Rockfish Valley Trail 11/24/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich

A cold, bright, and sunny morning followed yesterday's strong northwest winds. Eight species of migrating raptors were reported yesterday up at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch (thanks to all the RGHW counters whose 2011 total of migrating raptors crossed the 33,000 mark yesterday), and I was eager to see if the winds had pushed any new species to the trail.

I arrived at 8:15 a.m., and by 9:15 had my target of 20 avian species, and added another 4 more species in the next half hour. I headed upstream first, and then went downstream and around Reids Creek on the Glenthorne Loop before heading back on the downstream trail. I started the morning watching a Great Blue Heron warming itself in the early morning sun, and ended the hike with a Great Blue Heron doing a fly-by on the downstream trail.

Great Blue Heron

Red-shouldered Hawk

Black Vulture

Eastern Meadowlark

Red-tailed Hawk

Great Blue Heron

This morning's list (24 species):

Eastern Bluebird
Blue Jay
Northern Mockingbird
American Goldfinch
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Great Blue Heron
Northern Cardinal
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Carolina Wren
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
American Crow
Eastern Meadowlark
Yellow-rumped warbler
Rock pigeon
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture

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