking up to the peak of Hawksbill Mountain, elevation 4050 feet -- the highest point in the Shenandoah National Park. It had been many years since my last time there. It was about a mile in each direction, with a net altitude gain of about 500 feet; a good workout but not too strenuous. On the way up we heard there was a bear in the area, but didn't see any.* We did see a Phoebe and Blackpoll Warbler, as well as a few typical woodland birds. Jacqueline had a glimpse of a probable Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the trees. At the top we saw three Ravens swooping around, and a probable Red-tailed Hawk, plus a few Juncos on the ground. The views were awe-inspiring, making the effort more than worthwhile.
* Later in the day, we did see bears in two different locations; photos of them will appear in a separate blog post.
Late in the afternoon, we walked around the Big Meadows area, and I stumbled upon a cluster of warblers and at least one Blue-headed Vireo in the trees next to the Byrd Visitors Center. I saw two more "winter" birds for the first time this season: Yellow-rumped Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, American Goldfinch, Blue-headed Vireo, Dark-eyed Junco, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Pine Warbler, and in center, Common Raven. (All on October 3.)
Roll your mouse over the image to see photos taken the next day...
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Eastern Phoebe, American Pipit, Blue-headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanger (F), Downy Woodpecker, Black-throated Blue Warbler (F), Swainson's Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco, Ovenbird, and in center, Ruby-crowned Kinglet. (All on October 4.)
Several other photos can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.
We got up before dawn the next day, and I had the good fortune to see a variety of interesting birds in an oak tree right next to the west-facing balcony of the Big Meadows Lodge: Phoebes, Blue-headed Vireos, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Juncos, and a Magnolia Warbler, among others. While on a short loop hike a bit later, we saw a Swainson's Thrush and an Ovenbird, plus another Blue-headed Vireo. Later in the morning, we did a short hike along the road adjacent to Big Meadows, where we saw a plain-looking bird walking (not hopping) ahead of us. The closer we approached, the more he kept walking away. Fortunately, I was able to get some nice closeup photos, confirming my hunch that it was an American Pipit, a bird that breeds in the Arctic tundra; I have only seen it a few times before.
American Pipit, at Big Meadows, October 4.
Finally, on our way out of the park, we stopped at the Pocosin Cabin trail, where I saw some Ruby-crowned Kinglets and yet another Blue-headed Vireo, but no warblers at all, to my surprise. Nevertheless, it was a very productive two days of birding.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 06 Oct 2016, 12: 26 AM
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Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:
Culture & Travel
Science & Technology
This (or that) year's
January 10, 2016 ~ Cooperstown calls Griffey, Piazza
January 17, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Highland (& Bath!) County
January 21, 2016 ~ R.I.P. Glenn Frey
January 26, 2016 ~ Sweet Briar College is saved!
January 31, 2016 ~ Presidential campaign begins
February 6, 2016 ~ Fall bird migration season 2015
February 20, 2016 ~ Life bird: Virginia Rail!
February 21, 2016 ~ 2016 primaries: populists propel polarization
March 10, 2016 ~ Yes, another Wrigley Field update!
March 26, 2016 ~ Trump triumphs, Republican Party implodes
April 4, 2016 ~ Opening Day(s) in America, 2016! (& Sportsman's Park update)
April 18, 2016 ~ R.I.P. Alan L. Clem
April 21, 2016 ~ Flying out to So. Dak. (& back)
April 30, 2016 ~ Trump & Clinton take commanding leads
April 30, 2016 ~ Migration season reaches peak
May 7, 2016 ~ Trump secures victory; Sanders fights on
May 21, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Reddish Knob
June 7, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Highland County
June 9, 2016 ~ FOD [first-of-decade] Prothonotary Warblers!
June 14, 2016 ~ Birding on Hite Hollow Road
June 16, 2016 ~ Holy $#!+ -- Nationals win big showdown with Cubs
July 1, 2016 ~ Nationals sweep the Mets, widen NL East lead
July 3, 2016 ~ Kentucky Warblers, and more!
July 8, 2016 ~ Soras breeding in the Valley!
July 13, 2016 ~ Redistricting reform movement is growing
July 16, 2016 ~ The Nationals' starting rotation
August 5, 2016 ~ New page: Stadium profiles!
August 7, 2016 ~ Magical mushroom tour*
September 7, 2016 ~ To the northeast: Baseball road trip, 2016
September 18, 2016 ~ East by Northeast: Big city scenery travelogue
September 25, 2016 ~ Nationals win National League East Division
September 27, 2016 ~ Lucky! 13 warblers on Betsy Bell Hill
October 2, 2016 ~ Nationals' regular season ends on a high note
October 5, 2016 ~ Shenandoah National Park birding (II)
October 14, 2016 ~ Nationals flinch, Dodgers advance to NLCS
October 14, 2016 ~ Shenandoah National Park getaway
October 16, 2016 ~ World War II aircraft show (II)
October 25, 2016 ~ Holy cow: Cubs beat Dodgers, win NL pennant!
November 3, 2016 ~ The Cubs win the World Series!!!
November 4, 2016 ~ New month arrives, & new birds too
November 6, 2016 ~ Campaign 2016 grinds to a nasty, ugly end
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:
- Wild birds (LAST)
- Science & Technology
- Latin America
- Culture & Travel
- Canaries ("Home birds")
- Baseball (FIRST)
Also see: My blog practices.
Blog errata (Nobody's perfect.)