I'm a little behind on updating, but last weekend I went to Glen Alton Nature Education Center in Southwest Virginia (I don't actually know what town it's in, and I'm too lazy to look it up). It's in Jefferson National Forest right on the border of West Virginia. There are a few miles of wooded trails, a small man-made pond, and a fabulous wetland area surrounded by lush mountains. I went with the New River Valley bird club, who was also going to Hanging Rock Hawk Observatory on Peters Mountain in West Virginia afterwards, but my group wanted to head back early, so we only went to Glen Alton. Here's a tally of the most exciting birds of the day:
Cape May Warblers
Hermit Thrush NEST
Female American Redstart
(Magnolia, Tennessee, Prairie Warblers, Brown Creeper) - I didn't see them so I'm not counting them, but they were there apparently
Black-Throated Blue Warbler
The bold ones are my lifers (all the ones in parentheses would have been lifers if I'd been fast enough to see them...g-dangit). But 6 in one day is nothing to complain about, that's for sure! I would have loved to go to Hanging Rock, but I suppose I'll get out there at some point. The most exciting ones for me were the Redstart and the BTB, as I've been wanting to see them for awhile and they definitely lived up to my expectations. I was the one who spotted the Bald Eagle through the trees, and it was fun being congratulated by the rest of the group (who are basically my heroes). I've updated eBird with all of my sightings since the end of July (which is when I started keeping lists on my outings) and I've seen 50 species since then! Most of them are fairly common, but there are a few rarities to brag about in there. Seeing as that's about half of the species I've seen in my life, I'd say my knowledge and life list are growing exponentially at the moment. I guess that's what happens when you're a newbie. All I know is I'm having a blast, and I want to make the most of the Fall migration before it starts to wane. I saw a Cape May Warbler and a Prothonotary Warbler on campus last week, so I didn't even have to travel to get some benefits of the migration. The monarchs have been flying up a storm, and it's fun to watch them as I walk from class to class. I did a speech in my public speaking class about competitive birding yesterday, and it seemed to be very well-received. Maybe I inspired a birder or two. Probably wishful thinking but you never know. Anywho, I'm off to do some homework. I'll update you after my birding trip this Saturday.