I went for a short hike in the afternoon. Not too much to report except for a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers in the Allen Creek Nature Preserve.
Great Crested Flycatcher
Walt Childs and I got to the trail a little before 9:30 and hiked along the east side of Reids Creek. There wasn't a lot of avian activity on the trail this morning, so we didn't stay very long, and had 10+ species. It was starting to get hot and muggy, so we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Reids Gap.
The parkway was quiet as well, and looked like the day's outing was going to be a bust. We saw a few birds, but no warblers.
With reports of a Stilt Sandpiper in Swoope, Virginia, we decided to head down the parkway, get off at route 610, and try our luck there. That is when the day's outing started to improve. About a mile before we got to the visitor center, we saw a motor cycle stopped in the road. The cyclist was looking at something in the road - it was a Timber Rattlesnake about 6 to 8 feet in length. I stopped the car, got out, and asked the cyclist not to scare the snake away until I got a few photos of it. The last time I saw a live Timber Rattlesnake was a few years ago, and I didn't have a camera with me.
Timber Rattlesnake - note the slit eye pupil
There was a lot of activity in a large pond in Swoope, but we didn't see any Stilt Sandpipers. We heard a Belted Kingfisher, saw a Great Egret, Killdeers, and a Great Blue Heron. There were Spotted, Solitary, and Pectoral Sandpipers foraging in the mud flats. Note the variable amount of breast streaking on the Pectoral Sandpipers.
As were heading out of the Swoope area, Walt called out "Red-headed Woodpecker." There was an adult and a juvenile together on the same branch. It looked like a typical father/son relationship.
Red-headed Woodpeckers - all the teenagers have their own nest
Red-headed Woodpeckers - why should I be the only bird without one?
Red-headed Woodpeckers - you're a mean father
Red-headed Woodpeckers - Sigh . . .