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Newport News Park

Sunday Morning Walks

 

 

Join us on the First and Third Sunday of each month at 7:00 AM at the parking lot behind the Ranger Station!

Thanks to Jane Frigo for providing these reports. For more information, contact Jane (757-873-0721).


At last a beautiful morning for a bird walk! Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015, was clear and calm. The temperature was a bit chilly at the start--30's--but warmed nicely as the morning progressed. A light fog covered the water but soon burned off and gave the group some interesting waterfowl to observe and discuss. There was quite a discussion over two Grebes seen. The final decision was a Horned AND a Red-necked Grebe. Outstanding FOS included Green Heron, Purple Martin, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Palm Warbler and Yellow-throated Warbler. No Yellow-bellied Sapsucker or Brown Creeper were seen, but the Winter Wren and Ruby-crowned Kinglet remained. At the Arboretum Brown Thrashers appear to have taken over the Northern Mockingbirds favorite tree and were carrying in nest material. 25 people participated in the morning. They included first timers Janet Tucker, Bella Rosso, Lylliane Battle and Tina Chisman, and old-timers Jason Strickland, Sandy Robertson, Bruce Glendening, Bill Ferris, Shawn Dash, Anthony Nixon, Tom Charlock, Stuart Sweetman, Sandy DiCarlo, Hannah Montalvo, Marc Nichols, Cathy Bond, Bryan Barmore, Sharon Burton, Jane Frigo, Wendy and Ellis Maxey, Marilyn and John Adair, and Virginia and George Boyles. The group identified 67 species. There was some discussion at the end of the morning about a lone swan circling VERY high above the Swamp Bridge area. Could it have been a Tundra??? A complete species list follows.

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Coot
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull

Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
N. Rough-winged Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Winter Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch


The regularly scheduled Sunday walk was held on Saturday, March 14, because of the One City Marathon being held March 15. Tom Charlock, John Adair, Pete Peterman, Anthony Nixon, Sandy Robertson and Jane Frigo met on Saturday and identified 46 species. A light rain was falling early so the group did their watching from the shelters. All the ice was gone from the reservoir. Twelve waterfowl were identified and several Tree Swallows circled above the water. A pair of beavers were also hard at work. Brown Thrashers were singing. Multifple Eastern Towhee's were at the Discovery Center. Again no owls were found. There is a nesting Great Horned Owl easily observed at Sandy Bottom Nature Park in Hampton. Several of the group headed that way at the end of the morning. A complete species list follows.

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Gadwall
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove

Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren

Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch


Mother Nature has been brutal this winter! On March 1, 2015, the park was covered with over five inches of snow and the reservoir was totally frozen except a small section near the campground boat landing. Needless to say any ducks that could be found were frantically pedalling there. The previous Wednesday's snow storm brought 5-9 inches to the area and temperatures for the remainder of the week struggled to rise above freezing before falling well into the teens and twenties at night. Today at 7 AM skies were overcast with rain forecast to begin around 9AM. The temperature hovered around 32 degrees but the winds were mercifully calm. A tremendous thank you goes out to park officials for having Constitution Avenue and the main parking lots cleared of snow. Tom Charlock, Anthony Nixon, Ellis Maxey, Stuart Sweetman, Marc Nichols, Pete Peterman and Jane Frigo plowed through the snow to identify 36 species before 9 AM when the drizzle arrived and the group called it quits. A complete species list follows.

Mute Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Ring-billed Gull

Mourning Dove
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren

American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird


Anyone out today, February 15, 2015, had to be crazy! The temperature was 18 degrees and the winds were sustained at over 20 mph. Not letting the elements get the best of them (at least for an hour) Shawn and Katrina Dash, Tom Charlock, John Adair, Mike Lowry, Anthony Nixon, Marc Nichols and Jane Frigo battled their way against the frigid temperatures and howling winds to identify 38 species. Surprisingly the reservoir was not frozen...yet, but rough waters made viewing difficult. The highlight was a pair of Redhead Ducks. Smaller birds, like the White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper and both species of Kinglets, were scrambling to get food. Near the Arboretum several of the larger birds were lining up in the cedar tree and exposed ground to soak up what little warmth the sun provided. It was impressive to see an Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay and numerous American Robins sharing a sunny spot. A final swing by the Spawning Pond produced a Belted Kingfisher, Dark-eyed Junco and a Great Blue Heron. A surprising miss was Mourning Dove. A complete species list follows.

