Walt Childs and I headed west over the Blue Ridge and then north on Route 340. Our first stop was at Strickley Road where we heard a few Horned Larks, and saw a few common avian species before making our way towards the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport. It was fairly cloudy, with overcast skies forecasted for the entire day. We got lucky, as most of the clouds cleared by noon, giving us a lot of sunshine. Shortly after turning north from Stickley Road, we saw one of our day's highlights. A male, "Gray Ghost" Northern Harrier flew close to the car, and I was able to get a few photos through the open car window before it departed.
As we continued on country farm roads, we saw a good mix of common avian species.
Adult and juvenile White-crowned Sparrows
Song and White-throated Sparrows
We also saw a few Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels, and a female Northern Harrier.
As we approached the airport on Little Run Road, we saw a pair of Brown Creepers. This species is an uncommon winter visitor to the area, easy to see in profile, and amost impossible to see from its backside as it blends into the tree bark.
As we drove north of the airport, we encountered a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk, but I was only able to get a few photos as it flew away.
We stopped at Leonard's Pond in Rockingham County, but only saw another Red-tailed Hawk and a single Killdeer. At the Oakwood pond, all we saw were a few Mallards. We looped around and drove by the Green Vlley Book Fair. Across the road, and far from the road, we saw Canada Geese, an American Coot, Mallards, and Green-winged Teals. We also saw about six small ducks that were about 60% of the size of the small Green-winged Teals. I assume that they were very young Green-winged Teals, but they didn't look like juveniles pictured in my field guides, and it seems like late in the year for newly-hatched ducklings.
Mallard, Green-winged Teals, and two of the smaller ducks
Two of the smaller ducks
Three of the smaller ducks
We returned via most of the same roads in Augusta County, and added a few more species, bringing our day total to 40 avian species.