Stoney Creek; Rockfish Valley Trail 9/1-2/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


9/1/12

It was late afternoon and I had time for a short hike here in Stoney Creek. Both the temperature and the dew point were in the low 70s, and it was like being in a tepid sauna. I was immediately rewarded for braving the mugginess. At the top of my driveway I saw a Canada Warbler!

I continued the hike down to the Allen Creek Nature Preserve where I saw lots of birds, including a few Magnolia Warblers and another Canada Warbler. This hike was beginning to be fun. On the return trip, I stopped at Sawmill Creek pond #3, and there were two or three more Magnolia Warblers.


Canada Warbler


Canada Warbler


Canada Warbler


Red-eyed Vireo


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler

9/2/12

It rained last night. I hoped that the warblers had settled down for the night here in Stoney Creek, so I headed out this morning in search of them and other warbler species. It was still quite muggy and warm. I took almost the same path as the previous afternoon, but failed to see any warblers, although there were lots of other avian species to see. One of the birds was an Empidonax Flycatcher, and from its short bill, bold eye-ring, and white outer tail feathers, I assume that it was a Least Flycatcher, but its head shape and dusky vest appear incorrect. This flycatcher was probably wet or molting or both.


Immature Northern Cardinal


Immature Catbird


Least Flycatcher


Least Flycatcher


Least Flycatcher


Least Flycatcher

I then headed over to the Rockfish Valley Trail to look for warblers, and ran into Walt Childs there, so we birded together in the tall wet grass that soon soaked my boots. There were lots of species to be seen. We started out at the southern end of Glenthorne Loop, where the highlights were a Great Crested Flycatcher and one of the largest, colorful spiders that I have seen on the trail - a Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia). It was at least 3 inches big, and the corkscrew pattern in its large orb web is supposedly there as a visual aid so that birds don't fly into the web.


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Red-eyed Vireo


Black and Yellow Argiope

We then drove down to the first wooden bridge, and as soon as we crossed over it I saw a Common Yellowthroat in the tall vegetation. There was a Magnolia Warbler in the Yellow Bird Thicket, and mama Indigo Bunting was out with three of the lightest colored juvenile Indigo Buntings I have ever seen. All of this was being watched by a Great Blue Heron standing in a tree at the end of the downstream trail.


Common Yellowthroat


Magnolia Warbler


Indigo Buntings


Indigo Bunting


Indigo Bunting


Great Blue Heron



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