Rockfish Valley Trail 9/12/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


WOW, another spectacular day on the trail! Walt Childs and I arrived a little before 8:30, parked near the first wooden bridge on the Glenthorne Loop trail, and made our way on the east side of Reids Creek to the second wooden bridge. We logged 23 avian species in the first 30 minutes, 32 species within the first hour, and ended up with 43 species in 3 hours.

We saw seven warbler species: Cape May, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, American Redstart, Tennessee, and Common Yellowthroat.

The Warblers


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


American Redstart


Cape May Warbler


Cape May Warbler


Cape May Warbler


Cape May Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Tennessee Warbler: note the dark eye-line, yellowish green upper side, and white undertail coverts

Other Birds


Great Crested Flycatcher


Philadelphia Vireo


Philadelphia Vireo


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Red-eyed Vireo


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Scarlet Tanager


Willow Flycatcher

The hawks put on quite a show for us. Our first encounter was with a juvenile Cooper's Hawk - at first we thought it was a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk, but the tail bands are too broad, and we saw its non-foreshortened tail length when it was perched.


Cooper's Hawk

Next up was a Red-tailed Hawk that was sitting on a powerline pole, and then took off in flight.


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

More than 1,000 Broad-winged Hawks were counted up at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch today, and we saw one flying over the trail.


Broad-winged Hawk

But the real entertainment came near the end of our hike when we saw an extremely light-morphed Red-tailed Hawk.


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

The Red-tailed Hawk was circling with some Turkey Vultures.


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

Then a Common Raven decided to harass the hawk.


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

But as if the Raven wasn't enough, and American Crow decided to make it a three-way aerial battle.


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

After a minute or so, the Red-tailed Hawk decided to take the offensive.


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

And finally, a "gas-hawk" joined the group.


Red-tailed Hawk

And I can't forget the colorful Black and Yellow Argiope spider we saw on the trail.


Black and Yellow Argiope

This morning's RV Trail list (43 species):

Eastern Bluebird
Carolina Wren
American Goldfinch
Indigo Bunting
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Common Raven
American Crow
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Great Crested Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Starling
Rock Pigeon
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Catbird
Red-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Scarlet Tanager
Cedar Waxwing
Brown Thrasher
White-breasted Nuthatch
Common Yellowthroat
Cape May Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
American Redstart
Tennessee Warbler
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Northern Mockingbird
Blue Jay



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