Chester Gap column for July 24

First place brush truck

The Chester Gap Volunteer Fire Department took four pieces of equipment to the Front Royal Fireman’s Parade on July 16 — an ambulance, rescue engine, attack engine and brush truck. Chief Todd Brown reported the brush truck was awarded first place for best appearance. Congratulations to all the members who made the event a success!

Don’t forget to get your tickets for the department’s gun raffle on Sept. 27. Tickets are on sale now for $5 and can be purchased by contacting Brown or Dave Kane at 540-635-5482. Four prizes will be awarded; first prize is a Bushmaster Carbon 15, second is a Ruger American 30-06, third is a Winchester SXP 12-gauge pump and fourth is a Wicked Ridge Warrior Crossbow.

Bird watching

One of the activities that I enjoy most in my free time is bird watching. Since moving here, I have been consistently amazed at the number of relatively rare birds we have the good fortune to see on a regular basis. One such bird that we have heard at my house for years but have never seen is the yellow-billed cuckoo. They are known for their distinctive call on hot days (usually preceding thunderstorms), but are very rarely seen.

When relaxing on the deck one morning, my husband and I spotted two in the trees next to our house — what appeared to be an adult and juvenile that we have seen several additional times since. Yellow-billed cuckoos are only in our area for the spring and summer months.

Along with the cuckoo, we have had multiple sightings of scarlet tanagers, a male rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo buntings, brown-headed nuthatch and almost every variety of woodpecker that can be found in our area.

Remember hummingbirds are starting to migrate south from northern most areas. Many will stay in our area until September. If you have hummingbird feeders at your house, you may see increased activity, including an occasional turf war.

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