Central Virginia 4/23/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I headed out in search of warblers and other migrating birds. We started out on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Reids Gap (mm. 14), primarily to miss having to make a left turn from route 151 onto route 250 because of the I-64 road construction detour traffic. The BRP was torn up even more than it was yesterday. We stopped at the cirque between mm. 7 and mm. 8, where we saw an American Redstart. We stopped at the Humpback Rocks visitor center where we talked with a BRP staffer who said that they hoped to finish improvements on the first 14 miles of the BRP by the end of NEXT YEAR!! So much for good warbler birding there. He said that after they finished with the first 14 miles, they were going to start improvments south of Reids Gap.

We then got off the BRP at route 610, saw another Redstart, a couple of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and I heard, but could locate, what I thought was a Worm-eating Warbler.


American Redstart


American Redstart


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

We got onto Skyline Drive at its southern end (mm. 105) and worked our way up to Pocasin Cabin (mm. 59.5), stopping at a few overlooks along the way to look for birds. Along the way we spotted a Broad-winged Hawk that saw us and flew a bit farther down the road. As I approached it to get a closer shot, a work crew truck sped by (going faster than the posted speed limit), and scared the hawk away.


Broad-winged Hawk


Broad-winged Hawk


Broad-winged Hawk scratching an itch


Broad-winged Hawk


Broad-winged Hawk

A stop at the Sawmill Ridge Overlook was productive. There are a lot of coniferous trees there, although many of them were stressed from the controlled burn of the underbrush. We saw Carolina Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Pine Siskin, and a few Pine Warblers there.


Carolina Chickadee


Pine Siskin


Red-breasted Nuthatch


Pine Warbler


Pine Warbler

Pocasin Cabin was a disappointment. All we saw there were a few Towhees, some vultures, and a lone American Redstart. We did enjoy chatting for a while with the couple who were in charge of maintaining the cabin.


American Redstart

After a quick lunch in Elkton, VA, we worked our way down route 340. The best birding that we saw on the return trip was on the road that runs along the river behind the Merck and Coors plants. The vegetation there was very green, and the trees were very "birdy."


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Purple Finch

I saw an "unusual" bird there. It moved in the trees like a warbler, but its white throat, gray breast, white belly, and flashes of yellow threw me. All I could see was its underside. It wasn't until I processed the photos on my computer that I could tell that it was merely a boldly plumaged White-throated Sparrow. We ended the day with 43 species. Still waiting for the massive influx of migrating birds to visit central Virginia.


White-throated Sparrow



E-mail comments on this report


Return to blog page home