The sun was out, but it was extremely windy with sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph, and gusts around 35 mph. With temperatures in the upper 30s, it felt really cold. Most of the birds were hunkered down, and the few that were flying were fighting the winds. A large tree came down and completely blocked the Lindy Bain Loop Trail near the junior high school. I went looking for birds in areas that might be somewhat sheltered from the winds, and to my amazement, ended up with 17 avian species.
I saw a very light-colored Goldfinch, and wondered if it was the highly leucistic Goldfinch that I had seen here in Old Trail last December 20th.
The highlight of the morning was a protected, small pond near the junior high school. I had to take the long way around to get to the pond because of the trail being blocked. Once there, I saw a pair of Mallards and six Wood Ducks.
Lickinghole Creek and Reservoir; February 26
The sun was out, the winds had calmed down, and it was a bit warmer. I drove the short, four mile trip from my house in Old Trail to the access point to the Lickinghole Creek Trail on Fairwinds Lane. As I drove by the pond on Old Trail Drive, I saw some ducks there, and decided to stop on my return if I had time. The trail along the creek and reservoir was muddy and not very "birdy." There wasn't a single bird in the reservoir, not even a Canada Goose. I thought that I had seen only 13 avian species on that trail, but also took a photo of the Bald Eagle's nest. I didn't see anything in it, but the photo appears to show the head of an eagle, and the nest looks like it may have been enlarged from when it was damaged a year ago, so I am counting Bald Eagle as species number 14 there. I also saw a Red-shouldered hawk and a few woodland species.
Bald Eagle (?)
I hiked a short distance on the adjacent Crozet Connector Trail, and added four more avian species for the day, and a second Red-shouldered Hawk. I saw a Chipping Sparrow there, but don't know if it was a wintering bird or an early spring arrival.
Old Trail; February 26
On my return, I did a little more birding in Old Trail, and added 9 new species to this morning's list. My first stop was at the pond along Old Trail Drive to see if the ducks were still there, and I saw 12 Lesser Scaups and a lone Common Goldeneye.
Next stop was at the golf course pond where I saw a Great Blue Heron and one of our two resident Red-shouldered Hawks. These two hawks are used to me, and usually don't mind my taking lots of photos of them.
Great Blue Heron
From there, I went over to the Western Park in Old Trail. I saw the other Red-shouldered Hawk, and it was being harassed by some crows.
The hawk tired of the commotion, and then flew low through the wetland grasses, and perched in a small tree much closer to me. After taking a few photos, I decided to walk closer to the hawk, and it didn't mind at all.
I ended up with 32 avian species during these two mornings here in Crozet.
Great Blue Heron