[va-bird] northern virginia teen bird club: Vienna to Accotink Bay

  • From: Frederick Atwood <fredatwood@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Virginia Bird <va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 08:26:43 -0800 (PST)

Yesterday afternoon (Dec 9, 2006), 4 of us (Cody
Vaughan, Flint Hill senior; Duncan Coltharp,
O'Connell freshman; Nolan Brit, O'Connell
bioteacher; and I) were treated to a brief but
excellent view of the Rufous Hummingbird at the
feeder in Vienna after waiting in the minibus for
about 15 minutes. From there we went to Burke
Lake where there a few more waterfowl than our
visit there last week for the NVAS waterfowl
survey. A mixed flock of fishing female
mergansers gave us a good lesson on
identification (6 red-breasted, 1 common) with a
patrolling herring gull who was hoping to steal a
fish. Also present were 1 male bufflehead showing
beautiful green and violet on his head, 2 male
ring-necked ducks, about 18 mallard, about 30
canada geese, 2 pied-billed grebes, 5 great blue
herons, several ring-billed gulls, and about a
dozen ruddy ducks.  Then we scooted down to
Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge in Fort Belvoir to
look for the white pelican near the archery range
on Little Road.  We did not find the pelican in
the 1.5 hours that we were there. However we saw
1 tundra swan, 2 black hawks (helicopters) 1
red-bellied whirlibird, 3 boatloads of
camouflaged hunters and their dogs and decoys
(including some decoys with fluttering wings),
hundreds of coot, hundreds of ruddy ducks,
hundreds of lesser scaup, a couple dozen pintail,
2 shovelers, mallards, black ducks, canada geese,
1 male kingfisher, about 40 great blue herons,
ring-billed gulls, herring gulls and a beaver. An
immature red-shouldered hawk whom we saw
extremely well--filling the field-of- view in the
scope--was perched low along the shoreline
seeming to ignore the mockingbird and the flock
of juncos and sparrows. We later found out why
when he was seen eating a crayfish.  Other birds
included both kinglets, song and white-throated
sparrows, mourning doves, jays, both crows,
bluebirds, titmice, chickadees, downy, flicker,
and others. We also enjoyed the sounds of pebbles
skittering across the ice.  The sunset was
spectacular with the ruddy ducks silhouetted
against the multi-colored ripples made by the
swimming beaver and the gentle breeze, the
scalloped clouds glowing a fiery red, and the ice
reflecting mellow shades of purple and pink.

Our next northern virginia teen bird club field
trip (sponsored by the Audubon Society of
Northern Virginia and Flint Hill School) is
scheduled for January 20.  Presently we are
considering that this field trip may be to Bombay
Hook in Delaware from 9 AM to 9 PM to see the
huge flocks of snow geese. 
All the best

Frederick D. Atwood     fredatwood@xxxxxxxxx
Flint Hill School, 10409 Academic Dr, Oakton, VA 22124
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