It was a beautiful morning for birding. A light rain and cold front moved through the area yesterday, and ushered in chilly temperatures, moderate breezes, and sunny skies. Walt Childs decided to look for shore birds at various locations in the Shenandoah Valley. However, it did not turn out to be a very productive day, as we saw fewer than 20 avian species during the six hour trip.
We started out going to Swoope, and had some success on our way there, seeing two Red-tailed Hawks and three American Kestrels. But Lake Smith yielded only four Killdeers, one Great Blue Heron, and one Song Sparrow. By the time we left the Swoope area, we had logged 12 species.
We decided to head north to the Nazarenne wetlands, and saw our third Red-tailed Hawk of the morning on our way there, but the wetlands had only a single Canada Goose. From there, we went to Silver Lake in Dayton, but all we saw there were four Mute Swans (most likely domestic) and a few Mallards.
Our next stop was Leonard's Pond. At least there were some birds there - about 70 Canada Geese, 10 Killdeers, 3 Mallards, and 3 Green-winged Teals.
Good size comparison: Canada Goose (25 to 45 inches); Mallard (23 inches): Green-winged Teal (14 inches)
Our last stop was along Strickley Road near New Hope, Virginia. We stopped at the same location where I saw Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs last winter, and there were about 10 Horned Larks there, some of which appeared to be first winter birds.
Even though we didn't see many birds, it was a fun outing.