Monday, March 23, 2009

Birding North Virginia & Washington, DC

March 21, 2009

Hi Everyone,

Just back from a short family trip to the Leesburg area in North Virginia. We were down visiting friends and touring around the Washington, DC area visiting many of the sites, museums and doing some birding.

Even though we were only 10 hours south of Ottawa, there was a tremendous difference in the birds. On March 15th, along Interstate 81 just south of Watertown, there was a steady migration of Snow Geese overhead with 10,000+ heading north in various flock sizes.

As we continued south into Pennsylvania the numbers of Turkey Vultures increased and Common Grackle, Red-winged blackbirds and American Robins were everywhere. During our stay, feeders were visited by many species including Tufted Titmouse, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, and Pine Siskin while backyard activity included Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Bluebird, White-throated Sparrow and Fox Sparrow to name a few.

A visit to a few nature reserves in the area produced many new species including flocks of Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Pipit, a Brown Thrasher, and Tree Swallows. It won't be to long before many of these species reach the Ottawa area.

Northern Cardinals were plentful in the Leesburg,Virginia area.

The Tufted Titmouse was a regular visitor to the feeders.

At the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History we spent time looking at mounted specimens of birds including the extinct Carolina Parakeet which were once a common sight in the southeastern states. Sometimes birds ranged as far north as New York and Wisconsin. The last definite records in the wild were in 1904.

Good birding,

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