Rockfish Valley Trail 9/19/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


After yesterday's remarkable showing of Broad-winged Hawks at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch, I wondered what might be at the trail today. It was supposed to be sunny, but the forecast had changed to cloudy and rain all week. There was heavy cloud cover, and the fog shrouded all of the mountains. Drats! - more grainy photos.

But my morning hike started off with a good bird - a very pretty Cape May Warbler. By the end of the hike I ended up with 30 species, including four species of warbler, and ..., well read on and you will see.


Cape May Warbler


Cape May Warbler


Male Common Yellowthroat


Female Common Yellowthroat


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Yellow Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Blue Grosbeak


Eastern Wood-Pewee


Pileated Woodpeckers


Pileated Woodpecker


Red-eyed Vireo


White-eyed Vireo


Red-shouldered Hawk


Scarlet Tanagers


unknown: juvenile Northern Cardinal?

The orbweavers were out in full force as well.


Spotted Orbweaver


Spotted Orbweaver


Spotted Orbweaver

And then the fun began. On my return hike to the kiosk where my car was parked, I looked up and was treated to a Bald Eagle!


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle

As I approached my car, and then headed up on the upstream trail for a short distance, I saw a Broad-winged Hawk, and then another, and then more joined in. They kept coming and coming and coming. They were forming close by kettles of 15 to 30 hawks, circling higher and higher, and then streaming out. I saw at least 200 Broad-winged Hawks, but there may have been as many as 300 over the trail. The kettles were so close that I could not get an entire kettle in my camera viewfinder.


Broad-winged Hawk and Monarch butterfly


Adult Broad-winged Hawk


Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk


Broad-winged Hawk


Broad-winged Hawk


Broad-winged Hawks


Broad-winged Hawks


Broad-winged Hawks


Broad-winged Hawks


Broad-winged Hawks


Broad-winged Hawks

After about 30 minutes, it all died down, and our resident tail-less Turkey Vulture came out to see what all the fuss was about.


Tail-less Turkey Vulture

This morning's list:

Eastern Bluebird
Indigo Bunting
American Crow
Catbird
Field Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rock Pigeon
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Carolina Wren
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Bald Eagle
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
American Goldfinch
Belted Kingfisher
Cedar Waxwing
Scarlet Tanager
Blue Grosbeak
Turkey Vulture
House Wren
Blue Jay


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