The Club has monthly field trips from September through May

 

Field Trip to Grandview       

  The following date was changed because of weather. Contact Jason if interested.   

Sunday, 7:00 AM, November 24, 2019

Leader: Jason Strickland

We’ll meet at 7:00 AM on October 12 on State Park Drive in Hampton for an extended beach walk on Grandview Nature Preserve. Grandview is a gem of the Peninsula that provides 3 miles of completely undeveloped beach right on the Chesapeake Bay. If you’ve got a scope and are willing to carry it for a 3-4 hour hike in the sand, it would find good use for spotting sea birds. The wind at Grandview is often quite stiff and chilling. Cell phone text messages to 757-739-6939 are the best way to reach me. My email is jmstrickland228@gmail.com

For more information, please follow the following link: http://www.hmana.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/HMANA_Hawks_Guide_09.pdf

Audubon Christmas Bird Count      

     

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Leader: Bill Boeh

The Hampton Roads Bird Club’s (HRBC) Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) takes place just two months from now, on Saturday, December 14, 2019.  By supporting this effort you’ll be participating in the nation's longest-running citizen science bird project; the first count was conducted in 1900.  HRBC first participated in the CBC in 1952, the year after the Club’s inception. 2019 marks the 120th CBC and the 68th year that HRBC has participated. Our club has observed and recorded over 1,511,800 birds since 1952!

 

Why is this important?  Birds are not doing well.  You are probably aware of the reports that came out recently regarding staggering losses in North American bird populations since 1970.  The following are excerpts from obtained from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website pages:

Nearly 3 billion birds gone since 1970:  The first-ever comprehensive assessment of net population changes in the U.S. and Canada reveals across-the-board declines that scientists call “staggering.” All told, the North American bird population is down by 2.9 billion breeding adults, with devastating losses among birds in every biome. Forests alone have lost 1 billion birds. Grassland bird populations collectively have declined by 53%, or another 720 million birds.

How to help: To understand how birds are faring, scientists need hundreds of thousands of people to report what they’re seeing in backyards, neighborhoods, and wild places around the world. Without this information, scientists will not have enough timely data to show where and when birds are declining around the world.  Enjoy birds while helping science and conservation: Join a project such as the Christmas Bird Count.

So here’s your opportunity to help!  Participation entails counting birds in one (or more) of 13 sectors in our Newport News Circle.  Typically counts are conducted throughout the daylight hours (but that’s ultimately up to each sector leader).  But don’t worry if you can’t participate for the full day; go ahead and volunteer even if you can participate for only a few hours.

If you can’t join the field effort, you can still contribute by conducting a “feeder count”—you simply record the birds you observe in your yard on the count date.  We had very few participate this way last year—would like to do much better in that department this year!

 

So, please sign up at the October or November Club meeting, or contact me (call or text 757-951-7959 or email at dolphrog1@yahoo.com). It’s great fun and a great way to help conserve the birds!

 

For more about the CBC visit the Audubon webpage: http://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count

PAST FIELD TRIPS

 

Field Trip to Fort Monroe

Saturday, 7:00 AM, October 12, 2019

 

This trip began 7:00 AM with a poignant washout but ended with a happy splash. The washout was due to coastal flooding caused by the generation of sea swell from a distant low-pressure system; we were unable to walk the marsh trail to Grandview Beach, our planned destination. Jason Strickland then detoured us to the north beach of Fort Monroe, where splashes exceeding twice a man’s height greeted us along the sea wall. The birding along fairly newly opened sections of that north beach was splendid. 60 species were observed in 4 hours.

At first there was no wind, and the mercury was below 50 F, but soon we had light wind with warming into the 60s. All morning there were scattered to broken thin cirrus clouds which generally provided good illumination for birding [many National Weather Service lidars do not detect high clouds, and the day’s official report at Newport News/Williamsburg Airport actually described our conditions as “fair” and “clear”].

 

The area behind the north beach fronting on the Salt Ponds has live oaks and wax myrtles, and sections have zones thick with vines and berries. There we saw northern mockingbirds, gray catbirds, brown thrashers, eastern bluebirds, and northern cardinals. Birders bold enough to venture in the low undergrowth emerged with dozens of burrs which required removal by the pliers of a multitool. One large puddle was populated by several killdeer; another sported male mallards in peak eclipse plumage.

