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Week Ending December 20, 2015

Locations Visited: Northampton County, Virginia - Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve, Seaside Road. Virginia Beach, Virginia - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater, Kings Grant Lakes, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Pungo.

Sightings Included: Greater Yellowlegs, Brant, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Red-tailed Hawk, Orange-crowned Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Canvasback, Marsh Wren, Tundra Swan, Killdeer, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Gadwall, Mallard. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

As last week finished up, so too did this week begin with unseasonably warm temperatures across the region. We’ve also surpassed the earliest sunset of the year, which occurred somewhere around December 6, though the days continue to get shorter until December 22 (the Winter Solstice is 21-22 Dec.). How can that be? Well, the sunrises are continuing to be later, so the total daytime is still truncating. On the plus side, this means that each day we get a... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, Virginia - First Landing State Park, Kings Grant Lakes, Pleasure House Point Natural Area.

Sightings Included: Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Mallard, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Pine Siskin, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Tree Swallow, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Northern Shoveler. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Particularly wet weather to start the week ended up taking down most of the remaining fall colors, which seems about typical for the first or second week of December. The days continue to get shorter each week as well, though we’re nearing the worst of it, which takes place on the Winter Solstice on 22 Dec. The poor weather continued through about Wednesday and... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Northampton County, Virginia - Pelagic Zone. Virginia Beach, Virginia - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater, Milldam Creek Boardwalk, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract), Pungo, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel).

Sightings Included: Parasitic/Pomarine Jaeger, Northern Fulmar, Red Phalarope, Great Shearwater, Razorbill, Northern Gannet, Tundra Swan, Forster's Tern, Gadwall, Orange-crowned Warbler, Pine Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Green-winged Teal, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

On Friday evening after work, I made a quick trip up to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in search of Harlequin Ducks. Earlier in the day, they had been spotted out on North Thimble Island, which is inaccessible to individuals, but as I’d find out later in the day, the Virginia Society of Ornithology held a trip out there that was escorted officially to the spots not typically open to the public. In arriving at South Thimble Island around 3:25 PM, I parked on the southeast corner... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Charleston, South Carolina - Bull's Island, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Francis Marion National Forest, Shem Creek Park, Pitt Street Causeway.

Sightings Included: Blue-headed Vireo, Wood Ducks, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Seaside Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Horned Grebe, Common Loon, Palm Warbler, American Oystercatcher, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover, Willet, American Alligator, Common Gallinule, Savannah Sparrow. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

This week, the headliner was Thanksgiving. With the holiday on Thursday, and most birders (including myself) spending time with family, there was a drop off in sightings from previous weeks. Starting off where last week ended, the Gray Kingbird was seen again on Monday at Magotha Road in Northampton County, Virginia Beach’s neighbor to the north. Several folks included Rexanne Bruno, Giles, Jason Strickland, and Jim Marcum all added their names to the list of observers who managed to see this rarity while it was in town. Monday proved to be the final day for... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Northampton County, VA - Kiptopeke State Park, Magotha Road, Seaside Road. Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Grant Lakes, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Rudee Inlet, South Thimble Island.

Sightings Included: American Bittern, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Tundra Swan, Northern Pintail, Ruddy Duck, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Gray Kingbird, Great Cormorant, Savannah Sparrow, Franklin's Gull, Swamp Sparrow. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Last week, the excitement that ran amuck throughout Virginia Beach was centered on the fallout of Franklin’s Gulls that made their way to the coastline in front of a massive Midwestern storm event. This week continued that excitement, as on Monday afternoon, the trio of Todd Day, Matt Anthony and Jason Strickland managed to pick out a Franklin’s on one of the offshore jetties at East Beach in Norfolk! During the Rarity Roundup last Saturday, the teams in the field made use of a texting group (via: GroupMe) to get information relayed back and forth between... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater Road, Mill Dam Creek Boardwalk, Morris Neck Road, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract), Pungo, Rudee Inlet.

Sightings Included: Horned Grebe, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Purple Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Great Horned Owl, American Pipit, Blue-headed Vireo, Pine Siskin, Eurasian Wigeon, Savannah Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Killdeer, White-throated Sparrow, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Gadwall, Bonaparte's Gull. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

This week had a bit of a slow start, but it managed to turn itself into one of the most exciting weeks of the year to date! Temperatures ranged from night-time lows in the 30s & 40s to daytime highs close to 80 degrees F. After clouds on Monday and Tuesday departed, the remainder of the week was filled with beautiful, completely sunny skies. The CVWO Seawatch at Rudee Inlet continues to log some of our interesting winter visitors to the immediate coastline included... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Fairfax County, VA - Huntley Meadows County Park, South Run Stream Valley Park. Virginia Beach, VA - Kings Grant Lakes.

