April 2, 2006 [LINK]

Blue-headed vireos in Blue Ridge

It was a beautiful, clear, balmy day here in Virginia, so I drove up to the Blue Ridge and joined a friend for a three-mile hike in the area north of Humpback Rocks. Almost immediately I heard what I thought was a Yellow-throated vireo, but could not spot it. I heard several others along the way, and when I finally saw one singing, I realized that it was actually a Blue-headed vireo. It was one of the earliest dates in the season I had ever seen a vireo; the early-arrival record for me is March 30, 2000. Early in the hike, we also heard some loud honking calls, like a squeeze toy, and soon saw two Sharp-shinned hawks flying around in a courtship ritual; one of them was building a nest. Other birds we saw were either courting or building nests, and a return visit to that trail should provide some good opportunities to see nestlings, in another month or so. Today's list: