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A male Baltimore Oriole has been seen in Waynesboro since at least late January. As many as seven Short-eared Owls have been seen on a regular basis in the late afternoon or early evenings in the Bell's Lane area since the end of November. And on December 29, a Trumpeter Swan was spotted by Elaine Carwile in a pond adjacent to Route 254 on the northwest edge of Waynesboro. It has remained there for over two weeks...

Due to a wave of spam attacks, this Web site feature has been disabled for the time being. Stay tuned for further announcements.

Augusta Bird Club members may submit rare bird sightings by using the Update page. For further information, or to report any unusual sightings, please contact the rare bird alert coordinator, Allen Larner.

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Birds of Augusta County book cover

Birds of Augusta County, edited by YuLee Larner. We still have copies available for a small donation; if interested, please contact Dan Perkuchin. They may also be found at local public libraries and school libraries.

July 2018
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Last news update: 16 Jul 2018

Our next "Birds & Brews, Wings & Wine" social hour will be: TBA
Thursday, June 28th, 5:30 p.m., at Table 44, located at 300 Church Street, near Sunspots Studio in Staunton.
Thursday April 26, at Plaza Azteca, 23 Windigrove Dr. in Waynesboro, beginning at 6:00 PM. Plaza Azteca is just off Rosser Avenue/Rt. 340 and Exit 94.
Sorrel's Lounge in the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, Staunton on March 26 at 6:00 PM. RSVP to Peter Van Acker by March 22. 6:00 PM on Tuesday, February 27 at the Depot at 42 Middlebrook Ave, Staunton. Please RSVP by February 26 to Peter Van Acker.
6:00 PM on Tuesday, January 30 at the Fishin' Pig, 117 Apple Tree Lane, in Waynesboro. (It's just off I-64 next to the Best Western.)
Thursday, October 26 at the Yelping Dog, downtown Staunton, starting at 6:00 PM; please RSVP to Peter Van Acker. Stable Craft Brewery, 375 Madrid Rd, Waynesboro, VA 22980

Birds of Augusta County:
new edition!

The complete updated Birds of Augusta County (4th ed., 2016) is now available online: Birds_of_Augusta_County_2016_4th_Ed.pdf

(NOTE: The link previously shown above was to a much more detailed historical records document, not suitable for public use. Thanks to Allen Larner for calling attention to the error.) Many thanks to Dan Perkuchin for all the work he put into bringing our records up to date!

"New" birding hot spot: Dowell's Draft

In the course of doing surveys for the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project (see news items below), on June 30 Andrew Clem "discovered" a birding hot spot that was previously unknown to the local birding community: Dowell's Draft, which is close to Braley Pond and Chimney Hollow, near the village of West Augusta. Near the trail head, an Acadian Flycatcher was singing, along with Ovenbirds and Worm-eating Warblers. At least two Northern Parulas were heard and seen just a bit further along the fire road. The highlight was a singing Prairie Warbler, briefly scuffling with another bird, presumably of the same species. A couple hundred yards after that, another Prairie Warbler was singing, and several Black and White Warblers and American Redstarts were making a racket, probable families in both cases. After a stream crossing, the trail begins a long uphill climb toward the east. Along the way, Scarlet Tanagers and Red-eyed Vireos were seen, and Pine Warblers were heard. At a clearing near the summit of Chestnut Oak Knob were Indigo Buntings, Eastern Towhees, and Worm-eating Warblers.

Montage 30 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Parula, Prairie Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, and in center, Indigo Bunting and Red-bellied Woodpecker. (June 30, 2018)

Dowell's Draft happens to be located in or adjacent to the right of way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, which began to clear a wide swath of trees in western Augusta County this past spring. How this project will affect birds and other wildlife remains to be seen...

A second visit to Dowell's Draft on July 10 yielded mutliple Northern Parulas once again, as well as Ovenbirds and Worm-eating Warblers, but no Prairie Warblers.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dowells Draft

The future course of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in Dowells Draft. (July 10, 2018)

On July 14, Penny Warren, Ann Cline, and Andrew Clem made a follow-up visit to Dowell's Draft, seeing or hearing most of the same birds as before. Most importantly, a singing male Prairie Warbler was photographed, confirming probable breeding activity in that location. Another nice surprise (not previously seen there) was a Black-throated Green Warbler, either female or juvenile. There will probably be a field trip to Dowell's Draft in early September.