Sightings Included: American Black Duck, Mallard, American Wigeon, Wood Duck, Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue Jay, Brown Creeper, Downy Woodpecker, Canada Goose, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Chipmunk Hermit Thrush. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

With November comes early darkness, with the end of Daylight Savings Time having occurred on November 1st, and also comes unstable weather. Throughout our first full week of the month, Virginia Beach saw temperatures ranging from highs in the low 80s on Thursday, to lows in the 40s on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The up and down temperatures didn’t stop birders from getting out and seeing some neat birds though. Waterfowl and Shorebirds continue to yield First-of-Season (FOS) sightings. At the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory’s Seawatch from Rudee... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater, Pleasure House Point Natural Area.

Sightings Included: Marsh Wren, American Black Duck, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nelson's Sparrow, Black Skimmer, Green Heron, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, White Ibis, Western Kingbird, Eastern Cottonmouth, Merlin, Eastern Bluebird, Bald Eagle, Wood Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Surprisingly for the end of October, the weather actually warmed up this week and we were treated to some gorgeous days in the 70s! Even with the rising temperatures, wintering waterfowl continued to trickle into the region. This past week saw the first Long-tailed Duck up at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (Rexanne Bruno, 29 Oct), as well as Virginia Beach’s first Hooded Merganser & Brant (Swiader, 1 Nov) at Pleasure House Point Natural Area. Yellow-crowned... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Augusta County, VA - Shenandoah National Park. Nelson County, VA - George Washington National Forest. Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Pungo.

Sightings Included: Marsh Wren, White-tailed Deer, Swamp Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Merlin, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Hermit Thrush, American Black Duck, Nelson's Sparrow, Northern Shoveler, Red-shouldered Hawk, Black Bear . Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

The days continue to get shorter, but despite this, the birding continued to produce good results in Virginia Beach this week, though markedly less than the absurdity of two weeks ago. The weather took a nose dive last weekend, but it rose back into the 70s by mid-week, continuing to be warm through the end of the week. Some late fall migrants, like Palm Warblers, continue to trickle through the area on their southward journeys. Some will try to stay the winter, but... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Grant Lakes, Pleasure House Point Natural Area.

Sightings Included: Blue Grosbeak, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Nelson's Sparrow, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Song Sparrow, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Tricolored Heron, Great Blue Heron, Savannah Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Carolina Wren, Marsh Wren, Monarch, Northern Flicker, Black Skimmer, Eastern Phoebe, Fish Crown, Common Buckeye . Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

While last week will easily go down as the most exciting week of migration in 2015, this week still managed to hold some great birds, though noticeably less volume. As the week progressed, the temperatures dropped considerable, with highs only in the low-to-mid 50s (F) by Sunday. This was the first week where I actually had to put on some cold weather gear for my birding ventures, donning my green fleece long-sleeve shirt that I’ll now wear through the spring... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Furnish Yard, Kings Grant Lakes, Lake Lawson & Lake Smith Natural Area.

Sightings Included: American Redstart, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Carolina Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-crowned Sparrow, Bald Eagle, Clapper Rail, Black Skimmer, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

With the worst of the effects from offshore Hurricane Joaquin hitting our area on Sunday, this week got started off in a more positive direction. Monday, though still dreary outside, proved to be a good start to the week when several Parasitic Jaegers were reported up on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. They would turn out to be the only seabirds that were seen due to the storm’s movement past us, but as Monday continued on things drastically changed. Ned Brinkley posted on Monday night of massive amounts of migrating birds being sighted on the Eastern... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Lake Lawson & Lake Smith Natural Area, Oceanfront, Shore Drive.

Sightings Included: Common Yellowthroat, White-crowned Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Semipalmated Plover, American Bittern, Spotted Sandpiper, Pied-billed Grebe, Peregrine Falcon, Little Blue Heron, Yellowlegs, Black-bellied Plover, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Kingbird, Baltimore Oriole, Marsh Rabbit, Praying Mantis, Obscure Birdwing Grasshopper, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Ruddy Turnstone. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

As was the tale of last week here in Virginia Beach, so went this week. Clouds, wind, and rain began the week on Monday and continued into the week. On Tuesday, east of the Bahamas, Tropical Depression 11 formed, and though it didn’t appear an immediate threat to and land areas this wouldn’t hold true for long. On Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the cyclone to a Tropical Storm, and later in the day again to a Hurricane. As of the 5 PM update on... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Chesapeake, VA - Blackwater Road. Northampton County, VA - Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge & Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve. Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater Road, Milldam Creek Boardwalk & Pleasure House Point Natural Area.

Sightings Included: Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Tricolored Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Green Heron, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Yellow Warbler, Eastern Cottonmouth, Marsh Rabbit, White-tailed Deer, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Black-and-White Warbler. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Characterized primarily by rain and dreariness, the start to the week was a tough one for anyone looking to find some birds. Early in the week, a large, low pressure system set up southeast of Cape Hatteras and buffeted the entire East Coast with strong northeasterly winds; a... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Accomack County, VA - Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Northampton County, VA - Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, Kiptopeke State Park, Magotha Road, Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve, Sunset Beach, Willis Wharf. Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Pleasure House Point Natural Area.

