Carden Alvar Nature Board by Bob BowlesAnother Alvar Visit

Good evening

Today Tuesday, June 6, 2006 Ian Cannell, myself and two of Ian's friends from Tucson, Arizona tooled through parts of the Carden Alvar / Kirkfield area and besides the beautiful weather we found some very nice birds even though we did not see a Loggerhead Shrike on Wylie Road.

On our way up from Kirkfield towards the Lift Locks we heard an A. Woodcock and saw a Grasshopper Sparrow and at The Locks a large Snapping Turtle, Great-crested, and Willow Flycatchers, E. Phoebes plus a Belted Kingfisher.

Above The Locks before reaching Wylie Rd we saw and heard 5 E. Meadowlarks, Chipping, Savannah and Grasshopper Sparrows, and an Osprey overhead.

Along Wylie Rd south of the Sedge Wren Marsh we slowly drove along with the constant singing on Bobolinks, Song and Savannah Sparrows and E. Meadowlarks. Some of the other birds we saw and heard before the marsh were A. Kestrel, Merlin, a surprising circling female Hooded Merganser, 2 Great Blue Herons overhead, 2 Wilson's Snipe, 4 Upland Sandpipers, Least Flycatchers, Catbirds, E. Bluebirds, an in your face Black-billed Cuckoo, Brown Thrashers in full song, Swamp and Field Sparrows, 3 more Grasshopper Sparrows, and Baltimore Orioles.

At the Sedge Wren Marsh were Great-crested, Alder and Willow Flycatchers as well as 2 more E. Phoebes, another Merlin (or the same one), 3 Sedge Wrens (well seen), Rose -breasted Grosbeaks, 2 Veery's, E. Towhee and a close up of a singing male Golden-winged Warbler.

We continued on above the Sedge Wren Marsh and between the marsh and Alvar Road we found Red-breasted Nuthatch, a million Butterflies on the road, Turkey Vultures, another close up of a Black-billed Cuckoo, 2 more Golden-winged Warblers up close as well, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green, Nashville and Magnolia Warblers as well as 10 Ovenbirds and an A. Redstart, our 1st Common Raven of the day, 2 more Upland Sandpipers, N. Flickers, 8 House Wrens, Willow, Great-crested and Least Flycatchers, many E, Kingbirds, E. Phoebe, Wood Thrush, a pair of Purple Finches (including a singing male), 6 more Thrashers and 6 more E. Bluebirds, Savannah, 2 Vesper and 5 Chipping Sparrows, a 5 feet away Clay-colored Sparrow, 6 more Field Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrow, 7 E. Towhees, Indigo Buntings and more Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Bobolinks and E. Meadowlarks plus a R-T Hummingbird.

After we got to Alvar Road we turned right or east and along Alvar Rd East we encounter yet more nice birds including Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrows, E. Towhee, Winter Wren right beside us, a pair of Canada Warblers almost in our lap, Black-and-white, Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green warblers, Woodthrush, 2 Ruffed Grouse, 1 strutting as it crossed the road, and 6 more Ovenbirds.

It was now off down Hwy 35 with a stop at Mitchel Lake east of Kirkfield where we saw an Osprey on her nest and a pair of Common Loons on the lake. Along Hwy 35 towards Mitchel Lake we spotted another Black-billed Cuckoo flying over the highway, 3 more Turkey Vultures another C. Raven and the usual by then E. Kingbirds and E. Meadowlarks.

We continued on to the west side of Kirkfield after Mitchel Lake and down Rockview Rd where we found E. Wood Pewee, 3 N. Waterthrushes, another Ruffed Grouse, E. Kingbirds, Brown Thrashers, Grasshopper Sparrow, E. Phoebe, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

We turned west along Eldon Station Road and drove to Prospect Rd spotting more E. Meadowlarks, Thrashers (4), 1 Upland Sandpiper, and another Common Raven.

We did only a quick drive up Prospect Rd with only one stop for a Virginia Rail but as we drove up the road we found 3 more Grasshopper Sparrows, and passing overhead together 5 C. Ravens in full song.

Time to head for home and we did by way of Centennial Rd where we had 2 Marsh Wrens, and more of the usual (for today) birds.

We then went over to Prospect Rd again (south of Eldon Station Rd) which produced 2 more Grasshopper Sparrows, another R-T Hummingbird, Bobolink, Meadowlarks, Kingbirds, a Least and Willow Flycatcher, Black-throated Green Warbler and another N. Waterthrush.

Another good and very, very enjoyable day up there with almost all of the birds we had today in song, some in their display flights and most up close. Two of the Upland Sandpipers were spotted at the top of tall trees.

Ian's 2 friends from Arizona picked up some life birds and I must say it was a pleasure birding with the very friendly couple.

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