At day's end, eight of us drove to the Swoope area, in Augusta County, in search of short-eared owls. In the failing light we scanned the fields in vain. Then Bob spotted a low-flying shape: it looked and acted like those owls -- but all too quickly disappeared over a rise. Just then, who should appear but expert local birder Alan Larner, who led us along a dirt road and over the rise: there again that shape lifted & flew, from one fencepost to another! Alan quickly set up a scope, with just time for a few viewings before the owl flew off into the dark.
It was a great ending to a great day. And, perhaps typically of such adventures, we went expecting eagles and Mother Nature gave us a look at a sea-going duck on an inland mountain pond and a last-minute thrilling glimpse of a special owl.