Rockfish Valley Trail 6/21/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Summer birding in central Virginia can be a tough nut to crack unless you head to the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge or Allegheny Mountains, but I didn't feel like making a long trip today, so I headed over to the Rockfish Valley Trail down route 151 from where I live. I arrived at the trail at 8:50 this morning, headed downstream and then along Glenthorne Loop, and had 34 avian species in the first hour. I spent another hour on the trail including part of the upstream trail to the park benches and back, and added another 5 species. I thought that I had 40 species, but must have miscounted or missed one as I made my morning list when I got home. The temperature was in the low 70s and the air much drier. The birds must have enjoyed the nice weather as well, as they were out in full force.

The highlight of the hike was some good close-up views of three warbler species. The Common Yellowthroat continued to sing in the field at the end of the downstream trail and start of the Glenthorne Loop trail, and there were several more of them along the east side of Reids Creek, where I also saw a Yellow-breasted Chat and a first summer male American Redstart.


Common Yellowthroat


Common Yellowthroat


Common Yellowthroat


Yellow-breasted Chat


Yellow-breasted Chat


Yellow-breasted Chat


Yellow-breasted Chat


Yellow-breasted Chat


American Redstart

The Baltimore Oriole is still hanging around the picnic table halfway along the downstram trail, and there were Orchard Orioles at several locations. One of the Orchard Orioles was an immature male that is molting into its adult plumage.


Baltimore Oriole


Orchard Oriole


Orchard Oriole


Orchard Oriole

I saw both Great Blue and Green Herons, and a female Belted Kingfisher did a nice fly-by for me.


Great Blue Heron


Green Heron


Female Belted Kingfisher

I saw four species of flycatchers on the trail: Eastern Phobe, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, and an unusual Empidonax that I can't identify - it has a long bill that looked to be all black, a fairly clean vent area, and a definite eye-ring. Pewee, Willow, Acadian, and Alder Flycatchers are all possibilities, but it doesn't really match any of them.


Eastern Wood-Pewee


Eastern Phobe


Eastern Kingbird and Eastern Bluebird


Empidonax Flycatcher


Black Vultures


Northern Mockingbird


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Today's RV Trail list:

Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk

Rock Pigeon
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Emipdonax Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
American Crow

Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing

American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-breasted Chat
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch



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