Stoney Creek (Wintergreen); Rockfish Valley Trail 11/18/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich


After spending the entire morning in Charlottesville, and then doing some home repairs, I finally opened my e-mail to read that my neighbor Frits had seen a Great Horned Owl by the Waters Edge pond here in Stoney Creek during his early morning run. Not sure if it was the optimist in me or not wanting to kick myself for not trying, but at a little after 2:30 in the afternoon, I headed over to the Waters Edge pond to see if the owl were still there. As I walked along the trail on the east side of the pond, both the owl and I were startled as I almost walked into it. It quickly flew farther down the pond and into the woods.


Great Horned Owl

I continued on the trail, and was lucky - the Great Horned Owl was sitting in a tree near the edge of the woods. I tried several locations trying to get a good shot of it.


Great Horned Owl


Great Horned Owl


Great Horned Owl

And then, almost to tell me that the owl had enough of me, it turned completely away from me, and, well, a picture is worth a thousand words.


Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl then flew through the woods. I hoped that it had not flown too far, and I hiked up to Waters Edge Drive, and down the street to the end of the cul-du-sac. I saw that the owl was perched in a tree with its back to me, so I kept taking shots as I approached it. When It finally noticed me and turned its head to watch me, it either got tired of playing cat and mouse with me, or realized that I wasn't going to harm it, and the owl let me take as many close-up photos as I wanted. I stopped at close to 100 photos of this magnificent bird, quite confident that there should be a few good photos in the set.


Great Horned Owl


Great Horned Owl


Great Horned Owl


Great Horned Owl

I then headed over to the Rockfish Valley Trail for a late afternoon hike, arriving there at 3:15. As soon as I crossed under the route 151 bridge, I heard a Red-tailed Hawk and saw it fly from the bog area towards and then past me. Two minutes later a second Red-tailed Hawk took the same route. In the 45 minutes I spent on the trail on this cold, but sunny afternoon, I had logged 20 species.


Red-tailed Hawk #1


Red-tailed Hawk #1


Red-tailed Hawk #2


Red-tailed Hawk #2

This afternoon's RV Trail list (20 species):

American Crow
Eastern Bluebird
Starling
Turkey Vulture
American Goldfinch
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Rock Pigeon
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Carolina Chickadee
Red-shouldered Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler


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