Rockfish Valley Trail 11/3/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

When I arrived at the trail at 9:30 this morning, it was very quiet along the downstream trail where I had been seeing lots of sparrows the past few days. I wondered if there might be a hawk or other predator around, and the little birds were in hiding. A couple of minutes later I got my answer - a Red-tailed Hawk, two juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks, a Common Raven, American Crows, Black Vultures, and Turkey Vultures had a three-ring circus going on overhead. The raptors certainly stole the show this morning. It all quieted down after about 15 minutes, and the little birds came out.

A half hour later I heard the two Red-shouldered Hawks - they were doing aerial battle, and I assume there was an argument over territory. The little birds went back into hiding until this melee was over. I ended my morning hike around 11:00 with 31 species, and I met Karl Huebner (from Lynchburg, Virginia) on the trail, and at that point he had seen two other species that I did not see this morning, bringing the total count to 33.[update - now 35 species]

The highlight of the morning for me was seeing a juvenile Palm Warbler foraging in the brush with an adult.

[11/4/12 update in an e-mail form Karl Huebner] After I left you this morning I spotted a Northern Harrier on the west side of Reids Creek. After a while it disappeared so I went to the east side and there were two Harriers along with at least four Red-tailed Hawks. After a while one of the Harriers went up on a thermal along with three of the Red-tails and went off somewhere but the other Harrier remained and I watched it for about twenty minutes mostly on the east side of Glenhorne Road. It interacted with a least one Crow a few times but for the most part the Crows left it alone. At one point it even glided over four Crows that were on a hay bale and they paid no attention. There was also a Kestrel on an electric wire in the distance. The remaining Red-tail stayed perched on a hay bale most of the time. I think both Harriers were juveniles.


Savannah Sparrow


Savannah Sparrow


Savannah Sparrow


Chipping Sparrow


Pine Siskin


Cedar Waxwing


Immature Red-winged Blackbird


Eastern Bluebird


Eastern Bluebirds


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawks


Red-shouldered Hawks


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Palm Warbler


Juvenile Palm Warbler


Juvenile Palm Warbler


Juvenile Palm Warbler


Juvenile Palm Warbler

Today's RV Trail list (33 species):

Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco *
Savannah Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Fox Sparrow *
Belted Kingfisher
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Common Raven
American Crow
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Pine Siskin
Rock Pigeon
Cedar Waxwing

* species reported to me



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