Occoquan Bay NWR
April 25 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm EDT
Leaders: Gerry Hawkins and Mike Bowen
Participants: 11 plus leaders
Weather: Cloudy with a few bright periods, blustery, with a wind that occasionally felt cold, 50’s
Highlights: A brilliantly bright, calling male Baltimore Oriole (first of the season for most of us), a raft of 17 Red-breasted Mergansers that, when seen well, turned out to be composed entirely of females – presumably on mid-migration to breeding grounds well to our North – and splendid views of Prothonotary, Yellow, Yellow-throated and Prairie Warblers and Northern Parulas, many of them singing lustily. We enjoyed watching lots of Bald Eagles and Ospreys on and around their nests and had a fleeting look at a flying King Rail, while others called “kek-kek-kek” from not far off. Out in the bay we had 4 species of gulls and terns. There were surprisingly few swallows – just a few Tree and Barn – and very few sparrows in this usually sparrow-filled refuge, although we did get great views of Swamp Sparrow. The timing of our MBC trip this year was once again a little too early for Yellow-breasted Chats, which breed at the refuge but which had not yet returned from the south.
The eBird checklist for the trip can be found at https://ebird.org/checklist/S86353062