Friday, April 18, 2003

Belated Bird Notes from the Shenandoah River

At mid-morning on Sunday, April 13th, I made a quick visit to the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County, West Virginia. I started at the Shannondale Springs Wildlife Management Area, but with the river at or above flood stage, the River Trail was inaccessible. Crossing back to the other side of the river via the Route 9 bridge, I checked the river from John Rissler and Bloomery roads. Here's what I saw:

Red-necked Grebe 5
Double-crested Cormorant 7
Canada Goose 15
Wood Duck 7
Mallard 1
Bonaparte's Gull 85
Belted Kingfisher 1

The Bonaparte's Gulls exhibited a behavior in which they would fly upstream (singly and in small groups), land on the surface of the water, and float downstream in the rapidly moving current, all the while picking at the surface of the water for food items caught in the floating detritus. The grebes, geese, and ducks were all very close to shore (and the road) among the flooded trees and bushes, where the current was least strong.

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