I took advantage of the sunny skies and somewhat less windy conditions, and headed west and up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway where I birded along the first seven miles of the parkway, including exiting around mm. 2 onto parallel Route 610, and re-entering the parkway near mm 4 . The parkway is still about two weeks or so away from having enough green vegetation to support good birding, but I was hoping to find some early spring arrivals. It wasn't very "birdy," but on my way to mm 7., I saw and/or heard a few good birds, including my first of season (FOS) Blue-headed Vireo.
I turned around and decided to try Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro, and debated with myself whether or not to go directly there or do the two miles again on Route 610. I chose the latter option, and was really glad that I did. About half way along Route 610, I stopped when I saw a huge Barred Owl perched along the road. I have heard this species quite a few times here in Virginia, but have only seen (and photographed) this species in Florida and Missouri in previous years. A few moments after I parked my car along side the road, and got out for a few photos, the Barred Owl took off and flew into the woods. I was at least 200 feet away, but it didn't want to be disturbed. After looking at the photos, I could see that it was having a squirrel breakfast.
Well, that was neat to see! I re-entered the parkway at mm. 2, and stopped near mm. 1 when I saw my FOS Broad-winged Hawk, making it 19 avian species on the parkway this morning.
I added six more common species im Ridgeview Park. The highlight for me there was watching mama and papa Mallard with their four ducklings. The Virginia bluebells and other wildflowers were in full bloom.
As I drove through Waynesboro on my way home, I added two more avian species for a total of 27 today.