 

Old bunkers of medium size closer to the sea wall were surrounded with dense vegetation containing songbirds. Two cooper’s hawks posed for photos near one such structure. Jason had Cindy Schultz, Stuart Sweetman, Ellis Maxey, Rochelle and Harry Colestock, and Tom Charlock drive closer to the original Fort, where a least sandpiper and a few semipalmated plovers were observed on the rip rap. Species seen:

Canada Goose

Mallard

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dave

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Semipalmated Plover

Killdeer

Sanderling

Least Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Herring Gull

Royal Tern

Double-crested Cormorant

Brown Pelican

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Yellow-crowned Night-heron

 

Osprey

Cooper's Hawk

Bald Eagle

Red-shouldered Hawk

Belted Kingfisher

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Northern Flicker

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Phoebe

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

Carolina Chickadee

Tree Swallow

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

House Wren

Carolina Wren

European Starling

 

Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher

Northern Mockingbird

Eastern Bluebird

House Sparrow

House Finch

American Goldfinch

White-crowned Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Meadowlark

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Yellowthroat

Northern Parula

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Northern Cardinal

Field Trip to the Eastern Shore

Saturday, 6:30 AM, September 14, 2019

Leader: Jason Strickland

Is a rain-free morning in the Cape Henry vicinity a guaranteed winner for birding during fall migration? Not always. But we did enjoy the warblers that we spotted on our first stop of two hours at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Butterfly Trail.

 

Jason Strickland had mustered Stuart Sweetman, Bill Boeh, Wendy and Ellis Maxey, Jane Frigo, James Abbott, Ryan Walsh, Don Brunk, Lisa Rose, Rochelle and Harry Colestock, and Tom Charlock well before dawn on the south entrance of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We headed north with broken to scattered mid-level clouds, temperatures in the 70s, and light easterly winds. Highlights at the NWR included black and white warblers, American redstarts, northern parulas, yellow warblers and an ovenbird.  A yellow-billed cuckoo perched in a tree about 20 feet from the road, in the northeast corner of our 2-mile circuit. We heard the strident but merry song of a white-eyed vireo. Jason’s list of 31 species at end covers only those seen in the first 2 hours at the NWR.

 

 

Jason Strickland, Brian Tabor, Lisa Rose, and Stuart Sweetman focus on a variegated fritillary.

 

Shifting to Kiptopeke State Park, it was easier to spot raptors (half a dozen ospreys in one binocular field of view, an American kestrel closely circling a bald eagle...), but songbirds were surprisingly sparse. So what else? The sky cleared and a deck of fair weather cumulus shortly then appeared. In the photo above, Brian Taber of the Williamsburg Bird Club draws attention to a variegated fritillary butterfly. The image below has Harry Colestock leading the charge to a tree wherein Stuart Sweetman observed a northern waterthrush. Stuart later entertained by handling a green snake in the woods. The group fragmented around noon. Birds seen:

Mourning Dove   1

Yellow-billed Cuckoo   7

Laughing Gull   2

Double-crested Cormorant   3

Brown Pelican 79

Turkey Vulture            2

Osprey 2

Great Horned Owl   1

Red-bellied Woodpecker   2

Hairy Woodpecker   1

Pileated Woodpecker   1

Eastern Kingbird.   4

White-eyed Vireo   2

Philadelphia Vireo   1

Red-eyed Vireo          2

Blue Jay   4

American Crow   4

Fish Crow   2

Carolina Chickadee   4

Carolina Wren 7

Gray Catbird   2

American Robin    5

Common Grackle    4

Ovenbird   1

Black-and-white Warbler.  3

Common Yellowthroat   1

American Redstart   9

Northern Parula               3

Yellow Warbler               4

Summer Tanager   1

Northern Cardinal   5

Field Trip to Hog Island       

     

Saturday, 7:00 AM, May 11, 2019

Leader: Jason Strickland

Hog Island is actually a 3,908-acre peninsula that juts into the brackish waters of the James River, creating a mosaic of tidewater habitats that include marsh, tidal channels, swamp, and beach. Agricultural fields and loblolly pine forests surround freshwater sources such as Lawnes Neck and Lower Chippokes Creek. This diversity of habitats, including the large shallow impoundments of Fishhouse Bay and Homewood Creek, attract a vast number of birds, and an exploration of the area will produce a large number of species at any time of the year. Birding the area effectively requires leaving the main road and striking off on foot along the trails that separate the peninsula’s major impoundments. Taken from the Virginia Game and Inland Fishers web page. Click here for link.

