Rockfish Valley Trail 6/6/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


I was on the trail from 8:30 to 11:00 this morning, hiking all of the Glenthorne Loop, and back and forth on the entire upstream and downstream trails. I saw almost 30 species this morning, but it was the hawks and vultures that put on the best show.

There was a flock of Black Vultures in a tree along the downstream trail, and this morning (along Glenthorne Loop) was the first time I have ever seen a Red-winged Blackbird chasing a Red-shouldered Hawk, and I saw another Red-shouldered Hawk soaring with a Turkey Vulture on the upstream trail.


Black Vultures


Red-winged Blackbird chasing a Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk soaring with a Turkey Vulture

Near the west end of the upstream trail I head two hawks(?) calling to each other from the woods on the south side of the freshly cut field. As I approached the area where I was hearing the calls, I got a quick glimpse of a large hawk flying through the trees - it was light brown with some buff on it breast, and had a very prominent head and beak. Once it flew away, I only heard one bird making these calls, so I assume that the calls were from a pair of hawks. It might have been a Red-shouldered, but it looked too big, it looked light brown overall and it did not suggest Red-shouldered to me, and the calls were somewhat different from the Red-shouldered Hawk calls I am used to hearing. I recorded a few of the calls on my Ipod, but the quality is not that great. If you can recognize the species from the following recordings, please let me know.

Hawk call 1

Hawk call 2

A newly fledged Field Sparrow did not know what to make of me, so it let me get very close. Our resident White-eyed Vireo stopped by to say hello, but did not come as close as it has the past few times. When I was on Glenthorne Loop, a pair of Tree Swallows made multiple dives at my head, forcing me to duck (a birding term) each time to prevent being pecked on my head. I don't know if they were protecting their nest or going after the flies and gnats that were swarming around my face.


White-eyed Vireo


Juvenile Field Sparrow


Eastern Bluebird


Eastern Bluebirds


Orchard Oriole

Here's this morning's list:

Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Mockingbird
Catbird
Cowbird
American Crow

Eastern Bluebird
American Goldfinch
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Eastern Meadowlark

Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Red-shouldered Hawk
Orchard Oriole
Indigo Bunting
White-eyed Vireo
Eastern Wood-Pewee

Rock Pigeon
Eastern Phoebe
Kingbird
Carolina Wren
Yellow-breasted Chat(?)
Cedar Waxwing




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