It was supposed to be only cloudy today, but there was a misty drizzle most of the day. I hiked close to home here in Old Trail, and was treated to 25 ducks on the golf course pond. About 2/3 of them were Ruddy Ducks, and the rest were Buffleheads.
Buffleheads and Ruddy Ducks
It was sunny, cool, and quite windy today. Walt Childs and I headed west over the Blue Ridge into Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley. Our first stop was at the Augusta Forestry Center, and we did a little birding along the South River. We noticed an avian behavior neither of us had seen before. A small flock of Canada Geese were resting in the river, and they had their heads resting in the water.
We made our way along back country roads to the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport. The strong winds kept many of the smaller birds hunkered down.
American Kestrel eating on the fly
We headed north to Leonard's Pond, where we saw a few Mallards and a pair of Buffleheads.
Our next stop was at Oakwood Pond in Mt. Crawford. We stopped along the way to watch a pair of Bald Eagles circling in a thermal to gain altitude.There were a few Mallards and some smaller ducks at the pond. We were looking into the direction of the sun, and the pond was a long distance away, but after processing the photos, I could tell that the smaller ducks were Green-winged Teals.
From there, we stopped at Silver Lake in Dayton, and then at the Nazarene Wetlands. We only saw three Canada Geese at the wetlands, but there were some water birds at Silver Lake, including Mallards, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, a Redhead, and a Pied-billed Grebe.
Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Ducks, and a Redhead
Our last stop was a Hone Quarry where we added three more species to the trip list to make it 34 avian species for the day. The best birds there were a few Fox Sparrows.
It was sunny but quite cold this morning, and I hiked here in Old Trail and ended up with 22 avian species for the morning. Many of the birds were sitting in the sun to get warm.
Great Blue Heron