FBC Delaware Shore Weekend, May 18-20, 2018

August 5th, 2018

A small group ventured up to the Delaware shore for the weekend of May 18-20. The weekend was a little rainy, but the birding was still great. Read all about the trip by clicking on the following link:

FBC-Delaware-Shore-Weekend-May-2018

Mason Neck SP Outing – March 10, 2018

March 4th, 2018

Dear FBC Members,

Our next outing will be to Mason Neck State Park on Saturday, March 10.  Please meet at the visitor center at 8:00am where we will begin by scanning the Potomac River for waterfowl and Bald Eagles.  From there we will walk the 1.2 mile Bayview Trail that skirts the Potomac and passes through various habitats where we can expect to find a variety of overwintering birds and hopefully Hermit Thrush, Eastern Towhee, and Brown Thrasher.
Depending on time and energy level we may walk the Great Marsh Trail of the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge.   This is a .75 mile paved ADA compliant trail through forest that ends at an observation platform overlooking the Great Marsh where large flocks of Tundra Swans gather in the winter.
A final stop for those interested will be a short drive out of the park to the George Mason Conflict Resolution Center where birders are invited to walk the wooded property that sits on the Potomac River across from Mason Neck.  If the weather is nice, and the center is not in use, we may want to eat lunch at one of the picnic tables.
Mason Neck is located 18 miles south of Washington DC on the banks of the Potomac River and is the first national wildlife refuge created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and specifically for the protection of the Bald Eagle.
There is an entrance fee of $5 to access Mason Neck if you don’t have a Virginia State Park pass.  The address is 7301 High Point Road, Lorton, VA 22079.
I look forward to seeing you on the 10th,
Sally

Outer Banks/Mattamuskeet, NC Trip—Feb. 2-4, 2018

February 10th, 2018

Club members joined the VSO on their Outer Banks weekend for our February 2018 outing. Click the links to read about their experiences.

Outer Banks VSO 2018 Trip Report

Outer Banks Species List

 

Southern California Trip – November 7-14, 2017

February 10th, 2018

A group of club members journey across the country for an amazing 8 days of birding lead by FBC member Mike Lott and his brother Tony. Click the link below to share in their experiences.

California Trip Report

FBC Blandy Experimental Farm, Sky Meadows and Short-eared Owls Outing – January 20, 2018

February 10th, 2018

Perhaps the largest group in club history ventured out to northwest Virginia in search of Short-eared Owls, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and other winters species. The day would not disappoint. Please click the below link to read about our fantastic day of birding.

Blandy Farm Trip Report

Birds of the Fredericksburg Canal Path Checklist

February 10th, 2018

The University of Mary Washington has generated a checklist of the birds that can be sighted on the Fredericksburg Canal Path. Click on the link to see the checklist.

Canal-Path-Birds-Checklist-Brochure-Feb-2014

Stratford Hall Geo Series: Are birds Dinosaurs

February 3rd, 2018

Dupont Library – Stratford Hall – February 10, 2018 – 9:30 – 12:00

Dr. Andrew Dolby, a nationally recognized ornithologist demystifies the evidence supporting avian evolution and pre-avian dinosaurs. He poses an interesting question and offers some background:

Tyrannosaurus rex at my bird feeder? It may be hard to fathom that the chickadee at your feeder is close kin to the mightiest predators to ever roam the earth. However, biologists have long suspected a historical relationship between dinosaurs and birds. Evidence supporting such links between animal groups can be difficult to find, but over the last two decades, troves of new fossils and a variety of new laboratory techniques have been rapidly piecing together the origins of birds. Can we settle the question: are birds dinosaurs?

