For my 11th straight day of birding, I arrived at Occoquan early this morning in hopes of hearing or seeing something unusual. I sat at the closed gate for about 40 minutes, just listening to the Prairie Warblers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos marking their territories. Once through the gates, it became clear that the yellow-hued warblers--Prairies, Yellow Warblers, Prothonotary Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and even a Yellow-breasted Chat--were in the majority.
By far, the highlight for me was finally capturing a King Rail crossing the path! Since first reading about other folks fortunate enough to witness this event (or Sora at Huntley Meadows, or Virginia Rails at CBEC), I've been desperate to have a glimpse of my own. Persistence finally paid off.
The wonders of Occoquan really were on full display this morning: Wild Turkeys strolling through the meadow; a just-cooperative-enough Marsh Wren (a lifer!); Eagles, Osprey, and Eastern Kingbirds in their nests; Cuckoos, Thrashers, and Orioles (Orchard and Baltimore) seemingly everywhere; a Beaver carrying supplies across the pond; and a stealthy Raccoon clearly looking to stir up some trouble. It's mornings like this that keep me sane.