Stoney Creek (Wintergreen); Rockfish Valley Trail 6/29/2011

All photos are Marshall Faintich


One of the fascinating aspects of watching wildlife is the unexpected creatures that you might see. Today was one of those weird days when anything was possible.

It rained quite a bit last night as a cold front approached the area, and it was supposed to be drier and cooler today. Well, the rain had moved out of the area when I started a hike at 8:30 this morning here in Stoney Creek, but the drier air had not yet arrived, and there was absolutely no wind. The lakes and ponds were like mirrors, and wherever the sun hit the ground, the moisture on the wet grass evaporated into a cloud of steam. Even some of the water bodies had a layer of fog on them. Most of the birds were either hunkered down in the brush, or staying in deep shade to stay cool. After an unsuccessful 1-1/2 hours of birding, I headed home. The last spot I checked was Sawmill Creek pond #2, where I saw a pair of Green Herons flying across the pond.


Canada Goose


Green Heron

Around noon I headed over to the pharmacy in the Nellysford Village Green shopping area, and there was a huge bug on the outside wall of the building, an Eastern Dobsonfly - 4 to 5 inches long. I had an old camera in the car, and got a photo of it. On the ground near the building was a large moth - an Imperial Moth. I went back there at 4 p.m. with my good camera - the Eastern Dobsonfly was still there and the photo below is the latter one.


Eastern Dobsonfly


Imperial Moth

At 2 p.m., I headed over to the field between Sawmill Creek ponds # 4 and # 5, where my neighbor had said that three foxes played around there that time of day. No foxes, but about 100 feet away from me were two White-tailed fawns. They must not have seen a human being before, because when they heard my camera click, they looked up at me, seemed to discuss the situation with each other, and instead of running away, walked slowly toward me until they were only 40 to 50 feet away. They continued to graze while I took lots of photos, and only ran away when I started to leave.


White-tailed fawns


White-tailed fawns


White-tailed fawn


White-tailed fawn


White-tailed fawn


White-tailed fawn


White-tailed fawns

After stopping at the pharmacy at 4 p.m. to get a better photo of the Eastern Dobsonfly, I headed over to the Rockfish Valley Trail. I wanted to try to get a better photo of the Louisiana Waterthrush I had seen in the afternoon three days ago. It was a bit overcast on the 26th, and the photos I took then were a bit grainy from the high ISO camera setting, and it was sunny today. I parked at the kiosk, and immediately saw a Louisiana Waterthrush across the Rockfish River in a shady area. I wasn't ready to take a photo of a bird in a heavily shaded area, and the results weren't that great - drats!


Louisiana Waterthrush

I headed upstream to where I had seen one on the 26th, but there wasn't one there. On my way back to the kiosk, I took a path down to the river bed, and got lucky - a Louisiana waterthrush was out in the open - success!


Louisiana Waterthrush


Louisiana Waterthrush


Louisiana Waterthrush


Louisiana Waterthrush

I continued on the downstream trail and part of Glenthorne Loop. There were birds everywhere.


Blue Grosbeak


Juvenile Eastern Bluebird


Juvenile Indigo Bunting getting its adult plumage


Eastern Meadowlark


A Barn Swallow sees its target


And then the Barn Swallow misses its target



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