Birding in the latter part of October
Well, we have already finished the first week of November and I haven't even written up my birding experiences during the latter part of the last month. (My last post was on October 25.) So, here is yet another "catch-up" blog post. On October 17 I joined Jo King and several other Augusta Bird Club members on a field trip to McCormick's Mill, on the south edge of Augusta County. It was a wonderful morning, with four warbler species (all in the photographic montage below), plus Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and many others. There were no hawks, however, nor any White-throated Sparrows, which are late this year.
Late in the afternoon of October 20 at the Bell's Lane beaver pond, I saw what was probably the same Greater Yellowlegs that had been seen earlier, along with several Northern Mockingbirds, a few Killdeers, a couple Field Sparrows, a Belted Kingfisher, and one of the newly-arrived White-throated Sparrows.
I had to go to Harrisonburg on October 22, and on the way back I stopped at Silver Lake in Dayton, where I had nice, sunlit views of a Mute Swan, an American Coot, and two Ring-necked Ducks. At the Bell's Lane beaver pond, on my way back into Staunton, I saw and photographed what I am almost certain was a Wilson's Snipe, hiding in the grass.
On the morning of October 23 I saw what I thought was another Golden-crowned Kinglet out back, and was astonished to realize that it was actually a Blue-headed Vireo! It just barely eluded being "captured" by my camera, unfortunately. On Bell's Lane late that afternoon I saw a Northern Harrier, and perhaps two of them. I couldn't get a good photo from that distance, unfortunately. There were also lots of American Robins (acting very nervously, as they do this time of year), as well as Carolina Chickadees, Killdeers, and a Hairy Woodpecker. The White-breasted Nuthatch was in our neighborhood; you don't see them perched on a wire very often!
On October 29 Penny Warren led another field trip to Bell's Lane; I had missed the previous one, and arrived about a half hour late for this one. It was well-attended, and there were plenty of birds to see along the way. Among the highlights this time were an American Kestrel, two Northern Harriers (adult male and F/J), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and three Wilson's Snipes in the grass by the beaver pond. Penny and I saw a group of probable White-crowned Sparrows along the road.
On October 30, Jacqueline and I took a drive through the countryside, stopping for a few minutes on Bell's Lane (where I saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler) and then heading to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We caught a few glimpses of birds, but it was pretty quiet in spite of the mild weather. The only photograph I got was of a Golden-crowned Kinglet. The other birds in the montage below were around our apartment building.
On October 31 (Halloween!) I saw a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a White-breasted Nuthatch. out back. In the afternoon on Bell's Lane I searched in vain for White-crowned Sparrows, but I did get slightly better views of a Northern Harrier, a Belted Kingfisher, and a Wilson's Snipe. That wrapped up a quite busy month of birding, with several consecutive days at it.
Several other photos can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly photo gallery page.