Rockfish Valley Trail 8/31/10

Yesterday, it got up to the mid- and upper 90s here in the valley, and the same weather was forecast for today. I wanted to see if the northwest winds from two days ago had brought any migratory birds to the trail, so I arrived at the trail at 8:25 this morning when the temperature was still in the mid-70s.

I took the same hike that I have been doing the past few times on the trail 2.4 mile round trip from the kiosk, downstream to Glenthorne Loop, across the second wooden bridge, along route 627 to the first wooden bridge, and then back along the downstream trail to the kiosk. I then walked another 0.6 miles to the upstream park benches and back, completing the 3.0 mile hike in two hours.

As soon as I started the hike, it was apparent that there were not a lot of birds on the trail other than a large flock of Starlings, and a small flock of Chipping Sparrows, birds were few and far between. I wondered if there were a hawk in the area, or perhaps the northwest winds had given some of the birds a push southward, and new ones had not yet arrived.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow


Highlight of the first leg of the hike was a female Common Yellowthroat in the same area where I have seen her before along the short mowed path off of route 627 at Eagles Ridge Dr. In addition to this warbler, the Starlings, and Chipping Sparrows, I saw and/or heard 14 other species on the first leg of my hike:

Eastern Bluebird
American Goldfinch
American Crow
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood-Pewee
An unidentified Woodpecker (either a Pileated or Flicker)
Downy Woodpecker
Carolina Wren
Field Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Blue Jay
Rock Pigeon

female Common Yellowthroat

On the upstream trail, I added four more species, giving me a total of 21 for the day:

Northern Cardinal
Cedar Waxwing
Turkey Vulture
Baltimore Oriole

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

Although I got an excellent look at the Oriole flying between two trees over the park benches, I was not able to get any photos of it. We are supposed to have high temps at or below 80 by Saturday, but there is a race between the cold front and Hurricane Earl if Earl gets here first, we will have a very wet Labor Day weekend. If the front gets here first, it will turn Earl eastward into the Atlantic.

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