Rockfish Valley Trail 9/21/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


I had not planned on going birding this morning. Rain showers during the night, heavy cloud cover, and the low fog hung between the mountain ridges like ribbons of fluffy cotton. Southerly winds had brought warmer temperatures and higher humidity, but there was no breeze this morning, and my glasses kept fogging up. But I decided to go to the trail anyway, and I am glad that I did. I switched to a shorter focal length and faster camera lens, so that even in the darkened skies of early morning I might get a few photos.

I arrived at the trail at 8:30, and the fog had barely lifted by the time I left at 11:00, but I had logged 40 species on the trail, including four vireo and six warbler species. And the monarch butterflies have started to arrive on the trail. I needed to see cooperative birds, as most of the photos of birds that were up in the trees or at a distance were very foggy, and many birds were only seen as silhouettes against the foggy gray sky.


Downy Woodpecker


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Great Blue Heron


American Kestrel on the upstream trail


Eastern Meadowlark, Rock Pigeons, and Starlings


Monarch butterfly

Almost all of the warblers and vireos were seen either near the Yellow Bird Thicket on the Glenthorne Loop trail, or near the benches on the upstream trail. I heard a White-eyed Vireo and got a couple of poor quality photos of American Redstarts. The photos shown here are a bit grainy, but given the conditions, are good enough to post.


Red-eyed Vireo


Warbling Vireo


Warbling Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Common Yellowthroat


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Black-throated Blue Warbler


Black-throated Blue Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Canada Warbler


Canada Warbler


Canada Warbler

The last series of photos is of a tough bird species to identify. In the field I thought it was a vireo, but its yellow back and breast were unfamiliar to me. Perhaps it was a Philadelphia Vireo because of the yellow breast, but the back looked strange to me. After looking at the photos on my computer, I now think that it was a very light colored Tennessee Warbler because of the white undertail coverts. My warbler reference states that the Tennessee Warbler can be confused with Philadelphia Vireos. Other opinions are welcomed.


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler

This morning's list:

Eastern Bluebird
Indigo Bunting
American Crow
Catbird
Starling
Song Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rock Pigeon
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Magnolia Warbler
American Redstart
Tennessee Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Canada Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Blue Jay
Carolina Wren
Tufted Titmouse
Red-shouldered Hawk
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
American Goldfinch
Belted Kingfisher
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
American Kestrel
Northern Mockingbird
Common Raven
Eastern Meadowlark
Cedar Waxwing
American Robin


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