Stoney Creek 12/23-26/12; Rockfish Valley Trail 12/28/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Stoney Creek 12/23/12

The weather turned to winter right on schedule. The first really cold day since last winter came on December 21st, but the skies were clear for a few days, and I saw a pair of female Buffleheads on Lake Monocan. Across the lake, Turkey and Black Vultures sat motionless atop posts and looked like a medieval scene.


Female Buffleheads


Turkey and Black Vultures

Stoney Creek 12/26/12

All the previous night and this day we had a winter mix of sleet, snow, and freezing rain that accumulated to about 3 inches. The birds weren't very happy, but they flocked to our bird feeder. At the back of our yard, a Red-shouldered Hawk tried to keep warm.


Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk

Rockfish Valley Trail 12/28/12

It was cold and overcast. Some of the icy mix on the ground had melted yesterday and re-froze during the night. As I walked on the trail, each step crunched the ice, and there was no way for me to approach a bird quietly. Most of the trail was void of birds, but where there was running water and/or tall vegetation, there were clusters of small birds. The best spots were along the downstream trail near the picnic table, and on Glenthorne Loop between the first wooden bridge and into the bog area.

Woodpeckers were busy drumming on the trees, and I managed to see 20 species between 10:15 and 12:00. The highlights were a Swamp Sparrow and a Merlin. A male American Kestrel was my last species of the morning, and I saw it kiting above a field trying to locate a meal in the icy surface.


Song Sparrow


Hairy Woodpecker


Northern Cardinal


Red-shouldered Hawk


Carolina Wren


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


Swamp Sparrow


Swamp Sparrow


Merlin


Merlin


Merlin


Merlin


Merlin


Merlin


Merlin


Merlin

This morning's RV Trail list (20 species):

Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Blue Jay
Carolina Wren
Tufted Titmouse
Northern Cardinal
Northern Mockingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Merlin
American Kestrel
Red-shouldered Hawk
Turkey Vulture
American Crow

This will probably be my last posting of 2012. We are expecting another wave of wintry precipitation tonight through early Sunday morning. For those of you who have asked, here's some data about my wildlife photography:

Photos taken in 2012: 62,000+
Photos taken since December 2006: 224,000+
New photo/visual avian life species in 2012: 39 (Florida: 18; Virginia: 21)
Total photo/visual avian life species: 465 (photo: 450; visual only: 15)



E-mail comments on this report


Return to blog page home