We’ll meet at Huntington Beach Park (in the lot closest to the James River Bridge), Newport News, 6:00 AM to car pool or caravan to Hog Island, arriving at about 7:00 AM. The huge American white pelican is often at Hog Island during early May. A $50 entrance fee will cover the entire group, and the cost will be split between the participants. Bring photo identification. You will need it to pass the security checkpoint of the Surry nuclear power plant. We will hike a few miles, mostly on a flat, dirt road with little shade. Some water, a snack, a hat and bug repellent would be welcome. Contact Jason Strickland for questions at 757-739-6939 or jmstrickland228@gmail.com

 

Field Trip to the Dismal Swamp   

     

Saturday, 7:00 AM, April 13, 2019

Leader: Jason Strickland

The April field trip for The Hampton Roads Bird Club is to The Great Dismal Swamp NWR in Suffolk, Va. The trip to the swamp during spring migration is a favorite for many and a bit of a tradition for the club. The swamp is a unique place full of unique habitats for migrating species on their way to there nesting grounds as well as a somewhat easy chance to see resident species that call the swamp there home during the spring and summer months. The swamp has canals and many water filled ditches to offer great hiking and diverse scenery for all types bird and mammal life for everyone to enjoy.

There is a change. The paticipants will meet at the Jericho Ditch parking area at 7:00 AM instead of Washington Ditch because the Washington Ditch road remains closed. Contact Jason Strickland for questions at jmstrickland228@gmail or (757) 739-6939.

 

Field Trip to Grandview       

     

Saturday, 7:00 AM, March 9, 2019

Submitted by Jason Strickland

 

We will meet at the entrance of Grandview Nature Preserve on State Park Drive in Hampton at 7:00 AM on Saturday, March 9, 2019. There will be a few miles of hiking, most of that on sandy breach. Bring your windbreaker. I can be reached at (757) 739-6939 or jmstrickland228@gmail.com.

 

Newcomers to Hampton Roads should be sure to take advantage of Grandview. On one side, you have the shore of the Chesapeake Bay; the other has a dune, behind which is a great salt marsh. Visitors are surprised that, within the city of Hampton, there are miles of scenic, undeveloped beach.

Back Bay Tram Ride to False Cape State Park

Saturday, 7:00 AM, Feb. 16, 2019

Submitted by Andy Hawkins

 

We will meet at Bass Pro in Hampton at 7:00 AM and will leave at 7:15 AM heading for Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (BBNWR) in Virginia Beach. We will bird around the Visitors Center until 8:50 AM or so, and the tram will pull out at 9:00 AM. BBNWR has huge, controlled ponds to attract migrating birds, and we are mostly confined to the tram when traversing the Refuge. The tram is open so dress accordingly. As in years past, we are generally free to walk once we reach False Cape State Park. We’ll stop the tram along the way to view waterfowl, hike to the beach and return to the Visitors Center at 1:00 pm. There is an $8.00 charge per person for the mandatory tram ride. This trip is a great way to see wintering waterfowl and other animals.  The trip is limited to 24, so a waiting list will be started if 24 is reached.  Sign up at the meetings or contact Andy Hawkins at andrewcurtishawkins@gmail.com

Field Trip to Sylvan Bird Park in North Carolina

Saturday, 9:00 AM, Jan. 19, 2019

Submitted by Andy Hawkins

 

Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck, North Carolina is an amazing place.  It has one of the largest collections of waterfowl and other birds in the world.  They are generally kept in natural settings, rather than cages, and in January most should be in breeding plumage.  We will meet at Huntington Park in the lot closest to the beach, on Saturday January 19 at 9:00 AM.  We will leave at 9:15 AM and carpool to Scotland Neck, a 1 ½ hour to 1 ¾ hour drive over mostly pleasant countryside, and then have lunch at a local BBQ restaurant. We should arrive at the Park around noon and spend two to three hours. There will be an $11.00 entrance fee, $10.00 dollars for seniors.

 

I highly advise you to go to their website (shwpark.com). Sylvan Bird Park is not an opportunity to miss, for I know of no similar facility nearby. You will see birds from all over the world in natural settings; and have splendid photo opportunities. We will see many of our regular winter waterfowl visitors up close with great views. There will be a good bit of walking but for an additional fee, a guided tour in a golf cart can be arranged. Reservations for a cart tour need to be made in advance. If you are interested in the cart tour, let me know, and I will get you in contact with each other.

andrewcurtishawkins@gmail.com

Field trip to VA. Beach Hot Spots

 

