Crow’s Nest and Aquia Landing – November 5, 2016

By Sally Knight

Arriving at Crow’s Nest just before 8:00am, the sun was a ball of fire in the Eastern sky and mist was rising off the creek.  Frost on the boardwalk made walking slippery in the chill morning air.   Geese were honking, Cardinals chipping and a Great Blue Heron flew over, all welcome sights and sounds to the start of a new day.

Four club members, Brenda Chase, Bev and Jim Arnold and myself, enjoyed a picture perfect morning doing what we love – observing birds in their natural habitat.  We spent the first hour on the boardwalk which was alive with birds and their songs.  A Belted Kingfisher flew by followed by a skein of 16 Double-crested Cormorants.  Song Sparrows were perched everywhere and singing sweetly, severacrowsnest1l Swamp Sparrows gave us good looks, and an Eastern Phoebe preened, and pumped its tail.

One of the highlights of the day was the large number of Eastern Bluebirds, busy eating berries and pleasing us with their burbling song.  Red-wing Blackbirds, and Common Grackles were hanging out together and we had a Brown Thrasher and Northern Mocking bird too.

As expected, the waterfowl has not shown up yet so we only had a few Wood Duck, Mallard and American Black Duck fly by.  We heard a Red–tailed Hawk calling and got to see an adult and juvenile Bald Eagle.

With the lure of seeing a Red-headed Woodpecker, we pulled ourselves away from the birdy boardwalk and headed down the creekside trail.  Along the way we heard and saw Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Whicrowsnest2te-breasted Nuthatches, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.  However, it wasn’t until we were almost back to the parking lot when we spotted our first, and only, Red-headed Woodpecker for the day – a beautiful adult.  Phew!

Back at the parking lot we said goodbye to Bev and Jim, while Brenda and I continued on to Aquia Landing.  There was little action on the water ,however we did have more Canada Geese, Double-crested Cormorant, several Pied-billed Grebe and 2 Common Loons.  There was a large group of Gulls on the far pier which looked to be mainly Ring-billed.  There were a couple of Laughing Gulls and several Forster’s Terns.  I had almost given up on our “guaranteed” Mute Swans when I spotted one in the distance.

crowsnest3Another nice surprise was an Osprey perched in a tree in the picnic area busy eating a fish.  He, or she, kept an eye on us but did not spook and we got nice views.  Other birds seen were 3 adult Bald Eagles, a flock of Cedar Waxwings, Song and White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and more Bluebirds.

After an enjoyable morning with spectacular Fall weather, great company, and some good birds, 43 species, we called it a day and headed home.


Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Bald Eagle
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Forster’s Tern
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch

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