Christmas Bird Count 2023: Seneca and Central Loudoun

Third time around leading Seneca’s sector 14 (9 counters), and second time up leading “Old Ashburn” in Central Loudoun’s sector 11. At the sector 11 tally rally way out in Waterford, I looked at the map of the entire count circle: 15 miles of diameter covers a lot of ground.

On 17 December, mist in the morning portended rains in the afternoon, which didn’t arrive until about 15:30. So our counts were generally down: only 4 Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata ), for instance. My new counter for the Colvin Run/Difficult Run corridor turned up quite a number of birds, including our single Common Raven (Corvus corax). My stakeout of the Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) flock on the power pylon behind my old apartment building paid off: first time for the sector since at least 2017. At Lake Fairfax Park, we found a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) working the ground around an oak.

Last Sunday in Central Loudoun was much warmer than 2022. My team of two beginners and one experienced birder picked up another Common Raven. We had multiple Red-shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus) with good looks in the scope at one bird at the wetland enclosed by the teardrop of Claiborne and Gloucester Parkways. At the Graves Lane ponds, which are turning out to be good for a quick stop, a Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) pair just in scope/long lens range.