Andrew Dolby, University of Mary Washington’s (UMW) Department of Biological Sciences, will review the evidence for this fascinating evolutionary story in an illustrated presentation and field observation. Dr. Dolby has been a UMW faculty member for 18 years and teaches courses in ornithology, ecology, and evolution. Additionally, he leads field trips to the Galapagos Islands and Panama and conducts field research on birds. Schedule of Activities:

  • 9:30: Event begins with refreshments
  • 10:30: Following a Q/A and break, Dr. Dolby will lead a field observation on the grounds of Stratford focusing on the concepts brought up in the lecture
  • 12:00: Event ends

Cost: $20 all ages welcome! Children 11 and under are free.

February Outing – Outer Banks Weekend with VSO

January 13th, 2018

Our February 2-4 trip will be to join the VSO Winter Field Trip to the Outer Banks, NC.  Please go to the VSO website at http://www.virginiabirds.org to register and email me.  I will send out more information closer to departure.

FBC January Outing to Blandy Experimental Farm

January 13th, 2018

Our first club outing for 2018 is Saturday, January 20th to Blandy Experimental Farm, with an opportunity to look for Red-headed Woodpeckers at Sky Meadows State Park and Short-eared Owl’s at dusk.

It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from Fredericksburg to Blandy, so we’ll plan to car pool and depart from the route 17 commuter lot at 7:30am. For those wishing to drive direct, meet us in the Blandy parking lot at 9:00am.  Please let me know, ahead of time, if you plan to participate and, if you wish to car pool.

After birding Blandy, we will have lunch at the Lone Oak Tavern, in nearby Boyce.  Depending on time, we will then stop in at Sky Meadows State Park and look for Red-headed Woodpeckers before driving the short distance to Stone Bridge and wait for dusk in the hopes of seeing Short-eared Owls.

Admission to Blandy is free, however donations to the Foundation of the State Arboretum are always welcome.  There is a $5 entrance fee for Sky Meadows State Park.

http://www.blandy.virginia.edu
http://www.loneoaktavern.com
http://www.dcr.virginia.gov (Sky Meadows SP)

FBC Bombay Hook and the Delaware Shore – August 26-27, 2017

September 16th, 2017

by Sally Knight

Five club members – Dave and Georgia Patton, Scott Byrd, Brenda Chase and myself – headed to the Delaware Shore Saturday, August 26 and met at the Bombay Hook visitor center at 9:00am.  We couldn’t have picked a nicer weekend weather wise – sunny, blue skies and a light breeze to keep the biting insects at bay.  Turned out several other bird clubs had chosen the same weekend and it was pretty busy outside the visitor center. As we gathered, we quickly picked up our first birds of the trip – Horned Larks were seen in the bare potato fields at the corner of route 9 and Leipsic Road, a good number of Purple Martins were still hanging around the martin houses and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zipped between the feeders and flower blossoms, to name a few.

Taking two cars we started the drive around the wildlife reserve, making frequent stops at the various ponds.    Raymond Pool, at first glance, looked empty, but we soon realized that was not the case.  There were Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Snowy Egrets, and Lesser Yellowlegs.  At Shearness Pool we had Great Egrets, American Avocets, Forster’s Terns, Semi-palmated Plovers, Mallards and Glossy Ibis, among others. Brenda spotted a Marbled Godwit, a large sandpiper with a long pinkish bill with a black tip, which stood out against the small peeps.  A Black-crowned Night-Heron was spotted by David in the long grasses at the edge of the ditch and a Clapper Rail was seen briefly.  One of the highlights of the trip came when all the waders took to the air as a pair of Peregrine Falcons blasted over the pool looking for a mid-morning snack. We were treated to

an up-close, aerial display as the falcons continued to chase the scattering flocks hoping for one to falter.  Our last stop before lunch was Beaver Pond where we picked up 6 juvenile Little Blue Herons and a Belted Kingfisher. Driving away, we spotted an ungainly, fledgling Goldfinch with its distinctive gape, still evident, clutching a grass stem close to the road.