Sightings Included: American Avocet, American Redstart, Black-and-White Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Merlin, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Sandwich Tern, Caspian Tern, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Black-necked Stilt, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Tricolored Heron, Pectoral Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Yellow-throated Warbler, House Wren, Delmarva Fox Squirrel, Black Skimmer, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Monday started off this week with some excitement as there had been a sighting of an American Avocet over the weekend at Pleasure House Point. Timothy Barry was the... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, First Landing State Park, Kings Grant Neighborhood, & Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract).

Sightings Included: Whimbrel, Black-bellied Plover, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, Eastern Cottonmouth, Black-and-White Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, Peregrine Falcon, Pine Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Waterthrush, River Otter, Green Treefrog, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Lark Sparrow, Worm-eating Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Solitary Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, House Wren. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Since Monday was Labor Day, and a holiday for my company, I got the pleasure of spending the whole day out birding. Early on Monday morning I met up with Jason Strickland out at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, around 7:40 AM, though he'd arrived earlier in the park. We walked the Bayside & Bay Trails hoping to find a few migrant warbler species, but... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - First Landing State Park, Kings Grant Neighborhood, Lynnhaven House Historic Site, Pleasure House Point Natural Area.

Sightings Included: Red-tailed Hawk, Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Clapper Rail, American Oystercatcher, Bald Eagle, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Black-and-White Warbler, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow Warbler. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Some may have noticed (at least I hope) that I took a break from my weekly blog last week, and there was no update posted. After about 70 weeks straight with no interruptions to my weekly blog entries, an event last week arrived that was finally worth disrupting my work on the website: My Wedding! On Saturday, August 29, 2015, after just over 10 months of being engaged, my then-fiancé, Ruth, and I were married at the Oceanaire Resort Hotel at the Virginia Beach... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Stumpy Lake Natural Area.

Sightings Included: Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Willet, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper, Eastern Cottonmouth, Pectoral Sandpiper, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, White Ibis, Green Heron, Tricolored Heron, American Goldfinch, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Tiger Swallowtail, Black-and-Yellow Garden Spider

As with the previous weeks, I didn’t get any serious birding in until Friday evening. However, on Monday evening, Ruth & I made a special trip down to Sandbridge to view the “blue tide” that has showed up along the beaches. Made up of Dinoflagellates, this blue coloration has been showing up when the sun drops down and the skies turn dark. They possess a bioluminescence that lights up the water, similar to the film The Beach’s depiction of what they called ‘plankton’. Several folks had posted photographs of the anomaly to Faecbook and the local paper... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Milldam Creek Boardwalk, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract).

Sightings Included: Semipalmated Plover, Willet, Sanderling, Peregrine Falcon, Gull-billed Tern, Sandwich Tern, Royal Tern, Least Tern, Forster's Tern, Common Tern, Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Green Treefrog, Black-and-Yellow Garden Spider, Northern Bobwhite, Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Prairie Warbler, Hairy Woodpecker.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

A hectic work week, and extremely hot temperatures (again in the 90s) this week didn’t allow for any outdoor ventures until Friday evening. After work, I again walked the beach from the parking area at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to the boundary with False Cape State Park & back. One hope of mine for this outing was that perhaps I’d get another look at some Black Terns, or possibly seeing an early Marbled Godwit somewhere along the beach... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Furnish Residence, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract).

Sightings Included: Semipalmated Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Black Tern, Caspian Tern, Piping Plover, Whimbrel, Yellow-breasted Chat, Black-and-White Warbler.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

It was another hot start to the week with highs in the 90s through Wednesday, when I made it out for my first birding venture of the week. With low tide expected to occur around 8 PM, this was an idea chance to get up to Pleasure House Point after work to scan the sandbars for shorebirds that are steadily arriving on their southbound Fall migration. Passing over the Lesner Bridge the water appeared quite low already just before 5 PM. I parked off Marlin Bay Drive like I typically do after work, and then walked the shoreline trail east towards the main point. When I arrived, the flats were loaded up with birds, with Semipalmated Plovers leading the way. At least 135... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract), Stumpy Lake Natural Area.

Sightings Included: White-tailed Deer, Semipalmated Plover, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Tricolored Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Hot, summer weather continued this week, with almost all the days reaching 90 degrees. On Friday evening again, I walked the beach to False Cape State Park's northern boundary as I've done the past couple of Fridays now. The 90+ degree temperature was enough to make it a tougher than normal walk, but the abundance of birds made it well worthwhile. No Piping Plovers were seen for the first time in the three ‘Fall migration’ outings, but I did spot a pair of Killdeers, one of whom was on the beach & quite a surprise to see there! Semipalmated Plovers were observed in higher numbers this week than last, with 13 individuals counted. So far, no Black-bellied Plovers have... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Currituck County, NC - Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge. Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Milldam Creek Boardwalk, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract).

