Rockfish Valley Trail 4/22/2011

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It was 47 degrees with light rain when I left my house this morning, but I just had to see if yesterday's Merlin was still on the trail. The rain had stopped by the time I got to the kiosk, although it was still heavily overcast. I did not dress for the cold and wet, as I had planned to only take a quick look. Of course, as soon as I got out of my car, it started to drizzle again, so I waited under the bridge for a few minutes until it stopped. As I headed out on the downstream trail, I noticed a small flock of Eastern Meadowlarks in the fenced field, but they weren't singing their usual song - it was more of a veeet-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t. First time I had ever heard them make this call.

I walked a ways down the trail, but no Merlin. And then the sun started to come out - only briefly, but it was as if the birds were all waiting for the sunshine. First there were swallows everywhere - Tree and Barn Swallows. I walked to the bog area and back, as I did not want to get too far from my car in case it started to rain again. I was cold, but more worried about my camera getting wet.

Barn Swallows

Tree Swallows

It was still only lightly overcast when I got to the car, so I headed to the park bench on the upstream trail. Along the way, a Chipping Sparrow gave me "the look." And there was a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the trees by the bench.

Chipping Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I looked up to see a few Turkey Vultures circling above, and our resident tail-less was with them. There was a Red-tailed Hawk that was trying to join the tail-less club, but had not met all of the requirements at the time of this photo.

Tail-less Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk

I wanted to stay longer, but had chores and errands to do, so I was only on the trail for about an hour - still managed to see 21 species:

Song Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Towhee

Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Robin
Blue Jay
American Crow
Red-tailed Hawk

Rock Pigeon
Eastern Bluebird
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow

Turkey Vulture
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Meadowlark

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