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle

Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird


At last a decent morning bird walk! February 1, 2015 was very cold--temperatures in the mid 20's--but skies were clear and winds were calm. Shawn Dash, Bill Ferris, Tom Charlock, Stuart Sweetman, Mike Lowry, Anthony Nixon, Lana Bennett, Jane Frigo, Charm and Pete Peterman, Wendy and Ellis Maxey, and John and Marilyn Adair identified 59 species over the morning. The day began with a beautiful Pileated Woodpecker followed by multiple Bald Eagle sightings. Three eagles were perched in one tree while two others stood on the frozen reservoir. Several large concentrations of ducks occupied the few open water spaces and allowed for great viewing through scopes. All possible woodpeckers were seen. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was quite vocal. Several Brown Creepers were spotted along with both species of Kinglets. Quite a discussion was held over whether a photo taken by Anthony Nixon was of a Sharp-shinned or a Cooper's Hawk. The consensus was to agree to disagree and mark it Accipiter Species. An outstanding view of a Rusty Blackbird vocalizing was enjoyed. Sadly no owls and no Fox Sparrow were found. A complete species list follows.

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Gadwall
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Geat Blue Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Accipiter species
Killdeer
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breastd Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird

Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch


The morning of January 18, 2015, began with heavily overcast skies that quickly developed into annoying drizzle and finally fully developed showers. Inspite of the predicted bad weather ten hardy souls braved part of the morning and were able to identify 36 species. Those participating included Virginia and George Boyles, Sandy Robertson, Anthony Nixon, Tom Charlock, John Adair, Marc Nichols, Jane Frigo and newcomers Lana Bennett and Braxton Allport. A nearly adult Bald Eagle started the morning off. Several duck species were spotted but few passerines were seen on the ground. A search of the Great Horned Owl was unsuccessful and there was speculation that he may have found a different roosting site. The group identified only 32 species before being defeated by the rain. Marc Nichols continued on his own making it to the Swamp Bridge and adding four species to the list--Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Great Egret and Eastern Bluebird--making the total 36. A complete species list follows.

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret

Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
American Goldfinch


The first HRBC Sunday bird walk of 2015 (January 4) in Newport News Park was preceded by a gentle warm front that advanced the mercury to about 60 F by 7:00 AM. The front had somehow displaced leader Jane Frigo to a formal count in Matthews County, leaving stalwarts Bill Ferris, Richard Hudgins, Cathy Bond and Tom Charlock to find their own, and initially bird-free, way in a very dense fog. Little more than a few Hooded Mergansers, Ring-billed Gulls and a muskrat could be identified from the shoreline behind the ranger station. Some fields on the disk golf course hosted noisy action by about a hundred Red-winged Blackbirds, most of which were male. A moderate rain shower hit; the wind increased and blew most of the fog away. With a few patches of blue sky then appearing at the Discover Center, the birds finally exploded from hiding; fortunately Bill was there to identify them. Beneath the power line, a big Fox Sparrow cavorted on the grass among a group of Song Sparrows; White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos were in the adjacent brush; a Red-headed Woodpecker moved about the trees nearby. We saw an immature Bald Eagle, American Widgeons, Ring-necked Ducks, Gadwalls, Pied-billed Grebes and Mute Swans on the way to the “spawning pond”, and enjoyed a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on the walk back to the lot at around 10:00 AM. 39 species were observed. (Report by Tom Charlock. Thanks, Tom!)

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull
Mourning Dove
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird


2014, All Reports for January - December Walks

2013, All Reports for January - December Walks

2012, All Reports for January - December Walks

2011, All Reports for January - December Walks

2010, All Reports for January - December Walks

2009, All Reports for January - December Walks

2008, All Reports for January - December Walks