Sightings Included: Tricolored Heron, American Oystercatcher, Caspian Tern, Semipalmated Plover, Black Skimmer, Piping Plover, Forster's Tern, Common Tern, Bottlenose Dolphin, Shoals of Baitfish, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Northern Bobwhite, Green Treefrog, Two-striped Grasshopper, Wood Duck, Killdeer, Field Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Meadowlark, Marsh Wren, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Red-headed Woodpecker, American Goldfinch.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

With our heat wave in southeastern Virginia slightly abating on Wednesday with highs "just" in the upper 80s, I got out on my first outdoor venture of the week & headed up to Pleasure House Point to check for some arriving shorebirds. Low tide had been hitting just... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Munden Point City Park, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract), Thoroughgood.

Sightings Included: Tricolored Heron, American Oystercatcher, Marsh Pink, Purple Passionflower, Mississippi Kite, Short-billed Dowitcher, Western Sandpipers, Whimbrel, Willets, Piping Plover, Spotted Sandpipers, Killdeer, Northern Bobwhite, Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow, Sandwich Terns, Differential Grasshopper.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

After arriving back in town over the previous weekend, I was greatly looking forward to having a full week at home and no more vacations upcoming in the near future, allowing me to get re-focused on my efforts in reaching 200 bird species on the year in my county of residence. Since May 29, when I’d spotted a pair of Black-necked Stilts while out hiking the West Dike Trail at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, my list has gone completely dormant. So when... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Cook County, MN - Cascade River State Park, Cross River Wayside, Temperance River State Park. St. Louis County, MN - Ely Area, Forest Road #460. Virginia Beach, VA - Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract).

Sightings Included: Red Squirrel, Variegated Fritillary, Ovenbird, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Cattle Egret, Red-tailed Hawk, Common Yellowthroat, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Northern Bobwhite, Orchard Oriole.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

After a successful start to the Midwest vacation over the weekend, Monday came, and I must say it felt quite fantastic to not be getting up to head into my office for a new work week. Instead, I had the entire week off to enjoy the outdoors with my fiancé, Ruth in Minnesota, and later in the week, Indiana. If you’re here seeking information on Coastal Virginia, jump about half way down to where I get back into the region for a Sunday outing. The beginning of this is still set... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Lake County, MN - Gooseberry Falls State Park, Tettegouche State Park. St. Louis County, MN - Ely Area, Forest Road #460.

Sightings Included: Sandhill Crane, Black Bear, Black-throated Green Warbler, Garter Snake, Chipping Sparrow, Ovenbird, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Ruffed Grouse, Red Squirrel, Ebony Jewelwing, Variegated Fritillary.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

If you keep up with this blog on a weekly basis, which I hope you do, you probably noticed that I am way late in this writing. This is because I made a trip out to Indiana, and up to Minnesota over 4th of July weekend, and the following week. So, I’m writing two weekly blogs here at the same time now that I’ve finally been able to get through all the vacation photographs I took during my time in the Midwest. For those who haven’t read the ‘About Me’ section of the website, I was born in Ely, Minnesota and grew up mainly in Munster, IN. This past couple weeks, I was... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Milldam Creek Boardwalk, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Princess Anne Wildlife Managment Area (Whitehurst Tract). Currituck County, NC - Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge. 

Sightings Included: White Ibis, Green Heron, Sandwich Tern, Least Tern, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Needham's Skimmer, Great Blue Skimmer, Common Whitetail, White-tailed Deer, Orchard Oriole, Cattle Egrets, Bald Eagle, Green Treefrog, Black-and-Yellow Garden Spider.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

At the closing of last week, we were expected to get some hot days during the work week. As it turned out, meteorologists were correct and it was, in Fahrenheit degrees, 93, 100, 88, and 88 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, respectively. The high temperature on Tuesday matched the highest we’ve seen in Virginia Beach thus far in 2015, and made it back-to-back Tuesdays with high temperatures in the triple digits! When Friday rolled around... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel). New London, CT - Barn Island Wildlife Managment Area & Bluff Point State Park. Washington, RI - Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge. 

Sightings Included: Cownose Rays, Eastern Chipmunk, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, Cedar Waxwing, Common Eiders, American Toad, House Wren, Veery, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Ovenbird, Mute Swans, White-tailed Deer, Green Heron, Garter Snake, Tree Swallows, Willets, Great Crested Flycatchers.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Just as the previous week closed out, this week began with extremely hot and humid weather across coastal Virginia. On Monday, temperatures soared to a peak of 99 degrees Fahrenheit at Ocean Naval Air Station (the nearest airport to my residence which provides the official temperature reports for the city (information can be found Here with archived temperature data for any date). This heat surpassed the previous monthly high of 97 degrees set just a couple days prior... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge & First Landing State Park. 

