Rockfish Valley Trail 9/10/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


WOW, what a day! Temperature in the low 70s, low humidity, bright sunny skies, and a northwest wind that could push migrating birds our way. My plan was to quickly check the Rockfish Valley Trail, and then head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, and the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch. That was my final itinerary, but there was nothing quick about the Rockfish Valley Trail.

I stopped first at the southern end of the Glenthorne Loop trail at 8:30 a.m., parking near the second wooden bridge. This area has been great for warblers in the past few years. As I hiked down the east side of Reids Creek to keep the sun at my back, I saw birds everywhere. There were lots of Red-eyed Vireos - almost everywhere that I looked. I stayed in this area for an hour, logging 28 avian species including 6 warbler species: Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, American Redstart, and Common Yellowthroat.

The Warblers


Black-throated Green Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


American Redstart


American Redstart

The Vireos

There were at least two White-eyed Vireos in addition to the many Red-eyed Vireos. One of the Red-eyed Vireos was very strange - it was unusually large - reminded me of a Cuckoo in size, and it had a long gray neck atypical of a Red-eyed Vireo, but I don't know what else it could have been.


White-eyed Vireo


Red-eyed Vireo


Red-eyed Vireo


Red-eyed Vireo


Large Red-eyed Vireo


Large Red-eyed Vireo

Other birds


Ruby-throated Hummingbirds


Eastern Wood-Pewee


House Wren


Indigo Bunting


Immature Northern Mockingbird - notice the yellow eye-ring


Immature Northern Mockingbird - notice the yellow eye-ring

I then stopped at the first wooden bridge and added 4 more species, bringing my morning total on the Rockfish Valley Trail to 32 species. The Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive were a disappointment - perhaps because of the strong winds. I only saw American Goldfinch, Eastern Towhee, Common Raven, Turkey Vulture, and heard a Hooded Warbler. A quick stop at the hawk watch, and then I headed home.

This morning's RV Trail list (32 species):

Eastern Bluebird
Carolina Wren
House Wren
American Goldfinch
Indigo Bunting
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse
American Crow
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Catbird
Red-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo
Scarlet Tanager
Common Yellowthroat
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
American Redstart
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Northern Mockingbird


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