Rockfish Valley Trail 7/25/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


We had a lot of rain yesterday, and it dropped the temperatures a bit, so I decided to see what might be on the trail this morning. I knew that there would be long, wet grass to hike through, and I didn't want to wear my best boots, so I put on my older, "supposed-to-be-waterproof-but-leaks-like-a-sieve" boots. I arrived at the trail at 9:00, and my boots were quickly saturated, and my toes sloshed inside of the boots with each step. But at least my feet kept cool.

There was a lot of activity on the trail. I spent the first two hours on the downstream and Glenthorne Loop trails, and had 23 avian species in the first hour, added another 12 in the second hour, and finished my hike going upstream to the park benches and back, adding two more for a total of 37 species this morning.

There were two highlights on the trail - a Willow Flycatcher and my first Purple Martin in Nelson County (my Wintergreen area # 171).


Belted Kingfisher

The Willow Flycatcher let me get some good photos of it. There are four Empidonax flycatchers that are very similar: Least, Willow, Alder, and Acadian, and without hearing the bird, I had to use other information to conclude that it was a Willow. The bill was too big and the wing tips too long to be a Least. The bird was foraging in the brush by Yellow Bird Thicket and then flew up to a tree in the bog area. Acadians prefer forests rather than brushy vegetation, and Alders are very rare here. Thus, I believe that it was a Willow.


Willow Flycatcher


Willow Flycatcher


Willow Flycatcher


Willow Flycatcher


Willow Flycatcher


Immature Northern Cardinal


Blue Grosbeak


Female Orchard Oriole


Purple Martin


Purple Martin


Purple Martin


Purple Martin


Purple Martin

This morning's RV Trail list (37 species):

Eastern Bluebird
Orchard Oriole
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Wren
American Goldfinch
Red-eyed Vireo
Indigo Bunting
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Purple Martin
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Catbird
Northern Mockingbird

Red-winged Blackbird
American Crow
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Cedar Waxwing
Blue Grosbeak
Tufted Titmouse

Belted Kingfisher
Scarlet Tanager
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
Red-tailed(?) Hawk
Carolina Chickadee



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