Rockfish Valley Trail 6/11/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


It was very humid this morning, but last night's rain cooled the temperature a few degrees. I got to the trail around 8:45, and the damp grass and humidity was not great for hiking, but some areas of the field on the east side of Reid's Creek had been mowed, so I was able to do a fair amount of hiking without having to be in knee high grass. However, with the very wet spring and recent high temperatures, flies have been everywhere. Every time I stopped to listen to a bird or take a photo, there were a couple of dozen flies in my face. Nevertheless, it was an interesting hike.

About 3/4 the way down from the first wooden bridge on Glenthorne Loop, I encountered at least four Yellow Warblers, and they did not seem to mind my taking some photos.


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler

I heard a White-eyed Vireo nearby, but did not get a good look at it. Along one of the newly cut paths, I encountered a female Orchard Oriole.


Female Orchard Oriole

As I approached the first wooden bridge on my way back, I got a few photos on a sparrow that I can not identify. There were lots of Field Sparrows in that area, and I thought that this was just another one. However, after looking at the processed photos on my computer screen, I see features that don't seem to fit any of the common sparrow species. This sparrow has a white eye-ring that has a bit of yellow in the ring at the top, a large bi-colored bill that is dark on the top and yellowish on the bottom, pinkish legs, and a heavily patterned back. I did not see the front of the sparrow. The large and bi-colored bill would rule out Field Sparrow. The leg color, bill size, and time of year would rule out American Tree Sparrow. The bill color would rule out Grasshopper sparrow. Savannah Sparrow is possible, but it doesn't look like one to me. Any help would be appreciated.


Unidentified Sparrow


Unidentified Sparrow

After crossing the first wooden bridge, I hiked down to the downstream picnic table, and spotted a Green Heron high up in one of the trees.


Green Heron



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