May 10, 2008
... Sailors take warning. Rainbow at night, sailors' delight."
Because of the rain showers we had over night, only two people showed up for my Augusta Bird Club field trip this morning. On our way to the destination at Chimney Hollow, we could see a big rainbow hanging over Great North Mountain, in western Augusta County. It was beautiful, but I remembered that rhyme, and sure enough, we soon saw a thick veil of dark gray low clouds in precisely the direction we were headed. We decided there was no point to going birdwatching in the middle of a heavy downpour, so I did a U-turn on the Rt. 262 bypass and returned to our meeting place. Better luck next year?
Actually, I did see a group of ten or so Cedar Waxwings in the treetops as I was leaving, the first I had seen in many weeks, so the day wasn't a total loss. And besides, the cancellation of the field trip made it possible for me to attend a very important breakfast meeting!
The skies cleared during the afternoon, though the temperatures remained chilly. So, I spent a half hour snooping around on on Bell's Lane. For once, I got lucky with my camera, as you can see below. Also, by some serendipity, I met a birding couple who are new to this area, and they told me about a weird bird they saw a bit further along the road. It was shaped like a Mockingbird, but with a white head and back -- a possible "albino." I will upload the photo submitted by Darrell Schwalm to the Augusta Bird Club Web site shortly. This evening's highlights, as reported* to eBird v2(http://ebird.org/VA):
Location: Bell's Lane, Staunton, VA
Observation date: 5/10/08
Number of species: 18
* I forgot to report two species, including my first Kingbird of the year -- D'oh! Also, I heard a Willow Flycatcher for the first time this spring, but didn't see it.