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(this month and next)
Feb 8, Mar 14
Generally, the second Monday of each month. For more information, see the Meetings page.
RECENT BIRD ALERT:
A Northern Parula has been seen in downtown Bridgewater since mid-January, and occasional Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls have been seen in the Bell's Lane area, as well as a Snow Goose.
Last bird alert:
21 Jan 2016
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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.
Blue Ridge Young Birders
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Program for the February 8, 2016 meeting:
Birding in Thailand
On Saturday January 16, Allen Larner led the Augusta Bird Club's semi-annual field trip to Highland County. The weather was chilly and breezy, with occasional sleet or drizzle, frequently shifting between overcast and partly sunny skies. Those rough conditions probably accounted for the absence of any hoped-for Golden Eagles, although we did come across many Ravens and Juncos in several locations, as well as a nice mixture of songbirds at various backyard feeders. Overall, however, it was a big disappointment.
So, late in the morning we gave up on Highland County and headed south to Bath County, where things immediately got busy. At some ponds along Route 220, we saw several Hooded Merganser and about 100 Ring-necked Ducks, along with several other species. Driving along Back Creek toward the reservoir, we finally saw some Bald Eagles. Approaching Lake Moomaw, we were startled by a Ruffed Grouse which flushed just a few feet away from the car. Once we arrived at the lake, we were even more surprised to see a Double-crested Cormorant, far from its normal wintering grounds along the Atlantic coast. Along the upstream portion of the lake we saw two groups of Common Mergansers, numbering eleven altogether. There were quite a few woodpeckers and songbirds in the trees and bushes in that area, most notably a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Fox Sparrow. All those sightings made the venture quite worthwhile.
On the way back to Staunton, we checked out the Swoope area, hoping (in vain) to find some Short-eared Owls. We did see a pair of Bald Eagles near Smith Pond, however, presumably the same ones which have raised young ones there in recent years.
Altogether, 44 species were counted, four of which were heard only. Many thanks to Allen Larner for leading this trip!
At the January meeting, local artist Peg Sheridan gave a talk on how she paints wild birds, with a live demonstration of painting a Great Horned Owl. She uses watercolor, and does various wildlife and scenic paintings in addition to wild birds. After the meeting, her original paintings and greeting card print packages were available for sale.
On Saturday December 19, the Augusta County Christmas Bird Count was held with a total of ten teams out in the field. The weather was less than ideal with starting temperatures at a cool 21, eventually rising to 42 degrees, and strong winds which kept many of the birds hunkered down and out of view. Altogether we managed to find 76 species plus four more during the count week. The rain on Thursday and winds on Friday resulted in a good assortment of waterfowl on the count day. My team started at 5 A.M. and we managed to find 3 species of owls, with a total of 62 species for the day. When Gabriel Mapel got home from the Rockingham CBC he managed to add a Great Horned Owl to our list, bringing our total to 76 species. Below are some of the most notable birds that were found.
The final tally from the Waynesboro Christmas Bird Count, supervised by Crista Cabe, is still pending.