Our June field trip to PEAR Park in Leesburg was originally organized to target the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that Gallus Quigley has documented as breeding on the property in past years. We met in the parking lot at 8am for the field trip, and I was surprised to see that more people came out than I was expecting. There were 11 participants plus Gallus and myself. We started our walk by checking the garden by the parking lot. The garden contains several red flowers that great nectar sources for the hummingbirds including, Standing cypress, Scarlet Tropical Sage, Coral Honeysuckle, and Firebush. We did not see any hummingbirds here, but had an Eastern Bluebird pair perched on the telephone line along with a Red-bellied Woodpecker. A Great-crested Flycatcher came in to the nest box by the garden to feed it’s chicks.
Next we walked to the gardens by the Passionvine Gazebo. We stayed here quite a while, and were entertained by a Brown Thrasher family. Mary Wexler even spotted a Woodrat running through the garden. However, the hummingbirds just did not seem to want to make an appearance.
We then walked to our final destination, which was the observation tower surrounded by 4 large Firebush plants. There were several butterflies nectaring on all of the wildflowers along the road during our walk. Since it was still early morning for butterflies, we were able to get great views of Checkered Whites and fritillaries which tend to be more flighty later in the day. When we got to the tower, we saw wading birds including Wood Storks flying in the distance as well as a Cooper’s Hawk and an Eastern Kingbird. A Red-bellied Woodpecker nestling had it’s head out of the nest box and his bill opened waiting for a snack from mom.
While we finished the field trip without seeing any hummingbirds, I think everyone still had a fun time observing what we did see. We managed to record a total of 38 bird and 10 butterfly species on the property for the morning. Please come out and join us for our next field trip to Lake Louisa State Park in July to do some birding and kayaking. Hope to see you there!