Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ferry Farm, Fredericksburg, VA

The Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries provides a birding and wildlife trail throughout the state. Part of that trail is the coastal area, which covers the entire coast of Virginia. A small portion of this trail includes what is known as the Fredericksburg Loop. And a small portion of this loop includes George Washington's boyhood home, Ferry Farm. Ferry Farm is located just on the eastern edge of the town of Fredericksburg. Before leaving on vacation Red found out that there was to be a birding tour held at Ferry Farm when we would be in the area on that Saturday. So we got up early that morning (Aug 25) and headed over to Ferry Farm. The tour guide, Paul Nasca, a birding enthusiast, and an archeologist by vocation, showed up around 8 a.m. Before we headed out on the grounds he noticed there were 21 of us, the most birders he has had on a tour. The down side was that he informed us that we were there at a time when many birds, especially the fledglings, have already left the immediate area. And the area had not yet started seeing the migrating birds, but that they would be coming through in another month. We were told that up to 114 species have been sighted there at Ferry Farm, but we would probably only see a couple dozen that morning. On our tour we walked through various habitats - some grassy fields, some woodlands, and a river bottom. The farm is located on the northern edge of the Rappahannock River. I did not have the chance to take photos of any of the birds we saw - we were mostly too far away for my little 10x zoom digital camera. Here is a list of birds we saw in each of the various habitats:

Turkey Vulture
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated hummingbird
Red-bellied woodpecker (heard)
Downy Woodpecker
American Crow
*Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse (heard)
Carolina Wren (heard)
*Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird (heard)
American Robin
*Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
European starling (heard)
*Red-eyed vireo
*Prairie warbler
Northern cardinal
*Chipping sparrow
House finch
American goldfinch
House sparrow

That made a total of 24 species we saw or heard. Seven of them are lifers for me, too. And I'm only counting the ones I saw (not heard). I marked the lifers with an asterisk.

Once the tour was over we were allowed to walk the grounds and tour the house. Red and I didn't have time to tour the house, but we chose to admire the garden in the back yard. There was a lot of activity going on. Not just birds, but many butterflies, dragonflies, and bees. Here are some photos I took.

Here is a large bee gathering pollen from a squash blossom. Click on each of the photos for a larger view.

Lamb's ears, coleus, and marigolds

More of the same - marigolds and lamb's ears

This is the center of the garden, with a birdbath, and to the right is the pole where the feeder is sitting on.

Maybe someone can help me with the name of these beautiful flowers.

A Tiger Swallowtail

A hyacinth bean bush - and a close-up of the flower and beans.


mon@rch said...

Wonderful list of birds that you found and congrats on your lifers!

RuthieJ said...

Wow, Mary, lots of good birds. There are several on that list I have yet to see in my life.

I'm stumped on your beautiful flower. Did you get a chance to smell it? I wonder if it's something in the catmint family?

Mary said...

Fredericksburg is a nice town. I've been through it a few times on my way from Wilmington NC to Maryland.

Congratulations on those lifers! That's an impressive list!

Red said...

ruthiej... it is sort of catmintish, but i don't remember a scent. we have catmint growing in our front yard and in this picture the leaves are longer and thinner and less jagged and the bloom is bushier. could be in that family... we'll have to look in some of the plant books.

mom... i hadn't noticed before, but on the butterfly you managed to capture the translucence of it's wings... cool!

Q said...

Such a nice list of lifers! Traveling, butterflies and birding, my kind of vacation! I love the photo of the Tiger Swallowtail.

The Birdfreak Team said...

Awesome that you got so many lifers!

Mary C said...

Thanks, everyone. If any of you are stopping by a second time, I have linked Red's posting that goes with this post. Be sure to stop by her blog; she always has a different point of view to share as well as extra info I may have forgotten to put in my posts.


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