Rockfish Valley Trail and Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch 9/8/10

It was supposed to be sunny and rather windy all day today, but the forecasters were only partially correct. There was some early light drizzle and a heavy cloud band across central Virginia until about 11:00 this morning with strong winds from the northwest. I had hoped that the winds would bring a whole lot of raptors to the hawk watch, but between 10:00 and 1:15, I only saw two distant Red-tailed Hawks, a distant Osprey, and two Broad-winged Hawks - one of them came fairly close overhead. The highlight of the morning was a cluster of nine Ravens doing aerial acrobatics - seemed like they were ravens-in-training working on their ravenry merit badge. They would form pairs and do stunts, separate, and form new pairs.

With the afternoon sunny skies and the winds light, I spent two hours on the Rockfish Valley Trail from 5:15 to 7:15 late this afternoon. Even though the temperature was in the upper 80s, the low humidity and light breeze made the hike enjoyable. I logged 18 species; not too bad for a late day hike. The highlight was an Osprey that was heading south.

American Crow
Eastern Bluebird
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Cedar Waxwing
Great Blue Heron
Indigo Bunting
American Goldfinch
Eastern Phoebe
Carolina Wren
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Turkey Vulture
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Scarlet Tanager


Great Blue Heron

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The next two photos show a juvenile Eastern Bluebird ejecting a berry pit - both photos were taken less than one second apart. I am sure that he felt much better after the second photo.

juvenile Eastern Bluebird

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