[va-bird] Mountain Top birds, Augusta & Rockingham Co.

Just a few highlights from two recent trips to Augusta County's highest
peaks and nearby points.
 
Friday morning, July 7 with Lisa Hamilton -- Elliott Knob on Great North
Mtn.  Elevation:  4463 ft.
Things were relatively quiet, presumably many birds are preoccupied with
feeding young, of which we saw many, mostly young streak-chested and
dark-billed juncos, several family groups of Black-capped Chickadees and
a few young towhees.  I also flushed a grouse chick that got stuck in
the thick grass and ground cover tangle.  I extracted it from the
tangles as it called out.  The hen was not around and the rest of the
clutch must have remained motionless as their instincts dictate.  A
short list of key species includes:
 
Ruffed Grouse (1 downy chick)
Hairy Woodpecker 
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee -- at least 25, including fledged young; song,
call and fieldmarks were all good for BCCH.
Winter Wren -- 1, heard only, but what a song
Veery -- 5
 
Chestnut-sided Warbler -- 9
Black & White Warbler -- 3
Canada Warbler -- 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler -- 5, including singing males
Ovenbird -- 1, at the lower elevations near the road
 
Scarlet Tanager
E. Towhee -- many
D-e Junco -- 35
Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- 3
 
Sunday Morning, July 9, solo -- Reddish Knob, another 4000+ ft peak just
south of the Rockingham County line.
A similar array of species -- juncos, veery, chickadee, Chestnut-sided
and Black-throated Green Warbler.  No Canada Warbler to my dismay.
 
I then went south into Rockingham County along the east ridge of
Shenandoah Mtn towards Flagpole and Bother Knob.  In walking a short
stretch of the road I was impressed with the number of recently fledged
and juvenile birds that were encountered.  Much of the following count
was by sight only, as there was little vocalization except, of course,
by the towhees, juncos and chickadees.
 
Wild Turkey -- 1 flew over my vehicle on 924
White-breasted Nuthatch -- 2
Raven -- including one family with two large young birds along the road
Chickadees -- at least 30, all Black-capped by sight and sound, with
many family groups of up to 8 birds.
T. Titmouse -- 2
Wood Thrush -- 1
Veery --6, including one perched in the open on the tip of a dead
hemlock singing and calling repeatedly
Blue-headed Vireo -- 6, including 2 fledged young
 
N. Parula -- 1 juvenile only
Blk-throated Green -- 8, including 1 fledgling
Blk-throated Blue -- 3
Hooded Warbler -- 1
Blk & White Warbler -- 1
Pine Warbler -- 2, including 1 juvenile (a very plain brown bird with
faint wingbars that, were it not for the adult nearby, would have been
quite a puzzle)
Yellow-rumped Warbler -- 6, including 2 young
Ovenbird -- 1 was flushed from the ground; could not find the nest.
None were heard singing!
Redstart -- 1 male, high up in spruce tree; not vocalizing
Worm-eating Warbler -- a family of 4, the two scruffy ones were
presumably the young
 
Chipping Sparrows -- 12
Juncos -- dozens, with many family groups
Towhees -- ditto
Scarlet Tanager -- 1 pair of adults
Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- 3
Indigo Buntings -- of course
 
Other expected birds that were not found on either day include Magnolia
Warbler, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Maybe next
time.
 
John Spahr
Staunton
 
 
 
 

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