Rockfish Valley Trail 5/25/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


It was already humid and getting quite hot when I arrived at the trail at 8:30 this morning. The grass on the trail was wet, and high from not being mowed during the past week+ of rain. I decided to park on Glenthorne Loop near the first wooden bridge. When I got out of my car, I think I heard a tick call out, "buffet!" Well, a good spraying of deep woods OFF and I headed across the bridge, past Yellow Bird Thicket, and into and around the bog area. Alhtough I heard a few birds, and saw a mob of crows, there wasn't too much there. The only birds flying around were some Barn and Tree Swallows, and a few Bluebirds.


Barn Swallow

I headed back over the bridge and hiked down the other side of Reids Creek. I heard a lot of familiar, and some unfamiliar, chatter in the trees and brush, but most of the birds were sticking close to the center and staying where it was cool. I saw a few birds: Goldfinches, Cardinals, Field Sparrows, Turkey Vultures; heard a Towhee and a Redstart. Indigo Buntings were flying in and out of the brush and trees, but staying in the shadows. An Orchard Oriole was calling from the top of a tree, and I spotted a female Common Yellowthroat deep in some brush.


Indigo Bunting


Orchard Oriole


Female Common Yellowthroat

I hiked all the way down to, and back and forth across, the second wooden bridge, and then up Glenthorne Loop road to the creek where I have seen male and female Common Yellowthroats, and guessed that they might be nesting there. A Common Yellowthroat popped up on a branch with a small berry in its mouth, took a long look at me, and then flew out into the open. Its plumage looks incomplete, so I assume that it is a juvenile getting its adult colors.


Common Yellowthroat


Common Yellowthroat

After an hour in the heat, I thought about the birds staying in the shade, and wondered who was smarter, me or the birds, and decided to call it a day. On the way back a female Yellow Warbler caught my eye in one of the trees along Reids Creek.


Female Yellow Warbler


Female Yellow Warbler

A little farther down the trail, about halfway between the two wooden bridges, I saw a flycatcher high up on the top of a dead branch. My first thought was a Kingbird, although it seems a little stockier, but about the same size. I got off three slighly overexposed shots, as my camera settings were still set for shade from taking the Yellow Warbler photos. As soon as it flew away I looked at my camera view screen and did not see the white-tipped tail of a Kingbird, but a short tail with a spotted vent area, and a dark vest - an Olive-sided Flycatcher! Only the fourth sighting of one that I know of here in Nelson County - all on the Rockfish Valley Trail. Click here to see photos of the 2008 and 2010 Olive-sided Flycatchers on the Rockfish Valley Trail


Olive-sided Flycatcher


Olive-sided Flycatcher


Olive-sided Flycatcher



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