Saturday,  8:00 AM, November 10th 2018

Submitted by Stuart Sweetman

The November field trip for the HRBC will be in Virginia Beach visiting a few of that areas birding hot spots. The group will assemble in the parking lot of Bass Pro on the far right of the lot by 7AM and we will leave 7:15 for out drive to Va. Beach that should take about 45 minutes. The first stop will be to Pleasure House Point Natural Area and the Brock Environmental Center located at 3663 Marlin Bay Dr. Va. Beach just off of Shore Dr. if anyone wants to meet us there by 8AM. This area has extensive walking trails through tidal marshes and wetlands adjacent to the Lynnhaven River Inlet. This area is ideal for looking out over the water for seabirds entering the mouth of the bay as well as wading and shore birds along the flats. Just next to the Nature area is the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp at the end of Piedmont Circle. From here more views of the River and mouth of the bay under the Lesner Bridge. The Next stop will be First Landing State Park located at 2500 Shore Dr. Va. Beach. This is a state park so there is a five dollar fee for entry but this is a unique park and well worth it. The park holds many walking trails to explore as well a boardwalk through a cypress swamp where new migrants are sure to visit. The Next stop will be at the Rudee Inlet area down at the end of Atlantic Avenue and Second Street by the Boardwalk.  Leaving First Landing on Shore Drive it turns into Pacific Avenue. Make a left on Fifth St. over to Atlantic and then right to the Rudee Loop. Here we can see the mouth of the Inlet and out into the Atlantic Ocean. There is bound to be plenty of seabirds in this area and those who have scopes this will be a perfect place to use them. We will see what we can see here and then head to our last area which is further up into the inlet. We will get back on Pacific and cross the bridge onto General Booth Blvd. WE will take a short drive to Owls Creek Boat Ramp that is right next to the Virginia Aquarium. Both of these places are next to tidal marshes great for Wading birds and possible ducks or rails tucked into the area.  I am hoping that this trip will go no longer than two o'clock and please bring a lunch or snacks. How long we stay at each stop depends on how productive the stop is and we can do the whole agenda or modify it as we go. Most of us have never been to these areas and it is always great to try new places and explore new sites.

Please feel free to contact Stuart Sweetman at 757-660-6590 the day of or the night before the trip if you can not make it or have and questions. Call or Text .

Saturday, Ocotber 20, 2018

Saturday October 20th, we will meet at the CBBT South Parking lot at 6:30, leaving shortly for the Eastern Shore and Northhampton Co., Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, Kiptopeke, Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve, and others will be on the agenda.  More info will follow in Club emails but if you have any questions email Andy Hawkins at andrewcurtishawkins@gmail.com.  We probably will meet at Bass Pro early to carpool but more info will be coming.

 

Andy Hawkins andrewcurtishawkins@gmail.com cell 757-870-9641

Report of Field Trip to The Great Dismal Swamp NWR

 

April 29,2018

 

BY Stuart Sweetman

 

The April field trip for The Hampton Roads Bird Club was to The Great Dismal Swamp NWR in Suffolk, Va. The trip to the swamp during spring migration is a favorite for many and a bit of a tradition for the club. The swamp is a unique place full of unique habitats for

migrating species on there way to there nesting grounds as well as a somewhat easy chance to see resident species that call the swamp there home during the spring and summer months. The swamp has canals and many water filled ditches to offer great hiking and diverse scenery for all types bird and mammal life for everyone to enjoy. Our trip was to the Jerico and Washington Ditch on the Suffolk side of

the refuge. The club participants were not disappointed with great looks of fan favorite Prairie Warbler which seemed to be in every tall

tree as well as the gorgeous Hooded Warbler making his presence know. A singing Black-throated Green Warbler thrilled us all for allowing us to find him high up in a not yet leafed out tree. The group of 12 allied 10 Warbler species with a total of 48 species on the day which included a dozen Wild Turkey in a roadside field on the drive to the swamp and a quick stop of 4 from the group to Loan Star Lakes city

park in Suffolk that yielded a Royal Tern fishing the lake and a happy Red-Tailed Hawk carrying a freshly caught mouse. The weather turned

out great and the birds were out making the trip enjoyable for all that attended. A list of participants and bird species are listed below.

 

Participants: Stuart Sweetman, Dianne Snyder, Stephanie Thomas, Jane

Frigo, Phyllis Simonette, Emmylou Kidder, Harry and Rochelle Colestock, Bill Boeh,

                      Lori Palagyi and Don and Laurie Brunk.

Species list:                                                     

Wild Turkey

Great Egret

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Royal Tern

Barred Owl

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Great Crested Flycatcher

White-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Purple Martin

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Barn Swallow

Tufted Titmouse                                                        Picture by Dianne Snyder

White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren                                                     

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird

Hermit Thrush

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

Cedar Waxwing

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Pine Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Palm Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Ovenbird

Louisiana Waterthrush

Common Yellowthroat

Hooded Warbler

White-throated Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

Common Grackle

American Goldfinch                                                  Picture by Dianne Snyder