Rockfish Valley Trail 9/28/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich


Dense fog blanketed the area this morning. When I got to the trail at 8:45, the fog was starting to lift, revealing both dark clouds and patches of blue sky. The damp air soon permeated all of my clothes, and when the sun was behind the clouds there was a chill in the air; when the sun was shining, it was hot and muggy. My body didn't know whether to shiver or sweat. The birds weren't sure what to make of the weather either, and for the first hour most of the birds were hunkered down in the vegetation.

By 10:45 there was complete cloud cover and I had logged 38 species, mostly on the east side of Reids Creek. But as I approached the first wooden bridge to cross it and go home, the birds woke up and there was a lot of avian activity near the bridge, so I decided to hike the east side of Reids Creek a second time, and I added six more species. This brought my total for the morning to 44 species, and the Warbling Vireo I saw near the first wooden bridge was the 102nd species I have seen or has been reported to me on the trail this month.


Yellow-billed Cuckoo hunkered down

I saw three Common Yellowthroats - one adult and two immature males. The adult had unusual undertail coloring.


Immature Common Yellowthroat


Adult Common Yellowthroat


Immature Common Yellowthroat

There was a boldly colored Magnolia Warbler that still had traces of its breeding plumage.


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler

I saw several Nashville Warblers. Some of them had significant white in their vent areas, and some of them were female/first year birds with a lot of brown coloring.


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler


Nashville Warbler

My fourth warbler of the day was a Palm Warbler.


Palm Warbler


Northern Cardinal


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Adult White-eyed Vireo


Adult White-eyed Vireo


Juvenile White-eyed Vireo


Swainson's Thrush


Female Eastern Towhee


Female Eastern Towhee


Male Eastern Towhee


Indigo Bunting

At almost exactly 10:30, I heard American Crows making a racket, heard a Common Raven, saw a Merlin fly by, and then looked up to see Black and Turkey Vultures in a kettle, with two Broad-winged Hawks circling high above the vultures. Our resident tail-less Turkey Vulture joined in the fun.


Merlin


Broad-winged Hawks


Tail-less Turkey Vulture


Black and Turkey Vultures

A few minutes later I saw an unusual flycatcher. It had a lot of brown on it, but its belly and vent area are clean yellow. It also had a small bill. In the field I thought it might be a Least Flycatcher, but perhaps it is an immature Yellow-bellied Flycatcher??


Uncertain Flycatcher


Uncertain Flycatcher

I saw a Warbling Vireo just south of the first wooden bridge on the east side of Reids Creek. In previous years, I have often seen this species just south of the bridge on both sides of the creek. Warbling Vireos must like the habitat there.


Warbling Vireo


Warbling Vireo


Warbling Vireo


Warbling Vireo



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