Stoney Creek (Wintergreen); Blue Ridge Parkway 5/2/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


This morning's weather started out just the opposite of yesterday's. It was overcast in the early morning, so I decided to see what might be here in Stoney Creek. I left my house at 8:30. Right off the bat I saw an Osprey flying over Sawmill Creek Pond # 3, but the rest of the birding was confined to a small number of the usual summer species. I saw a raccoon in the newly cut power line right-of-way next to the Allen Creek Nature Preserve, and a Pileated Woodpecker was starting a new hole in one of the remaning wooden power lines, now that alternating poles there are metal. By 9:00 it was getting sunny, hot, and humid, so I decided to do some work at home and run some errands.


Osprey


Raccoon


Pileated Woodpecker

It was still sunny after lunch, so I decided to try the Blue Ridge Parkway, knowing that afternoon birding would not be as productive as going in the morning. I checked out my usual first 14 miles from the northern end of the parkway (mile marker 0) to Reids Gap (mile marker 14). I saw a number of non-warbler species: Catbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Towhee, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Red-bellied and Pileated Woodpecker, Raven, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Indigo Buntings, and Northern Cardinal. There were American Redstarts all along the route. At the cirque between mile markers 7 and 8, I also heard a Canada Warbler and one or more Worm-eating Warblers, but only saw Redstarts.


Female American Redstart


Male American Redstart


Male American Redstart


Male American Redstart

Next stop was Hickory Springs overlook (mm 12), where I added a Cerulean Warbler and more Redstarts.


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler

I was going to call it a day, but stopped at the last overlook just before Reids Gap. I have been there many times in the past, but have never seen much there - mostly Goldfinches, Robins, and Towhees. This afternoon was different. A flash of yellow caught my eye, so I got out of my car to check it out. It was a Hooded Warbler.


Hooded Warbler


Hooded Warbler


Hooded Warbler

As I headed back to my car, a hawk flew up from the west side of the parkway - a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.


Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk


Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk


Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk



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