Rockfish Valley Trail 9/13/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


It didn't seem possible that I could have a better birding day on the trail today than I did yesterday, but that's exactly what happened! I arrived around 8:30, and parked just off of Glenthorne Loop (route 627) about 50 yards north of the first wooden bridge on the Glenthorne Loop trail. As soon as I got out of my car, I saw a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk fly off of the kestrel box and across the bridge. An Eastern Phoebe was sitting of the roof of the kiosk there, and looked confused as to what all the excitement was about. I crossed over the bridge, and saw the hawk fly into a tree along the downstream trail where a Great Blue Heron was perched. And a moment later, a Pileated Woodpecker flew to the same tree.


Red-shouldered Hawk


Great Blue Heron


Pileated Woodpecker


Pileated Woodpecker

My plan was to hike the east side of Reids Creek from this bridge to the second wooden bridge as Walt Childs and I had done yesterday. By the time I crossed back over the bridge to the east side, I had already logged seven species. During the next hour, I logged another 30 species on this leg of the hike. Highlights were a Blue-winged Warbler and a Yellow-throated Vireo, and the rare Yellow-bellied Flycatcher that I had seen there six days ago was still at the southern end near the second wooden bridge. In addition to some beautiful warblers, I saw one unidentified warbler - all I saw was a plain, bright olive green back with no wing bars before it flew into some dense brush - this bird was too small to be a Red-eyed Vireo.

After returning to the first wooden bridge, I crossed Reids Creek, walked part way around the bog area, and then back the downstream trail, adding four more species to the morning list. I was going to walk to my car and happy to leave with 41 species for the morning, but changed my mind. I wanted to see if that unidentified warbler was still at the other end. I never did see that warbler again, but the extra trip was well worthwhile. I added three more species: an early season Purple Finch, a Swainson's Thrush, and most importantly - a Lawrence's Warbler (this is a rare hybrid between a Golden-winged and a Blue-winged Warbler) - not officially another species, but I am counting it! Today's 44 species brought the number of species I have seen on the RV Trail since September 4th to 62!

The Warblers

I saw six other warbler species in addition to the the unidentified one and the Lawrence's: Blue-winged, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, American Redstart, Tennessee, and Black-throated Green. The Lawrence's was deep in shadow, but I have posted most of the photos I took of it, as it is such an unusual find. It's eye mask is of variable darkness, and it's throat patch is very weak. I suspect that it may be a first fall female, or more likely a Lawrence's back-cross with a Blue-winged.


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Blue-winged Warbler


Blue-winged Warbler


Blue-winged Warbler


Blue-winged Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler


Lawrence's Warbler

Vireos

I heard two White-eyed Vireos calling back and forth to each other, and saw one of them flying on my second trip down Reids Creek. There were lots of Red-eyed Vireos, and I saw a Yellow-throated Vireo both times I hiked Reids Creek, so I don't know if it was the same or different birds.


Red-eyed Vireo


Red-eyed Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo

Some of the other birds


Yellow-bellied Flycatcher


Yellow-bellied Flycatcher


Least Flycatcher


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher


Female Purple Finch


Brown Thrasher


Scarlet Tanager


Swainson's Thrush


Swainson's Thrush

This morning's RV Trail list (44 species):

Eastern Bluebird
Carolina Wren
American Goldfinch
Indigo Bunting
Field Sparrow
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Tufted Titmouse
Red-shouldered Hawk
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Common Raven
American Crow
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Rock Pigeon
Eastern Towhee
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Catbird
Red-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Scarlet Tanager
Cedar Waxwing
Brown Thrasher
Purple Finch
Lawrence's Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
American Redstart
Tennessee Warbler
Unidentified Warbler
Northern Mockingbird
Blue Jay
Swainson's Thrush


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