Sightings Included: Eastern Ratsnake, Eastern Cottonmouth, Eastern Fence Lizards, Five-lined Skinks, Green Heron, Northern Parulas, Halloween Pennants, Great Blue Skimmers, Eastern Pondhawks, Needham's Skimmers, Pine Warblers.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Hot, humid, summer weather arrived in the region this week, making for some truly brutal outdoor conditions. With temperatures in the 90s throughout the week, I made my first venture into the outdoors on Friday evening after work. At 3 PM I headed down to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, arriving at my typical 3:40 PM. With the intense humidity, I decided to forego a trip down the Bay Trail where the air is very stagnant typically since it sits low amongst the surrounding foliage. In the winter it is a great spot since it protects one from the wind on cold days, but in the heat of summer, it’s a boiler room for the same reason. I walked first down the Seaside Trail boardwalk to the beach, then headed down the beach to the Dune Trail. Along the beachfront, a couple of... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Northampton County, VA - Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, Kiptopeke State Park, Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve. Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, First Landing State Park, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel). 

Sightings Included: White-tailed Deer, Black Scoters, White Ibis, Orchard Orioles, Indigo Buntings, Prairie Warblers, Horned Larks, Yellow-breasted Chat, Northern Bobwhite, Grasshopper Sparrows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Great Crested Flycatchers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

The week began just as it was expected, with a nice Monday, but turning quickly to clouds and rain. On Tuesday, we experienced a massive deluge here in Virginia Beach, receiving about 5 inches of rainfall over the course of just a an hour and a half. This rainfall was welcomed by me though, since when it rains like this, I get to go out into the field at work and see how one... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park, First Landing State Park, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Beasley & Whitehurst Tracts). 

Sightings Included: Red Knots, Black-bellied Plovers, Bald Eagle, Black-necked Stilts, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Killdeer, Halloween Pennant, Needham's Skimmer, Eastern Cottonmouth, American Coot, Greater Yellowlegs, Prothonotary Warbler, Painted Lady, Raccoon, Spotted Sandpiper, Northern Parula, Green Heron.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Thankfully, this week started out with a holiday from work being Memorial Day! Due to this, I was able to extend my weekend an extra day, and not have to go into my office. Instead, I headed out to Back Bay NWR after I woke up around 6:30 AM. The last few days, and weeks actually, I’ve been pushing it pretty hard, trying to see as many different species of birds as I can while the migration season was underway. As a result, I was pretty exhausted on Monday morning, but... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park, North Beach, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Stumpy Lake Natural Area. 

Sightings Included: Bank Swallow, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Black Scoters, Northern Watersnake, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, American Redstart, Cattle Egret, Summer Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, White-tailed Deer, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Parula, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

After skipping a nice evening on Monday since I was just flat wore out from the previous few days of hiking, I got back out on Tuesday evening for  a quick walk up at Pleasure House Point. Arriving at 4:50 PM after heading home from work and grabbing my gear, I parked as I typically do on weeknights along Marlin Bay Drive, heading into the park and traveling eastward with the sunlight at my back. On the way in, an Eastern Towhee was singing loudly atop a pine tree... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Stumpy Lake Natural Area, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, First Landing State Park, False Cape State Park. 

Sightings Included: Least Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitcher, Willets, Sandwich Terns, Least Terns, American Oystercatchers, Northern Parula, Wood Thrush, Raccoon, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-throated Green Warbler, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Spotted Sandpipers, Dunlin, Piping Plover, Ruddy Turnstones, Semipalmated Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers, Eastern Kingbirds. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

For my first bit of wildlife viewing this week, I passed on Monday & Tuesday, but got out on Wednesday. While grabbing a quick bite to eat at lunchtime near Lynnhaven Mall around 11:30 AM, about 25-30 Least Terns (likely an underestimate) were visible above Dick's Sporting Goods where the large colony has nested the last few years. Several terns were seen flying over the small storm water retention pond to the east as well. I haven't seen any reports on... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract), Pleasure House Point Natural Area, First Landing State Park. 

Sightings Included: Yellow-breasted Chat, Bonaparte's Gull, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Grosbeak, Piping Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Black-bellied Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Willet, Raccoon, Eastern Ratsnake, Black Racer, Six-lined Racerunner, Five-lined Skink, Common Ribbonsnake. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Very nice spring weather began our week on Monday and Tuesday, however, I did not get to indulge my outdoor obsession during the weekdays. Tuesday afternoon, some co-workers and myself drove up to Baltimore, MD to take part in a 3-day long conference put on by the American Public Works Association (APWA), in which we were presenting information on one of my civil engineering design projects in Virginia Beach. Wednesday I did make it out for about 6 miles of walking around the downtown area, including Federal Hill where I heard and saw... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Suffolk, VA - Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (Hudnell, New, Williamson, Jericho and Washington Ditch Trails). Virginia Beach, VA - Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Kings Grant Lakes, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract). 

