Walt Childs and I headed to the southeastern portion of our home county, Nelson, starting off with a few birds before we left Stoney Creek, and a few species along the way to our first stop at the James River WMA. We wanted to see what might be at the wetlands area near the fishing parking lot, but we didn't see very much there. Both of us were wearing blaze orange, as it is hunting season.
After about an hour we had 17 species for the day, and we headed toward Lake Nelson along the James River, stopping at a few locations along the road. We stopped near Wingina and added a Brown Creeper and our first Red-tailed Hawk of the day. Farther south along the river road we saw our second Red-tailed Hawk, and stopped soon afterwards when we saw an American Kestrel and a good sized flock of Eastern Meadowlarks.
The highlight of the day occurred when we came to the confluence of the Tye and James Rivers. I had just commented to Walt that I thought we should have seen a Bald Eagle along the James, and sure enough, we looked up and there one was. It made a few circles along with a couple of Turkey Vultures, and then headed off.
As soon as we turned to drive from the river road to Lake Nelson, we stopped when we saw a second Bald Eagle. This one did a lot of circling, and then flew right over our heads giving us some good looks at it.
We had logged 24 species by the time we reached Lake Nelson, where we added 7 more: Canada Geese, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks, a Great Blue Heron, a Pied-billed Grebe, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and a large flock of Killdeers.
Great Blue Heron
Just after leaving Lake Nelson, we pulled off onto the road shoulder when we saw a flurry of activity, and we watched a few Golden-crowned Kinglets foraging in some small pine trees, an American Robin, a Flicker, and a lot of Dark-eyed Juncos.
After a late lunch in Lovingston, we went to Fortune's Cove. We turned off of route 29 onto Mountain Cove Rd. where we saw our third Red-tailed Hawk of the day.
As soon as we got to Fortune's Cove, we saw two more Red-tailed Hawks soaring above, and almost immediately, they were attacked by some Crows. We saw lots of White-throated Sparrows there, a few Northern Cardinals, and an Eastern Towhee.
On our return, we saw another Red-tailed Hawk along Mountain Cove Rd., and our second Red-shouldered Hawk and seventh Red-tailed Hawk along Davis Creek Lane. Our final count for the day was 41 species.
Today's list (41 species):