Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I love this time of year. Much happening now that the weather has broken. Here are some firsts from the past week:

Black Skimmer - 4/21 (6th record from yard)
Chimney Swift - 4/25 (Arrival Dates: 4/10 to 5/1)
Great Crested Flycatcher - 4/25 (Arrival Dates: 4/25 to 5/1)
Eastern Kingbird - 4/23 (Arrival Dates: 4/18 to 4/30)
White-eyed Vireo - 4/25 (Arrival Dates: 4/9 to 4/26)
Prairie Warbler - 4/23 (Arrival Dates: 4/21 to 4/23)
Blue Grosbeak - 4/25 (Arrival Dates: 4/24 to 5/27)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Weekly Update 4/20/07

Not much happening - weather has been horrible here on the river.

I think nothing else needs to be said re: the VT horror. I know everyone has the Hokies in their minds, hearts, & prayers.

I have a pair of mature BALD EAGLES hanging around. One had a 5lb+ rockfish which it flew off with. Not sure if it scavenged or caught it. I don't know of a local nest either. A friend of mine who lives in Isle of Wight County had one in his back yard on 4/17. It is not far from me as the eagle flies - may be one of "my" pair.

I had my first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (a male) of the year on 4/16 while we were having strong winds.

On 4/14 I found a BONAPARTE'S GULL over the Nansemond River. I remember that boneys were much more common here about 15-20 years ago.

ROYAL TERNS are present now in the dozens over the river. Yesterday a pair of LESSER YELLOWLEGS passed over.

I think the most memorable sight this past week was the show put on by hundreds of TREE SWALLOWS on 4/15. I was working out in the yard and noticed a few skimming my front yard. The Tree Swallow is a beautiful bird - I love the blue-green sheen to the backs of these birds. Anyway, the "storm" had abated somewhat and turned quite warm (70 deg) and I eagerly took advantage of this moment to goldbrick and watched the swallows. I noticed that there were hundreds of swallows (both Tree and Barn) extending many 100's of feet into the air. They seemed to be pushed by a storm front which was bearing down upon our point in the river. The strong wind quickly passed and took the swallows (plus the warmth) with it. The temperature dropped about 15 degrees as I reluctantly returned to work.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Royal Terns arrive - plus "snow"birds & more!

Weekly happenings:
1. Royal Terns returned (reterned?) here on the Nansemond River in Suffolk on 4/6. Return dates vary greatly from 3/17 to 4/20.

2. I can now count eleven (11) Osprey nests on the river from my kitchen window alone. I have observed much more interaction between the pairs this year. There have been many chases as Ospreys encroach too close to other nests.

3. I heard my first Northern Bobwhite calling last Tuesday from across the river.

Easter-eve Snow!
I woke up on Saturday (4/7) morning to rain (but it would change over and leave a little under an inch of snow by noon). As I scanned the river I found 25+ Forster's Terns and a Great Egret. The terns were whipping around like a wind driven snowstorm - a precursor to the snow we would have later on in the morning. Later, a dozen or so Tree Swallows swept by close to the water trying to dodge the wind & snow. The three pairs of Purple Martins certainly did not appear to enjoy the weather at all! But all are active today so they appear to have survived the storm. I'm attaching a still pic of them & a video clip will be found at

Good Birds!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Barn Swallow, Field Sparrow, Drenched Eagle!

New arrivals: Barn Swallow (3/31), Tree Swallow (4/1), Field Sparrow (3/31 - we didn't have any in the yard this winter).

Arrival Data for Barn Swallow:

Also, I observed a young Bald Eagle atop on of the power towers. The bird was drying his wings like a cormorant or vulture after being caught in a thundershower (i.e., outstretched to catch the wind & sun). Something I hadn't observed before.

Good Birding!