Sightings Included: Least Tern, Sandwich Tern, Short-billed Dowitchers, Solitary Sandpiper, Indigo Bunting, White-eyed Vireo, River Otter, Red-headed Woodpecker, Orchard Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Gull-billed Tern, Blue Grosbeak, Purple Martin, Palm Warbler. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Wednesday evening we had beautiful 65 degree F weather in Virginia Beach, so after work I headed up to Pleasure House Point to see if I could find some terns & shorebirds. Several species had been reported around the area recently, with Short-billed Dowitchers being a prime target. Parking on Marlin Bay Drive and heading south into the park between the two largest... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Nelson County, VA - Spy Rock & Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sightings Included: Louisiana Waterthrush & Blue-headed Vireo. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

This week was a tough week for me to spend time in the outdoors unfortunately. With plans to go up to Richmond on Wednesday evening after work, and the next two days off, I had to stay a bit later than normal on Monday and Tuesday so was unable to get out. This 4 day weekend was for my bachelor party, and my groomsmen for my upcoming wedding all flew into Richmond to visit. On Thursday morning we left at 7 AM from Richmond, and drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a morning of hiking in the mountains. I wanted to take everyone on a hike up Spy Rock near Montebello, Virginia because this is where I proposed to Ruth back in October, and wanted them all to see it. The hike itself begins at the country store in ‘town’, and is about 5 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of a little over 1300 vertical feet. With 6 of us on the hike, wildlife was... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Suffolk, VA - Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (Jericho Ditch & Washington Ditch). Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract), Stumpy Lake Natural Area. 

Sightings Included: Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Wood Thrush, Great Crested Flycatcher, Snow Goose, Ovenbird, Prothonotary Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Wilson's Snipe, Eastern Kingbird, River Otters, Red-bellied Watersnakes, Five-lined Skink, Southern Leopard Frog. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

This week started off with gorgeous weather on Monday, so I brought my gear to work, and at 4 PM headed out for Stumpy Lake. Warblers and other songbirds have been showing up here on eBird reports so I wanted to see if I could see some of the colorful birds here in my hometown. This being my first outing to the park, I didn't quite know what to expect. Traveling into the park along a causeway, I saw a Pied-billed Grebe and a few Double-crested Cormorants out in the... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Gloucester County, VA. James City County, VA - Colonial Parkway, Powhatan Creek Trail, Greensprings Interpretive Trail. Suffolk, VA - Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (Washington Ditch). Virginia Beach, VA - Kings Grant, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Sightings Included: Bobcat, Chimney Swift, Caspian Tern, White-eyed Vireo, Red-shouldered Hawk, Green Heron, Prothonotary Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, American Redstart, Prairie Warbler, Wild Turkey. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

With last week being one of the nicest weather-wise that we've had in Virginia all year, this week has been somewhat the opposite. On Monday, Ruth & I got out for a quick 3 mile or so walk around the neighborhood. We checked out one of the nearby parks that I thought might hold some warblers, but we didn’t see any. I did snag a few photographs along the walk though of Eastern Towhee, Northern Cadinal and American Crow, and we saw a few other neat birds like White-throated Sparrows. From the time after the walk, until Friday evening, the sun made no... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Suffolk, VA -  Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (Washington Ditch). Virginia Beach, VA - Pleasure House Point Natural Area, First Landing State Park, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract), Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Sightings Included: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Brown Creeper, Raccoon, Common Yellowthroat, Black Racer, Yellow-throated Warbler, Horned Lark, Glossy Ibis, Blue-winged Teal, Orange-crowned Warbler, Eastern Cottonmouth.  Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

During the morning on Monday it sure didn't look like it was going to be much of a day to get out birding. However, the rains stopped, and the clouds cleared off in the afternoon and it turned into a beautifully clear day with temperatures close to 60 degrees F. At 4 o'clock I left the office and headed up to Pleasure House Point for an evening hike, arriving at the park about 4:40 PM. I parked along Marlin Bay Drive and walked in on the main entry trail that splits between the two freshwater ponds before reaching the shoreline trail. Both ponds were empty today, and... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Pleasure House Point Natural Area. 

Sightings Included: Pine Warbler, Green Heron, Greater Yellowlegs Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Sandwiched between a trip to Nashville over the weekend, and an upcoming trip to Chicago for my cousin Adam’s wedding, this was a tough week for outdoor excursions. But, on Tuesday evening after work, I made it out for a short birding trip up at Pleasure House Point Natural Area. On afternoon outings, I prefer to park along Marlin Bay Drive (as opposed to Dinwiddie Drive) so that I can walk the main shoreline trail eastward with the sun at my back (since the later it gets, the worse the angle of light becomes heading west). I took the main trail off that road into the park, which then splits between the largest pond at its west, and a smaller pond at its east before linking up with the shoreline trail. The larger pond held a couple of Buffleheads, and the smaller held a pair of Mallards but that was it. I scanned the trees for Night-Herons, Egrets, and the shoreline... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract).  