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler at Dowell's Draft, July 14, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Ann Cline)

Northern Parula

Northern Parula at Dowell's Draft, July 14, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Ann Cline)

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat along Balsley Road east of Staunton, July 15, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Ann Cline)

Braley Pond field trip

On June 16, John Spahr led five other Augusta Bird Club members on a second field trip focused on the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project. (See the June 2 report below.) The main destination was Braley Pond, near the village of West Augusta, but most of the time was spent along the Johnson Draft trail upstream from the pond. That trail turned out to be very rich in terms of likely breeding birds, and a number of Northern Parulas, Worm-eating Warblers, and Indigo Buntings (including a female with nesting material) were heard and/or seen. Afterwards, some of the members stopped for lunch at the nearby convenience store, where a Ruby-throated Hummingbird came to a feeder. Finally, they spent a while at the Chimney Hollow trail, where they succeeded in locating an Acadian Flycatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush, as well as some juvenile Eastern Phoebes.

Ed, Jo, Dan, Lisa, John at Braley Pond
Montage 16 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Northern Parula, Eastern Phoebe, Black-and-white Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Indigo Bunting (F & M). (June 16)

Annual picnic brunch

On Saturday, June 9th the Augusta Bird Club held its annual spring picnic brunch, this time at Humpback Rocks Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Attendance was HUGE -- about 30 people -- reflecting the nice weather and the recent surge in club membership. Crista Cabe and Andrew Clem led two separate groups on hikes along nearby trails, and a nice variety of birds were heard and seen. Among the highlights were Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Cerulean Warblers, American Redstarts, and Blue-headed Vireos. And to top it off, the picnic food was wonderful! Many thanks to Linda Matkins, who organized and carried out the big event, and to all the folks who took the time to prepare tasty treats, and finally, to those who helped set up and later clean up all of the picnic paraphernalia.

Picnic brunch group at overlook near HumpbackRocks

>> Overlook >> Trail sign >> Food table >> Picnic table 1 >> Picnic table 2 >> Picnic table 3 >> Picnickers

Montage 09 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Wood Pewee, Cerulean Warbler, Indigo Bunting, American Redstart, Blue-headed Vireo, and in center, Red-tailed Hawk. (June 9)

Highland County field trip

On June 6, three Augusta Bird Club members went on a hastily-improvised field trip to Highland County, taking advantage of momentary good weather. They succeeded in spotting three main target species. At the Blue Grass cemetery, several Bobolinks were singing and displaying. A few miles north, two male Golden-winged Warblers were seen, along with other warblers, including a female Yellow Warbler in her nest. Finally, at Paddy Knob (on the southwest corner of Highland County, on the West Virginia state line), an elusive Mourning Warbler was briefly spotted, as well as Black-throated Blue Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, and a Least Flycatcher.

Ann Cline, Andrew Clem, Linda Corwin in Highland County
Montage 06 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Mourning Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Bobolink, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Least Flycatcher, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler (F) in nest!, and in center, Chestnut-sided Warbler. (June 6)

Swoope field trip

On June 2, John Spahr led five other Augusta Bird Club members on a field trip around the Swoope area, as part of the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas project. The big highlight was when Nancy Lawler spotted a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest on a horizontal tree branch not far away, and soon the mother-to-be was seen in the nest! In a nearby tree, two Eastern Wood-Pewees seemed to be preparing a nest. Also close by were two Yellow-billed Cuckoos, but efforts to photograph them did not pan out.

Montage 02 Jun 2018

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Red-headed Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Orchard Oriole (1st-yr. male), Willow Flycatcher, Bobolink, Eastern Wood Pewee, Ruby-throated Hummingbird (F) in nest!, American Goldfinch, and in center, Eastern Bluebird. (June 2)

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