Ten brave birders, led by Geoff Giles, smoked out thirty species of birds on our 13 August walk in New Quarter Park. The atmospheric conditions were far from ideal, as the winds had shifted and dumped the acrid smoke from the wildfires in the Dismal Swamp on our birding area and then died completely. That left us with poor visibility and an unearthly silence at the start of our walk. Not only were fall migrants not yet in evidence, even most of the "usual suspects" were silent and out of view.
The tide was very high and still coming in, so the few ospreys, GBH's and great egrets in view seemed to be just killing time instead of actively fishing. A lone mature eagle soared majestically over us and crossed the marsh and continued off into the distance. The most exciting moment was provided by an unidentified, large flapping object in the distance over the marsh, which circled and then drew a bead right for our observation point and eventually passed right over our heads. It proved to be a very large, and very scruffy looking swan - an immature mute swan.
There was not much action on the high ground either, except for one very vocal indigo bunting who seemed to be belting out his best number for "Indigo Idol". For the few who where left at that point, he proved hard to view until he took a brief bow on a bare limb after he concluded his number and flew off!
After the walk, Geoff paused by the parking lot to look up into a sudden spate of bird chatter, to see several carolina chickadees and a tufted titmouse high in the trees. Suddenly a small bird swooped down to a close branch of a nearby oak and picked off a succulent green inchworm. An unobstructed view for the binocs showed this to be a beautifully colored yellow-throated warbler. While chomping down his prize, he gave great views of his colors from the front, bottom and side. After sitting for a moment after his meal, one of his species flew by and he sailed off with his friend across the parking lot. Sure wish he could have appeared sooner.
Our birders who braved the smoke for this walk included: Jean and Mike Millin, Jim Booth, Jennifer Trevino, Sharon Plocher, David Taylor, Cathy Millar, Sarah Lewis, Jan Lockwood and Geoff Giles. Thanks to all for pleasant birding on a quiet morning!