Rockfish Valley Trail 8/22/10

It was mostly overcast and somewhat hazy when I arrived at the main trailhead kiosk at 8:45 this morning, making viewing of birds hiding in the tree leaves difficult at best. However, I still managed to log 25 species on the trail this morning.

I decided to take the same path as last time: the 2.4 mile hike from the kiosk to the end of the downstream trail, Glenthorne Loop to the second wooden bridge, across to route 627 and back to the first wooden bridge, and then back to the kiosk (1 -1 /2 hours), and then the upstream trail 0.3 miles to the park benches and back for the last 1/2 hour.

On the downstream trail I saw:

Chipping Sparrow
American Crow
Eastern Bluebird
Field Sparrow
Cedar Waxwing (several small flocks and lots of singles and pairs)
Belted Kingfisher
Cooper's Hawk (juvenile)

Cedar Waxwings

Belted Kingfisher

juvenile Cooper's Hawk

On Glenthorne Loop to the second wooden bridge:

American Goldfinch
Indigo Bunting
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Red-eyed Vireo
Canada Goose (a few large flocks)

Canada Geese

After I crossed the second wooden bridge, I walked the short mowed path across from Eagle Ridge Dr., and saw

Common Yellowthroat (male and female)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Common Yellowthroat male

Common Yellowthroat female

On the way back to the kiosk on the downstream trail, I added:

Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon (the first brown-morph one I have ever seen)
Song Sparrow
Eastern Kingbird

Red-tailed Hawk

Rock Pigeon

On the upstream trail, I saw five more species:

Carolina Wren
Carolina Chickadee
Northern Cardinal
Blue Jay
Eastern Phoebe

There are reports of migrating warblers and flocks of migrating Nighthawks in the adjacent Shenandoah Valley, so the number of species on the trail should be picking up soon. My article on the Rockfish Valley Trail and the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch is now out in the October 2010 issue of Birder's World. I took an extra copy over to Peter up on Elk Hill, and there was a Luna Moth in his yard.

Luna Moth

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