Sightings Included: Ipswich Sparrow, Red-throated & Common Loons, Laughing Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, White-tailed Deer, Orange-crowned Warbler. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

This week, I spent the vast amount of Monday through Wednesday tied up in my office trying to get a project out the door. On Wednesday night, I flew to Nashville to visit my buddy Smitty, and I spent the next 3 days in the city before returning to Virginia Beach on Saturday evening. So unfortunately missed out on spending time looking for first of season arrivals. However, it appears from reports on eBird that not many migrants have begun arriving yet. So after sleeping in a bit on Sunday morning due to exhaustion from a day of travel, I got out to Back Bay NWR to see if I could spot anything new that might have showed up overnight. When I first arrived, temperatures... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), 88th Street Beach, Rudee Inlet.  

Sightings Included: Laughing Gull, Red-throated Loon, Ipswich Sparrow, Bonaparte's Gull, Brants, Red-necked Grebe, Redheads. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

With Daylight Savings Time kicking in this past Sunday, this was the first Friday this year where I was able to get out for a long hike as opposed to just doing some stationary birding before the sun could go down. I headed out of work at 3 PM towards Back Bay NWR, under beautiful sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 50s. On the way I saw a Cooper's Hawk fly across General Booth Boulevard, but that was it, I seemed to be stuck behind every slow driver that was on the roads, which at least gave me a chance to peek around. When I arrived at the parking area at 3:35 PM, the temperature had dropped to about 45, being right on the coastline, and subject to the winds. Today was the first day that I've been able to trade out my winter knit hat, for my father's old Carhartt... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), First Landing State Park, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Muddy Creek Road, Horn Point Road, Charity Neck Road, Morris Neck Road, Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area (Whitehurst Tract).  

Sightings Included: Red-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Harbor Seal, River Otter, King Rail, White Ibis. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

This is the final week before Daylight Savings Time moves us forward an hour, and gives me an extra hour of sunlight after work. I’ve been waiting for this to arrive for a while, so that I can actually get out walking and hiking on weeknights instead of just on weekends. The winter time is a rough time of year for me due to the inactivity it brings. I’ve never been one to go to the gym, as I’d much prefer to get my exercise outdoors, so when it’s dark at 4 PM every day, it can be rough on my body. March usually is the beginning of shredding some winter weight for me... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Sandbridge Beach, Lotus Gardens, Kings Grant.  

Sightings Included: American Bittern, King Rail, Cedar Waxwings, White Ibis, Fox Sparrow, Eastern Screech-Owl. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

This week was dominated by frigid weather (by Virginia Beach standards that is), and we received a rather unexpected second snowfall of the season on Tuesday evening. Weather forecasters had assumed a slight dusting, but we ended up getting about 2 inches here in my neighborhood, and it resulted in a ridiculous amount of car accidents and interstate delays. Fortunately, I live just a few minutes from my office so it didn’t impact me. With the cold weather, the lakes have remained frozen for the most part, which is very tough on the wintering waterfowl. I see it daily on my drive to and from work at Kings Grant Lake, where the ducks have kept just a small area open in the ice. On Wednesday, we received our third snowfall event of the winter, this time a bit more rigorous... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Virginia Beach, VA - Kings Grant Lakes, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  

Sightings Included: Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, King Rail, Wilson's Snipe, Eastern Phoebe. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

On Monday evening and through the night we received about 4-5" of snow here in the Kings Grant section of Virginia Beach. Depending on where you are around the metropolitan area, totals sounded like they went up to about 8-10", typically the further north, the higher the snowfall. We may actually have received a bit more than measured, but a thick layer of freezing rain came down in the early morning hours and covered pretty much everything by morning, so this ice layer may have smashed the snow totals down a bit. Since my office was essentially closed for the day since no one could get out of their neighborhoods, I got to stay home and Ruth & I decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood. My fiancé, Ruth, also had yesterday off for President’s Day... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Kings Grant Lakes, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel). Dare County, NC - Bodie Island Lighthouse, Oregon Inlet, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Avon, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Nags Head.  

Sightings Included: Harbor Seal, Red Knot, Eastern Meadowlark, American Avocet, Snow Geese. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Monday morning began with warm temperatures just like Sunday had finished with, and it was about 65 degrees F when I went to lunch at 11 AM. However, when I left work at 4 PM, it had dropped to 40, so the warm weather ended just like it began, rather abruptly. Heading home from work, I drove down Kings Grant Road as I always do, but this time, on the pond with the large emergent vegetation mat I saw some movement. A Great Blue Heron was sitting atop the mat, but I could see the mat moving in several spots so I pulled a u-turn to get on the right side of the street to view from. After sitting for a moment, I saw a head pop up through the vegetation, then another... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Lake Smith/Lawson Nature Area, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), Back Bay NWR, Little Island City Park & Kayak Launch, First Landing SP.  

