Rockfish Valley Trail 10/7/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


There was heavy fog early this morning, but it started to clear around 8:00, and I arrived at the trail at 8:20. As I have done the past few times, I started upstream first as the sun had already started to bathe that part of the trail with a golden glow.

Right off the bat I saw a Nashville Warbler; later a Cape May Warbler, and then one new species after another. I spent the first 30 minutes this morning upstream and saw 23 species - more than I have ever seen upstream before. I ended my morning hike 2-1/2 hours later by going upstream again, where I saw 4 more species, giving me a total of 27 species upstream, and 44 species for the morning - a new personal high number of species for one of my hikes on the trail without other birders to help find species.


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Blue-headed Vireo


Red-eyed or Warbling Vireo


Flicker


Tufted Titmouse


Belted Kingfisher


Golden-crowned Kinglet

But it was the sparrows that stole the show this morning. I saw Chipping and Field Sparrows upstream, but soon after heading downstream I saw two Savannah Sparrows sitting on a fence along with a third sparrow - looked to me like a Grasshopper Sparrow, but it also had some Savannah Sparrow features, and hybirds of these two species are possible - any opinions would be appreciated.


Savannah Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow


Grasshopper Sparrow

Along Glenthorne Loop I saw more Field Sparrows, along with Song, White-throated, and Swamp Sparrows.


Field Sparrow


Swamp Sparrow

An American Kestrel and a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk were having some sort of disagreement along Reids Creek.


American Kestrel


Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk


American Kestrel and juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk

Farther down Reids Creek I saw a Black-throated Green Warbler and a Magnolia Warbler.


Black-throated Green Warbler


Magnolia Warbler

I ended my hike on the trail by going upstream again. A Sharp-shinned Hawk was circling high above with a couple of Turkey Vultures, a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk was being mobbed and then chased by American Crows, and a Great Blue Heron seemed to be a bit lost and was taking all of this in from the middle of a field. And then, our resident tail-less Turkey Vulture came out to cap off a great morning on the trail.


Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk


Great Blue Heron


Tail-less Turkey Vulture

This morning's list (44 species):

Rock Pigeon
American Crow
Starling
Baltimore Oriole
Turkey Vulture
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Bluebird
Blue Jay
Indigo Bunting
Catbird
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina(?) Wren
Tufted Titmouse
Downy Woodpecker
Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Meadowlark
American Goldfinch
Northern Cardinal
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Nashville Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Golden-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Great Blue Heron
Blue-Headed Vireo
Red-eyed/Warbling Vireo
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Canada Goose


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