Field Trip Report: 9-11 June 2017 - New River Valley

Mother Nature delivered beautiful weather and an abundance of birds for the 55 participants in the VSO's field trip to the New River Valley on June 9-11. Many thanks to Bill Akers and Jerry Via, who led the trips and put in many hours in advance checking out the field trip areas to make sure the birds would make an appearance when we arrived. And appear they did, with 103 species (including 18 warbler species) tallied for the 3 days.

We appreciated the donuts and water they provided for us on Saturday, as well as the assistance from several members of the New River Valley Bird Club: Anna Altizer, John Ford, Hailey Olsen-Hodges, Don Mackler, Bill Opengari, and Pat Polentz.

Friday afternoon the entire group traveled to the Biological Station at Mountain Lake and areas around the Lodge. On the way up the mountain on Route 700, we stopped at a magnificent overlook, where we enjoyed scenic views as well as great looks at Chestnut- sided Warbler and Scarlet Tanager. A Red-tailed Hawk glided by, and we had the unique opportunity to observe it from above AND below. Some lucky folks got glimpses of a Golden-winged Warbler.

In our walk around the Biological Station, we found Blue-headed Vireo, Blackburnian Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Dark-eyed Junco. At Mountain Lake we heard a Canada Warbler and Wood Thrush songs and saw Black-throated Blue Warbler, Veery and Hairy Woodpecker.

On Saturday we visited Glen Alton and Kelly Flats in Giles County. We divided into three groups and then came back together in the parking lot for lunch. Upon arrival, we heard the vigorous song of a Chestnut-sided Warbler that continued singing throughout the morning. Among the highlights: Blackburnian Warbler, nesting Brown Creeper, Northern Flicker feeding young, Scarlet Tanager, Cedar Waxwing and Baltimore Oriole. At Kelly Flats we found both Hermit Thrush and Wood Thrush. A few observed a Louisiana Waterthrush bathing in a puddle on the side of the road.

After lunch Bill Opengari led a group to River Bend near Pearisburg to explore a beautiful area along the New River where they added a Double-crested Cormorant to our list. Others accompanied Bill Akers and Jerry Via to a road off Route 460 where Hooded Warbler and Kentucky Warbler were found.

On Sunday we visited 2 spots near the host hotel in Blacksburg. At Blacksburg High School, we scored four species that were previously hard to find in the area: Savannah and Grasshopper Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, and Willow Flycatcher. We then traveled to Deerfield Trail just a few miles away and tallied 49 species, including Baltimore Oriole, Orchard Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, and a Cedar Waxwing on a nest.

Thanks to all who attended and enjoyed this special weekend. The complete list of species seen or heard is shown below.

Meredith Bell
Hayes, VA
VSO Field Trip Co-Chair

Official List of Observed Species

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Wild Turkey
Double-crested Cormorant
Green Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Killdeer
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow