On Friday morning, April 21, 23 VSO members met at Craney Island for a field trip. Bill Williams and Mitchell Byrd of CVWO, led the caravan. Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory supports the on-going survey which continues Ruth Beck's long-standing conservation and education efforts at Craney Island and several other coastal Virginia sites. http://www.cvwo.org/
Black-necked Stilts, Dunlin, Dowitchers and Yellowlegs awaited us at the first stop, an impoundment cell on the south side. Jason Strickland did an awesome job of keeping the eBird list. Clark Schweigaard Olsen drove Bob Ake with his broken leg to the best possible spots to see birds from the truck. A pair of American Oystercatchers shared a rock jetty with an immature Bald Eagle. American Avocets leisurely fed at another cell. A Peregrine Falcon was spotted surveying the shorebird lunch buffet. A Least Tern flew in and patrolled back and forth, perhaps looking for the best nesting spot. Northern Shovelers, Ruddy Ducks, Gadwall and Blue & Green-winged Teal tried to keep as much distance between us and them as possible. A Horned Grebe and a Red-throated Loon were seen out toward the I-664 bridge/tunnel. All too soon the field trip was over. Some folks decided to visit Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve a mile, or two, away. A Hooded Warbler teased with its song but rewarded Kathy Louthan's persistence with a pose or two for her camera. Among many other finds at Hoffler Creek were a Black and White Warbler, an Ovenbird and a Red-eyed Vireo.
Thanks to Shannon Reinheimer, from the Army Corps of Engineers, and to the Corps, for allowing access to this site. Great appreciation goes to Bill Williams and Mitchell Byrd who continue the bird survey work at Craney Island and are building on the bank of critical knowledge about the birds that use Craney as a stop-over in migration and those that nest there.