Rockfish Valley Trail; Stoney Creek (Wintergreen) 9/27/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


It was supposed to be rainy today, but except for a few afternoon clouds, it was a mostly sunny day. For a day that I hadn't planned on birding, it sure turned out different!

Rockfish Valley Trail

I spent the first two hours from 8:30 to 10:30 almost entirely on the east side of Reids Creek where I logged 41 species, and then another 3 species on the upstream trail. On my first pass south between the two wooden bridges, I only had a little more than 20 species, and except for quick glimpses of a Magnolia Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat, the only warbler species I saw was Tennessee. There were quite a few Tennessee Warblers all along Reids Creek, and I saw lots of variation in color from deep olive-green to yellow-green with a variety of facial and breast colorations.


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler

Avian activity picked up quite a bit as I headed back toward the first wooden bridge. The highlight of the morning occurred when I passed the first (northernmost) downed tree and looked back. There were at least a dozen species of birds in or near the downed tree, including four warbler species: Nashville, Ovenbird, Magnolia, and Worm-eating. The Worm-eating Warbler raised the number of warbler species seen on the trail this month to 23.


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Nashville Warbler - notice the crown patch


Nashville Warbler - notice the crown patch


Nashville Warbler - notice the crown patch


Nashville Warbler - notice the crown patch


Nashville Warbler

There were plenty of other birds to see on the trail as well.


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Scarlet Tanager


Willow Flycatcher


Swainson's Thrush


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Butterfly going for the gold!

Stoney Creek (Wintergreen)

When I arrived home, about five miles from the trail, I was saddened to see that a Rose-breasted Grosbeak had flown into a window above my garage, and was lying dead by my garage door :-( . I did hear lots of birds singing, and after lunch I decided to take a short hike from my home. With all the recent avian activity on the Rockfish Valley Trail, I have ignored birding right outside my door. I walked down my street to the small pine forest at its end, and I heard a Blackburnian Warbler singing high up in the pine trees. When I looked up, I was standing only a few feet below a Red-breasted Nuthatch.


Red-breasted Nuthatch


Red-breasted Nuthatch


Red-breasted Nuthatch


Red-breasted Nuthatch


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler


Pileated Woodpecker

After logging 11 species on this short hike, I walked into my backyard where I saw Bluebirds and a Hairy Woodpecker.


Hairy Woodpecker

And then the fun really started. There was a small flock (family?) of Cape May Warblers - one, perhaps two adults, and at least two or three juveniles in different stages of plumage going from tree to tree in a small area of my yard.


Adult Cape May Warbler


Juvenile Cape May Warbler


Juvenile Cape May Warbler


Adult Cape May Warbler


Juvenile Cape May Warbler


Juvenile Cape May Warbler


Adult Cape May Warbler


Juvenile Cape May Warbler


Adult Cape May Warbler


Juvenile Cape May Warbler


Adult Cape May Warbler


Adult Cape May Warbler


Adult Cape May Warbler

Not bad for a "supposed-to-be-rainy" day.



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