FBC Outing to the Northern Neck & George Washington’s Birthplace

We met at the Walmart on Route 3 east of Fredericksburg and were underway by 9am.  Our first sighting, in a stubble field on the right hand side of route 3 about a mile from Walmart, was a group of approx. 20 Wild Turkeys.

Our first stop was La Grange Road to scan the gravel pits/ponds there.  Here we had our first Tundra Swans for the day, Ring Billed Gulls, Bufflehead, Canvasback, Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Red Breasted and Hooded Mergansers, Ring-neck Ducks, Canada Geese, Redheads, and American Coot.  We also saw several Eastern Bluebirds and Red-wing Blackbirds.

We then drove down to Coles Point, a place recommended by Fred Atwood, past Montross. Just before arriving we spotted another group of 8-10 Turkeys and pulled over.  While sitting there 2 Red-tailed Hawks flew over and the Turkeys spread their tails and wings to warn them off!   When we pulled up at Coles Point, after a long drive, the sun made a welcome appearance and we scanned the Potomac.  Right off, I spotted a lone Black Scoter, and we had more Bufflehead.  At this point, Joyce was approached by a home owner to say the area was private property but that he was okay with us being there and, did we want to come see a male Painted Bunting that had been coming to his feeders?  Of course, we did!

His house fronted the river with a nice beach area and dock. From here, we watched the feeders and scanned the river.  There were Ruddy Ducks close to the dock and, more exciting, several beautiful Long-tailed Ducks and Common Goldeneyes, both male and female, which gave us good looks. Back around the feeders we had White-throated and House Sparrows, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Cardinals, Juncos, and Cedar Waxwings in the newly budding trees.  Unfortunately, the Painted Bunting did not make an appearance for us and we reluctantly decided to head on. We drove a little further to the left on Coles Point, and found a spot where we could scan the river between the houses.  Here we saw many more Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Scaup, one Horned Grebe, and a fly by White-winged Scoter.

We headed on to GW’s birthplace arriving at 1:30pm. We met up with Lee at the picnic area and enjoyed our lunch in the warm sun overlooking  the river.  Here we saw several Bald Eagles, and thought we had an Osprey, before realizing it was a 3rd year Bald Eagle, thank you Lee Adams!  From the picnic area we drove down to the beach and spotted several Surf Scoters, more Bufflehead and Common Goldeneyes.  Next we stopped at the ponds on the left and picked up Gadwall, Wood Duck, and Lee saw some American Wigeon and Mallard.  We then walked to the cemetery where Lee had earlier seen both Pine and Palm Warblers and a Hermit Thrush.  We were not so lucky, but did see several Yellow-rumped Warblers high up in the trees and Tufted Titmice.  As I drove back to the visitor center 2 Northern Bobwhite ran across the road in front of us.  We scanned again from the visitor center and picked up 5 or 6 Common Mergansers, Canada Geese, and American Crows.  It was now about 3:00pm and time to head home.  On the road out we saw our third group of Wild Turkeys for the day and a male “Gray Ghost” Harrier.

We ended up with 49 species and had a very enjoyable day.  Click here for a complete list of birds and photos.

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