It's been almost a month since Walt Childs and I birded along our southern route in Rockbridge County before heading up to Swoope. We made a quick stop in Stuart's Draft to check out some Purple Martin houses, and saw a few other species on our way to McCormick's Mill in Raphine.
We hiked the short trail at McCormick's Mill, and were surprised to see that the pond had been drained, although we did see a fair number of avian species there, not counting the always present, barnyard, White-fronted Geese. By the time we left, our trip list was up to 28 avian species.
Tufted Titmouse checking out a bug
We made a quick stop at Willow Lake. The escaped Black Swan was still there, along with some Canada Geese, a couple of Mallards, two Double-crested Cormorants, and a few American Coots, American Wigeons, Ruddy Ducks, and Gadwalls.
American Wigeons and Gadwall
We continued west, and when we arrived at the intersection of Raphine Road and Brownsburg Turnpike, we saw a pair of American Kestrels. One was a female, and the other a male, and probably a young male because of its light breast and nape.
We continued down New Providence Road, and around to Dutch Hollow Road before continung north to Swoope. We saw very few birds here compared with other trips on those roads. We only saw two Red-tailed Hawks and a few woodland species.
Great Blue Heron
As we got to the Swoope area, we detoured from Glebe School Road, and took Shuey Road to Trimbles Mill Road. That turned out to be a good choice, as we saw a distant, sub-adult (Basic I) Bald Eagle.
Once in Swoope, we stopped at Smith Lake where we have permission to enter the private property, and saw a small flock of Green-winged Teals, a few Tree Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Song Sparrows, and an unattributed sandpiper.
We looped around on North Mountain Road and located the new Bald Eagle's nest that was built after the tree with their nest near Smith Lake came down. One of the eagles was busy moving around in the nest. I couldn't tell if it was re-arranging nesting materials or feeding little ones.
We ended the trip in Swoope watching our third Belted Kingfisher of the day. This male was carrying a fish that it had caught in the same location where we saw a female Kingfisher on March 27.
Our avian trip list for this day totaled 48 species (including the Black Swan but not the Greater White-fronted Geese).
Great Blue Heron