Sightings Included: Harbor Seal, Orange-crowned Warbler. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

With a very rainy start to the week on Monday, I don’t feel bad about being stuck in an office all day. I took some time to view the reports on eBird from over the weekend, and it appears that the Western Tanager is still being seen at Pleasure House Point by many a birder. Also, there was a report of a Dovekie on Sunday (Andrew Baldelli & Tracy Tate), down at the north end of the oceanfront, which is a bird I’ve never seen before. They’ve showed up in a few local reports this winter, with the most interesting being one a couple weeks ago sighted by Bob Ake down at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge that had overshot the water and landed up near the dune... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Falls Lake State Recreation Area (Durham, North Carolina), South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel).  

Sightings Included: Hermit Thrush, Eastern Phoebe, Purple Sandpiper, White-winged Scoter. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

On Monday, a massive Nor’easter formed off the coastline of North Carolina and started sliding slowly up the coastline towards New England. While we in Virginia were only expected to get a dusting of snow from the storm, projects were showing up to 30” in Massachusetts, and over a foot in New York City. In front of the storm, many folks still got out birding across Virginia Beach Monday, and the Western Tanager at Pleasure House Point was again sighted by James Marcum and Peggy Eubank. Of interest also, was a pair of Harlequin Ducks seen at the first island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel by Clark Olsen (who also recorded a Glaucous Gull out on the ocean viewing from 42nd Street). Bob Ake spotted a Cackling Goose mixed in a flock of some 600 Canada... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Mackay Island NWR, Kings Grant Lakes, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), Rudee Inlet, Nearshore Atlantic Ocean from The Rudee Flipper. 

Sightings Included: White-winged Scoter, Humpback Whale. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

Unlike the previous week, the early weekdays were actually pleasant this time around. The weather remained cooler, with highs about 50, but it was beautiful sunny and no rain all the way through the week. On Thursday night, Ruth & I took a trek out into the countryside in the hopes of finding & photographing Comet Lovejoy, which is visible in the night sky right now. With the moon having just started anew, only a small sliver of light from it is brightening the night sky. Therefore, if you can find a spot dark enough with no surface lights in the way, the sky is brilliant. We drove out into Pungo, and I thought Mackay Island NWR might be a great spot to be able to... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Pleasure House Point Natural Area, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), Little Island City Park & Kayak Launch, Back Bay NWR, First Landing SP . 

Sightings Included: Redhead, Orange-crowned Warbler, American Kestrel, Eastern Meadowlark. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

We had a very rainy & dreary week up through about Thursday evening around Virginia Beach. Some birders did venture out, and an interesting sighting was two reports of a Common Redpoll being sighted at Pleasure House Point. On Friday, after my workday ended at 3 PM I headed up to Pleasure House Point to give it a shot & see if I could re-locate the Common Redpoll. I parked at the east end of Marlin Bay Drive to put me in a spot where I could do a loop along the water with the sun at my back, and was very surprised to find that the Common Goldeneye female that I saw over the prior weekend was still present on the pond with the deer carcass. I had figured this bird would have moved out of the area by now. I tried to move into a good spot for a photo, and... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Rudee Inlet, Owl's Creek, Back Bay NWR, 88th Street & Beach, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, South Thimble Island (Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel), First Landing SP. 

Sightings Included: Wilson's Snipe, Hermit Thrush, Common Goldeneye. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

After a wonderful kick-off to the new year last week in terms of the number of birds I got to see, this week stepped it up to a whole new level. On Tuesday evening, Ruth had gotten a bad case of food poisoning and unfortunately spent the majority of the night in agony. She was forced to stay home from work on Wednesday after only getting a couple hours of sleep and still feeling awful. I brought her some soup home for lunch since it was the only thing she’d be able to keep down. While heading back to work around noon, I saw a mixed flock of Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds along Kings Grant Road. The cowbirds were my 60th species in Virginia Beach this year, so even under sad circumstances, the birds are still showing up. Later in... Click Here to Continue Reading!

Locations Visited: Chincoteague NWR (Accomack County, VA), Kings Grant Lakes, Rudee Inlet, 88th Street & Beach, Pleasure House Point Natural Area, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. 

Sightings Included: Common Eider & Purple Sandpipers. Click Here To View All of This Week's Photographs!

The final week of the year, and the beginning of a new year, this was an exciting week. My mother & step-father were both in town from the holidays Monday through Wednesday, before heading back to the Chicago metro on Thursday (New Years Day) morning. Monday & Tuesday we had very rainy weather, but on Wednesday, the weather cleared up and Ruth & I took them up the Eastern Shore to Chincoteague Island for the day. Though not strictly a wildlife outing, we did make a quick pit stop at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s first island (South Thimble Island) to see if anything was out and about. There was a lone Long-tailed Duck out in the surf off the northern point of the island, but other than that it was pretty quiet, so we didn’t stop for long. Driving... Click Here to Continue Reading!

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