March 26, 2016 [LINK / comment]

Field trip to Chimney Hollow

This morning I "led" an Augusta Bird Club field trip to one of my favorite places, Chimney Hollow. Other than the fact that I showed up a half hour late, by which time everybody else had already left (!), it was a great success. I heard a Pine Warbler as soon as stepped out of my car, and eventually saw many of them. Likewise for Blue-headed Vireos, and Red-breasted Nuthatches. I also had a great views of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and some Brown Creepers. All of those birds are pictured in the montage below. Also notable: a Cooper's Hawk chasing a Pileated Woodpecker! (Until I saw that I was wondering why it had been making such a racket.) I heard some Wild Turkeys gobbling, but didn't see any. I didn't see the hoped-for Northern Waterthrush, Winter Wren, or Hermit Thrush, but I think I heard the latter. Otherwise, most of the usual woodland birds. (The full list submitted to eBirds is shown below.) Being alone, I decided to hike much farther than usual, and in fact I saw most of the birds along a "saddle" ridge from whence the Chimney Hollow stream begins. I ended up climbing a few hundred feet altogether, up to where there are nice views of the mountains to the west. Next time I will make sure my alarm clock is properly set.

Birds Montage 26 Mar 2016

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Pine Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Creeper (rotated to fit), and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Frankly, I was stunned that I was able to get such a nice closeup shot of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. (The red throat indicates that it's a male.) Larger-sized images of the above birds can be seen on the Wild Birds yearly page, along with photos of a Pied-billed Grebe which I took at Sweet Briar College on Monday, the Bald Eagle nest in Swoope which I took on March 11, and a few others.

eBird report (LINK):

Location: Chimney Hollow Trail, Augusta County, Virginia, US ( Map )
Date and Effort: Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
Party Size: 1
Duration: 4 hour(s), 30 minute(s)
Distance: 3.0 mile(s)
Observers: Andrew Clem
Comments: N/A
Species: 20 species total