Friday, August 30, 2002

Birding Surprise

On the evening of August 21, 2002, I stopped at the Shannondale Springs WMA, my first visit to that area in many months. I walked the River Trail, which parallels the Shenandoah River for about a mile or so. About a half-hour into the hike, as sweat began running down my forhead and into my eyes, I started fantasizing that a Wood Stork would be awaited me at the end of the trail. The river is wide, shallow, and relatively undisturbed at that point, a perfect location for a southern wader to set down for a much-needed rest after a long journey. Finally, stumbling down onto the open, gravely bank of the river, I raised my binoculars to scan the river. Instead of the anticipated Wood Stork, I gazed upon two people on the far shore (birders, presumably) staring back at me with binoculars; not the kind of birding encounter I've come to expect in West Virginia! I wonder what they saw that I didn't? Here's what I saw:

Great Blue Heron - 4
Green Heron - 4
Wood Duck - 1
Killdeer - 1
Spotted Sandpiper - 4
Mourning Dove - 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
American Crow - 10
Tree Swallow - present
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - present
Carolina Chickadee - 3
Carolina Wren - 6
Gray Catbird - 6
Northern Cardinal - 8
American Goldfinch - 1

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