Rockfish Valley Trail 11/28/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

I arrived at the trail at 9:15 this morning, and was greeted by a Great Blue Heron on the Rockfish River near the kiosk, and then saw a huge kettle of Black and Turkey Vultures. However, there was very little other activity on the downstream trail until I reached the picnic table, and from that point through the bog area, the birds were very active.

I logged 21 species in the first hour, but not a single new species for the next 45 minutes. The most interesting of these species was a Savannah Sparrow that is rare here this late in the year. I did not see any Bluebirds up to that point, so I decided to head upstream from the kiosk.

When I got to the westernmost park bench where the river bends, I saw a juvenile Cooper's Hawk sitting on a branch above the river about 100 feet in front of me. I took several photos of it, and then as I glanced down for only a couple of seconds to check my camera settings, a male Northern Cardinal flew across the river about twenty feet in front of me, and when I looked up to see it about 30 feet to my right, the Cooper's Hawk was already there and grabbed for it with its talons. The Cardinal got away for a moment, but must have been hurt, as both birds hop-flew over a pile of branches and out of my sight. I waited for a few minutes, but neither bird re-appeared, so I assume that the hawk got its prey.

On my way back to my car, there was a small flock of about 8 Bluebirds, bringing my morning total to 23 species.


Great Blue Heron


Savannah Sparrow


Song Sparrow


Field Sparrow


Golden-crowned Kinglet


Belted Kingfisher


Cooper's Hawk


Eastern Bluebirds

This morning's list (23 species):

Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Eastern Towhee
Eastern Bluebird
Carolina Wren
Great Blue Heron
Belted Kingfisher
Golden-crowned Kinglet
American Goldfinch
Carolina Chickadee
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Flicker
Northern Cardinal
American Goldfinch
American Crow
Blue Jay
Northern Mockingbird
Cooper's Hawk
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture



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