Rockingham County, VA 8/13/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


Walt Childs and I headed over to Rockingham County, Virginia to see if any early migrating warblers could be found. Our first two stops were new places for both of us, and the last two stops were new birding spots for me. We saw Mourning Doves perched on power lines as well as Barn Swallows and American Crows at various locations on the outing, and totaled 36 avian species on the trip.

We started off at Switzer Dam near the West Virginia border. This area has had some good warbler reports in the past, but we were a bit disappointed, only logging six species there: Red-eyed Vireo, Pileated Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, and probable Indigo Buntings. The Red-tailed Hawk looked to be a juvenile that was getting its adult plumage, and a pair of immature Indigo Buntings looked much too stocky to be that species, but no other species seems to match.


Immature Indigo Bunting


Immature Indigo Bunting


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

Our next stop was the arboretum at James Madison University. I had given a talk there last year, but had not birded their extensive trails. Birding was better there - we saw a dozen avian species in about an hour: Mallard, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Common Grackle, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black&White Warbler, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Green Heron.


Mallards


Black&White Warbler


Black&White Warbler


Black&White Warbler


White-breasted Nuthatch


Green Heron


Green Heron


Turtle

Our third stop was at Pocosin Cabin on Skyline Drive. There had been frequent reports of a good number of warblers there, and we were curious as to what we would see. Although we didn't see any migrating warblers, we did see four warbler species that are probable summer residents there: Black&White, Cerulean, Hooded, and American Redstart; three Vireo species; Red-eyed, Yellow-throated, and Blue-headed; Catbird, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Carolina Chickadee, Cedar Waxwing, American Goldfinch, Downy(?) Woodpecker, Common Raven, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. We heard a Barred Owl.


Yellow-throated Vireo


Blue-headed Vireo


Black&White Warbler


Male American Redstart


Female American Redstart


Hooded Warbler


Hooded Warbler


Catbird

Our last stop was Loft Mountain on Skyline Drive. On the way there, we stopped as a young bear was foraging for food about ten feet from my car. At Loft Mountain, we saw Chipping Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Brown Thrasher, Common Grackle, American Robin, Catbird, and Eastern Wood-Pewee.


Black Bear


Black Bear


Black Bear


Black Bear


Eastern Wood-Pewee



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