Saturday, October 26, 2013

First Eastern Meadowlark

On the first chill-you-to-the-bone morning of the season, I joined a group for a walk around Sky Meadows. Basically, every experienced birder I've talked to since I started this adventure back in May has told me that I have to visit Sky Meadows... and boy were they right. Not only was the birding top notch, the scenery is exceptional, too. Already looking forward to the next visit.

As expected, there were numerous sparrows--Savannah and Song being most abundant--but what I didn't expect were so many Eastern Meadowlarks (a life bird for me). They're simply spectacular little birds, with the sweetest little songs, and one even perched long enough for me to snap a photo. (If you look closely, you'll see he's singing in one of the pics.)

I was lucky, too, to join Linda Millington for looks at a Barn Owl, a Mute Swan, and a Trumpeter Swan (all three life birds for me). We caught but a fleeting glimpse of the Barn Owl, but it was enough to make me gasp. I've been searching all over Northern Virginia for an owl, any owl, since May; it turns out I just needed to pay a visit to Linda's neck of the woods. If only I'd taken her up on the offer months ago...

The swans, too, were breathtaking, but the wind had become so ferocious that we could only stand to be outside for a few minutes. It was just enough time to spot the differences between the Mute and the Trumpeter bills.

Probably the most extraordinary moment, though, was the viewing of the Ross's Goose. We all owe Elizabeth a debt of gratitude for spotting the little guy while he was leading a V of Canada Geese. It was lovely to see the diminutive Ross's on the pond, sure, but up in the air... that was special. 

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