The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History conducted its third annual BIRD COUNT over the 1400 acres of the historic North Wales Estate in Warrenton, Virginia. Under conditions less than ideal,volunteers did account for over 80 species….from the Hummingbird (smallest sighted) to an American Bald Eagle (largest sighted). The persistent rain was considered to be the factor in this relatively “low”count. In 2016 nearly twice as many species were sighted. It was, none the less, a valuable experience for the volunteers and Smithsonian staff were pleased with the migratory data collected.And where, you ask, did the Piedmont Driving Club fit into all this? After the bird count, a splendid luncheon was served and the Club was happy to be invited. Members happily mingled with Smithsonian staff, local volunteers and our dear friends Johnny and Debbie Lloyd (farm manager and event manager!) We were extremely pleased to have our host, Mr. David Ford, in attendance (last year he’d been called away).
There were mint juleps (because it was also Derby Day), Champagne, wines, luscious smoked TROUT cakes (take THAT, Maryland!), barbecue, and oodles of salads, just to mention a few of the entrees… all this and then a delectable selection of deserts. It was bliss….just so much fun….but did I mention the rain? Those who came from the PDC also brought horses and carriages. It was a bit dicey for a while (should we harness and go?) Happily, the rain did stop long enough for the Coxes, the Alberts, and the Wolfes to head out, with delighted guests on board, to travel the carriage roads through much of the Estate.
Best part of our whole day, however, was our stop in front of the Mansion. We thought it was enough just to savor the view but Mr. Ford decided to enhance our experience. He hopped out of the Cox carriage, slipped into his home and emerged with Champagne for all!