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Male Bufflehead diving at Silver Lake

A male Bufflehead dived at just the right moment to catch this feathered symmetry!


Birding at Silver Lake has been a pastime for many decades, and more than 180 species have been reported on Staff at Silver Lake Mill have photographed more than 70 over the last 20 years. Because the spring serving Silver Lake has a strong flow, the Lake rarely freezes during winter, and it provides rest and over-wintering for many varieties. One of the most exciting bird events was about 15 years ago, when 33 migrating Tundra Swans came down during bad weather. They were here for about a week before the sun was bright enough for taking off. A spectacular sight!

Black-Crowned Night Heron fishing below the dam
Juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron eats a whole fish

Black-Crowned Night Herons

Black-Crowned Night Herons are frequently seen in the area below the dam and in the trees above. In the late summer, adults are on hand to teach their juveniles how to fish. The juvenile shown above caught — and SWALLOWED — the very large fish you see here! The photographer followed it and found it fishing again within two hours.

Great Egret in flight over Silver Lake
Pied Billed Grebe at Silver Lake

Great Egret

Pied Billed Grebe

Song Sparrow sings it heart out

Song Sparrow

Screech Owl sits on millwheel at Silver Lake

Screech Owl on the millwheel!

Baltimore Oriole in the Cottonwood Tree

Baltimore Oriole in the Cottonwood Tree near the dam

Banded Peregrine Falcon at Silver Lake

The Peregrine Falcon above was photographed in the “Osprey tree” at Silver Lake on October 22, 2017, about six months after she hatched. Green and orange bands were visible, and it was those bands that made it possible to identify the specific Peregrine Falcon. She was called “Orange” because of her band;  her siblings had bands of other colors.

Juvenile Eastern Bluebirds

Juvenile Bluebirds seem thrilled to explore their old home!

Osprey catches trout

An Osprey (above) successfully steers its way back to the “Osprey branch” in the Cottonwood Tree to enjoy feasting on its prey. Ospreys are frequent migrants at Silver Lake most of the year, occasionally staying as long as several weeks. There have been as many as five Ospreys in the area at the same time.

Horned Grebes and Long-Tailed Ducks
White-Winged Scoter at Silver Lake

Horned Grebes  (top row) and Long-Tailed Ducks (formerly known as Old Squaw Ducks) pause at Silver Lake for a rest during migration. Some sources report it is unusual for the Horned Grebes to travel with another species.

White-Winged Scoters are unusual at Silver Lake. Two photographs were combined to create this image.

Solitary Sandpiper at the edge of Silver Lake
Greater Yellowlegs at Silver Lake
Spotted Sandpiper at Silver Lake
Two Mute Swans, a Tundra Swan and Canada Goose converse
Pair of Hooded Mergansers at the Lake
Trio of Ross'Geese are unusual visitors
Greater Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Individual Spotted Sandpipers reliably migrate by Silver Lake twice each year. The tail that bobs up and down always sparks a smile.
Male (front) and female Hooded Mergansers
An unusual trio of Ross' Geese
Common Goldeneyes are not very common!
A Common Goldeneye is not very common
at Silver Lake!
Green Herons are abundant at Silver Lake
Green Herons are abundant near Silver Lake, thanks to nearby nesting areas.
Standing on the concrete dam, two Mute Swans, a Tundra Swan, and a Canada Goose seem to be holding a conference!
Bald Eagle at Silver Lake
Bald Eagles have become increasingly common at Silver Lake, as they have in other parts of Virginia. Occasionally pairs are seen here.
Sections of Silver Lake do freeze at some time during the winter season.
Ducks can be extremely humorous when landing on the frozen lake and when they try to walk on it!
Ducks walking on ice at the Lake
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