Current 2012 year total of bird species:

211 (most recent addition: Dickcissel, June 2 2012)

Life bird total:

470 (most recent edition: Black Rail, June 2 2012)

2012 Black Bear count:


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trip north and east

I will post a full summary about my trip to Maryland-Delaware-Chincoteague, Virginia later but for a quick update I found a White-winged Dove (very rare for Virginia) at Chincoteague, my life Razorbill in Delaware, and loads more.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Great GBBC and off to Maryland soon

Had a terrific weekend participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count.  I'll post a full summary tomorrow.

In a couple of days I'm off to Maryland to chase a Virginia's Warbler and a Pink-footed Goose has just shown up there now.  Wouldn't that be amazing to get 2 lifers in that trip including the goose, an ABA code 4 bird!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick update

Hey folks,

here's just a quick update to tell you my plans.  The Great Backyard Bird Count (you can participate too, whether you're an expert or novice birder, please participate! is starting tomorrow, so I'll of course be participating.  On Saturday the Rockingham Bird Club is doing it's annual Waterfowl & Raptor Count so I'll be participating in that with a birding friend of mine.

Also, I'm scheduled to lead a field trip with the Augusta Bird Club this coming April 28th.  That should be loads of fun.

That's about it for now.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yard bird 98!

Late this morning-early afternoon a group of approx. 1100 starlings were feeding in the fields around my house.  I decided to get my scope out and sift through for blackbirds.  Found were 2 Rusty Blackbirds (a new yard bird for me) and a few BH Cowbirds.  Yard bird #98 for me!  What will be # 99 and #100?  Common Yellowthroat?  Swamp Sparrow?  American Woodcock?  Red-eyed Vireo?  Who knows!

On another note I decided to chase a not-so reliable Greater White-fronted Goose that's been reported about 45 minutes from where I live.  I could not find it.  If it is reported again, well then, I'll chase it again.

Good birding!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Harriers and Owls, all hunting, oh my!

This evening a few of my birding friends and I ventured about an hour or so east out to Zion Crossroads to watch the Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls that are overwintering at a certain field out there.  I was there back in January, before I was blogging on this blog.

It was an incredible show both times.  Tonight we had AT LEAST 15 harriers (more likely 17, or 18) and 8 Short-eared Owls.  Both the harriers and owls would fly low all over the fields hunting.  It was incredible!  The Short-eared Owls were a life bird for two of the 5 people in our birding party!  Congrats Vic and Josh on a WONDERFUL lifer!

We also saw Tundra Swans, various ducks, Red-tailed Hawks, a Kestrel, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and loads of Meadowlarks plus "the regulars".


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dinner's here!

My suet re-stock arrived today..a case of 16 wonderful suet cakes..dinner for the nuthatches, woodpeckers, wrens, and more!  The birds were on it within 5 minutes of me loading up my suet feeder.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Doing a Junior Big Year?

Heck no!  I wondered if some of you (especially those of you that were familiar with my 2011 Junior Big Year) would wonder if I'm doing another Junior Big Year this year because I have a what seems to at least me like a good year list of 95 species this early in the year.  That's because I've been birding nearly every day here in Virginia so have been 'sweeping 'm up' but since I won't be doing much traveling (other than to Montana) my year list will come out with far fewer birds than a 'Junior Big Year' list.  In addition to the lack of 'big traveling', I'm also doing none or next-to-none local state chasing.  I will do a few 'chases' this year, but probably only in-state and for hard-to-get life birds only.

Also, there are a couple of kids out there that are doing Junior Big Years this year.  Please visit Skyler Bol's blog: and Omeganook's blog:   Good luck guys!

Time to CATCH UP!

I've been very busy lately and haven't found time to post until now.  

I'll review this past Saturday through today.  On Saturday I went on a bird walk at Ivy Creek Natural Area over in Charlottesville with the Monticello Bird Club.  We had some nice birds including some of my best-ever looks at Pileated Woodpecker but no too unusual birds.  On Sunday I guided James Fox from Front Royal around Augusta County.  We had a TERRIFIC day spotting Lark Sparrow, Red-headed Woodpecker, Rough-legged Hawk, 3 Bald Eagles, and my year and fairly out-of-season Brown Thrasher.  

Early week was rather uneventful but yesterday was a great day.  We went on a morning bird walk with the Rockingham Bird Club.  We saw lots of great birds, 23 species in all, with the sure highlight being my year Fox Sparrow which gave great looks!  After that we went out to our friend's property.  She has an amazing property chock full of great birds!  I was very pleased to find Rusty Blackbirds and my first-of-year Pine Siskins.

Today I did day one of a feeder watch count highlighted by goldfinches returning to my yard after a few weeks of absence.  Welcome back goldfinches!

With recent additions of Brown Thrasher, Fox Sparrow, and Pine Siskin my 2012 year list is 95 species.

Sometime in the near future I'll post some photos from recently.  



Friday, February 3, 2012

The colorful nuthatch

Got my year Red-breasted Nuthatch on a beautiful walk at the base of Shenandoah National Park this afternoon.

April in February

It's a beautiful sunny and warm day here in New Hope Virginia.  It's a balmy 50 degrees but with calm wind and full sun it feels much warmer.  It surely doesn't feel like Feb. 3rd!

Once in a while I see one of the resident kestrels dive-bomb a Red-tailed Hawk.  Today I was fortunate to see the resident adult male kestrel dive-bomb a  Red-tail right above our house!  Beautiful.  I'm never sure why the kestrels dive-bomb red-tails (if it was a Merlin, well, then I'd know!) but I figure it's because red-tails might eat kestrels so the kestrels want to get the red-tails "out!"

I did a feeder watch count yesterday-today, not much interesting but a pair of cowbirds was a bit of a surprise.

I'll make a post on Sunday evening, because I have a fun weekend coming up.  Will be going on a bird walk and meeting with fellow Monticello Bird Club board member tomorrow, and Sunday will be guiding someone from Front Royal around looking for new "Virginia birds" for him.

I have a photo of the kestrel-red-tail encounter but it's having trouble loading now.  I will post it later.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Merganser update

 The female merganser from today was a Common.  Thanks to the "expert" birders that ID'd it for me.

February off with a bang!

To start out February, my mom and I went birding in northwestern Augusta and Rockingham Counties today and we could not have asked for better weather or better birds!  

On Badger Road, a location familiar for being one of the few spots in the area where you can reliably find Red-headed Woodpeckers, we found them as well as a PEREGRINE FALCON!  Those were both new "year birds".  

We also found American Tree Sparrow, Canvasback, and either a Common or Red-breasted Merganser as new 2012 year birds for me.  My 2012 year total is now 91 species.  I will update when I get an ID on the merganser from some more expert birders.

Enjoy a few photos from today.