Five birders, including trip leader Logan Anderson, showed up for the long trek down to Mecklenburg and Halifax counties for the Staunton River Trip. After leaving promptly at 6:15 am, we arrived in Mecklenburg at 8:45 and spent the next two and a half hours birding that part of the park. Highlights included Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover, White Ibis, Common Tern, Caspian Tern, Sanderling, Stilt Sandpiper, and Ruddy Turnstone on the mudflats. Baxter managed to get a brief look at a Wilson’s Phalarope before it irritatingly disappeared behind some willows. We also had a nice migrant flock of passerines, which included Yellow-throated Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, and a few Summer Tanagers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Another thing of note was the massive flock of Bank Swallows that was feeding over the mudflats. Next we headed to the Halifax County side of the park where we got better looks at the shorebirds we were seeing from Mecklenburg. We managed much better looks at the Golden-Plovers and Black-bellied Plovers plus a smorgasbord of peeps from Least, to Semipalmated, Pectoral, and Stilt, and Baxter even pulled a White-rumped from within their ranks. Baxter also found the Wilson’s Phalarope again and everyone was able to get a good look at this bird feeding on the mudflats. Semipalmated Plovers galore plus better looks at the terns of which Logan found a Black Tern in among them. It’s a wonder we had anything with the massive swarm of Caddisflies that clouded the Halifax bank. The next stops, looking for Mississippi Kites and Eurasian Collared-Doves, were busts, but as promised we had Brown-headed Nuthatch in Campbell County. After some deliberation we stopped at Mill Creek Lake in Amherst County to look for the juvenile Little Blue Herons that have been hanging around there. We did not have any luck with them but we found 3 Black Terns and an Amherst County 1st, Common Tern. Overall this trip was very productive, producing a couple lifers for some members and quite a few year birds, not to mention it being the first trip that found a county first. The trip total was 88 species.
- Logan Anderson