Circling back to the visitor center we stopped for our picnic lunch, glad to have some shade as the day was heating up. A good spot to watch song birds, we were entertained by a family of Eastern Wood Pewees and got nice looks at a Black and White Warbler. After lunch we drove south to the DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve.  Here we added American Oyster Catchers, Ruddy Turnstones, Black-bellied Plovers, Willet, Royal and Caspian Terns, Boat-tailed Grackles and a Spotted Sandpiper among others. This is a great spot to view shore birds from the elevated visitor center deck.

Heading back north we missed the turn off for Milford Neck Wildlife Area so continued on to Little Creek.  Here we took the boardwalk to the elevated tower to scan the wetlands. The pokeweed, close to the tower, was full of juvenile Common Yellowthroats, their presence given away by a ‘wet’ chip.  In the trees along the path we had Cedar Waxwing, Red-eyed Vireo, Tufted Titmouse and Cardinals.  Wild Turkeys were spotted on the road in and, as we left, we disturbed a raptor taking off from the ground with a snake.

 

By this time it was almost 6:00pm and the question of where to have dinner was on everyone’s mind. We decided to stop by Sambo’s in Leipsic, to see if they could accommodate us, before checking in to our rooms at the Days Inn.  We were in luck, despite being completely full, a table was just leaving so we grabbed it.  The reviews were decidedly mixed so we were pleasantly surprised by the friendly, quick service and quality of the food. It was an enjoyable end to a great day.

Sunday morning we met for breakfast and departed the Inn at 6:45am as the sun was coming up.  We decided to go back to Bombay Hook and experience the reserve at daybreak.  After a quick stop to see the Horned Larks, we stopped again at the park entrance where we got to see Blue Grosbeaks, a female Eastern Towhee, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, House Finch and Catbirds feeding in the morning dew. The highlight though were several Bobolinks flitting among, and perched atop, the long grasses in the morning light – a beautiful sight. Once we made it to the visitor center and started the drive we were happy to see the crowds were gone and we had the place, almost, all to ourselves. At Raymond Pool new trip birds were Stilt Sandpiper, Wilson’s Phalarope and a singing, cooperative Marsh Wren.  Scott spotted a Magnolia Warbler and we had one of the Peregrine Falcons fly over the pool again.  At Shearness Pool on the far side I spotted an odd looking Canada Goose – it appeared to by a hybrid of some sort, maybe with a domestic Greylag Goose.  Too far away to get a photo.  We finished up at Bombay Hook with a walk along Saltmarsh Boardwalk Trail where we found a beautiful Tricolored Heron perched in a dead tree.  It was unconcerned, allowing us to walk right up and under the tree and get some killer photos!

We said goodbye to Scott and the four of us drove south to check out Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Apart from a nice, up close grouping of Short-billed Dowitchers, seen from Prime Hook Beach Road, we didn’t find anything exciting.  Fowler Beach Road was disappointing as the end is now permanently closed where we used to see Clapper Rails.   Now its used by men fishing and a few Ring-billed Gulls were hanging around waiting for some scraps.  Brenda and I made one final stop at the Prime Hook State Wildlife Management Area at the end of Little Neck Road.  A mature stand of hardwood trees, it appears to be used for hunting but no walking trails evident.  We did hear a Pileated Woodpecker, our last bird for the trip – bringing the trip count to 80 species.

 

Canada Goose

Mallard

Green-winged Teal

Wild Turkey

Double-crested Cormorant

Great blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Tricolored Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Glossy Ibis

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Bald Eagle

Clapper Rail

American Avocet

American Oystercatcher

Black-bellied Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Marbled Godwit

Ruddy Turnstone

Stilt Sandpiper

Sanderling

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher

Wilson’s Phalarope

Spotted Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Willet

Lesser Yellowlegs

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Caspian Tern

Forster’s Tern

Royal Tern

Mourning Dove

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Peregrine Falcon

Eastern Wood-pewee

White-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

Horned Lark

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Barn Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Marsh Wren

Carolina Wren

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

Black-and-white Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Magnolia Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Northern Cardinal

Blue Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Bobolink

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Boat-tailed Grackle

House Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow