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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Rick Mellon

Friday - Sunday June 23-25, 2006

Freestyle is probably the best way to describe this trip and its leader. Our initial plans were to meet at 8 a.m. and proceed to the Piney tract grasslands for a variety of grassland birds. When a reported male Lawrence's Warbler popped up the night before the trip, obviously adjustments had to be made. Unfortunately our adjusted schedule did not account for a skittish and fickle bird. After two hours of looking and listening for a bird that would sing two or three times, fly a hundred yards and then keep quiet for 20 minutes, two people had brief looks at the bird. As the interval of silence continued to grow with each encounter it seemed reasonable to shoot up to Mount Airy and try for the Upland Sandpiper before lunch and get up early Sunday morning for another crack at the Lawrence’s Warbler. Our luck was much better as we quickly had the Uppie calling and flying around, Bobolink's, meadowlarks and savanna, grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrows. After a terrific lunch at the Sligo restaurant, which included a main course, a drink and a piece of homemade pie for less than five dollars (Colin where were you) we headed for Clay-colored lane, where we had lots of Henslow's Sparrows and at least one family of Clay-colored Sparrows. The rest of the afternoon was spent frying under the hot sun unsuccessfully looking for Vespers sparrows. We ended up having an excellent dinner in a Mexican restaurant for about $15 each. Ron Montgomery, the local expert, invited us back to his house for interesting conversation and Drambuie on his deck.

Sunday morning we headed straight for the Lawrence's Warbler site where the rain we had driven through for a half-hour cooperatively stopped, although the Lawrence's Warbler neglected to start singing for well over an hour. Then it sang four times and flew the coop. It took another half-hour before John located the bird singing far up on the hillside. Ron pulled out a recording of the Blue-winged Warbler, whose song the Lawernce’s was singing, and proceeded to draw the bird in close for excellent views by everybody. Terri Van Kirk did a great job of documenting the sighting by getting a picture of the bird that never sat still.

One interesting tid-bit that John noticed is the similarity between the calls of the Henslow’s Sparrow and the Acadian Flycatcher.

After brunch in Sligo, we headed for a special raptor’s nest, but unfortunately due to heavy rain we only heard the bird calling.

Participants: Jayne and Don Jones, Terri and Rick Van Kirk, John Mellon, Gary Edwards, and leaders: Ron Montgomery and Rick Mellon

Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Northern Harrier
Cooper’s Hawk
Gos – Heard, not seen
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey
Upland Sandpiper
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Red eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue winged Warbler
Lawrence’s Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black and white Warbler
American Redstart
Worm eating Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Yellow breasted Chat – possibly, but not verified
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Clay colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Henslow’s Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Upland Sandpiper recorded by Don Jones

Clay-colored Sparrow recorded by Don Jones

Henslow's Sparrow and Acadian Flycatcher recorded by Rick Mellon

Lawrence's Warbler photograph by Terri Van Kirk

Clay-colored Sparrow photograph by Terri Van Kirk