Rockfish Valley Trail 7/12/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It has been hot, muggy, and rainy for three weeks now. A Charlottesville weather station about 30 miles from here has already measured about a 10 inch rain surplus for the year so far, and we usually get significantly heavier downpours here at the eastern base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But this morning was a bit cooler, and there wasn't any significant rain in the forecast, so I decided to head over to the trail.

When I arrived at 9:45, there was complete and fairly heavy cloud cover. Low clouds hung around the mountain tops like wispsy strands of pulled cotton. But there was a lot of avian activity on the trail. I spent two hours on the downstream and Glenthorne Loop trails, and logged 32 species. Another 15 minutes hiking the upstream trail to the park benches and back didn't add any new species.

This is an interesting time of the year to go birding as many of the first year juvenile/immature birds are out and about. I didn't see any Yellow-breasted Chats or Yellow Warblers that are summer residents on the trail, but did see several Common Yellowthroats and American Redstarts.


Immature Common Yellowthroat


Immature Common Yellowthroat


Immature Common Yellowthroat


Adult male Common Yellowthroat


First summer male American Redstart


First summer male American Redstart


First summer male American Redstart


Adult male American Redstart

There were Field, Chipping, and Song Sparrows. One of the Song Sparrows I saw must have been a juvenile as there wasn't much of a central breast spot on it.


Field Sparrows


Juvenile Song Sparrow


Juvenile Song Sparrow

Lots of other species were out and about as well.


Carolina Wren (upper left); Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (bottom middle); Indigo Bunting (upper right)


Carolina Wren


Brown Thrasher


Female Eastern Bluebird


Black Vulture

A juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker was in the bog area. Notice the drab coloring and the dull red patch on the top of its head.


Juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker


Juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker


Juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker

I saw four flycatcher species. There were a few clusters of Eastern Kingbirds along the downstream trail, and pappa coninues to show the little ones how to catch flies and brings them back for the little ones to munch on.


Eastern Kingbirds


Eastern Kingbirds


Eastern Kingbirds


Eastern Kingbirds


Eastern Phoebes


Eastern Wood-Pewee


Least Flycatcher

The only excitement on the trail, other than seeing all these species, was a Cooper's Hawk that was being harassed by an Eastern Kingbird.


Cooper's Hawk


Cooper's Hawk


Cooper's Hawk


Cooper's Hawk


Cooper's Hawk

This morning's RV Trail list:

Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
American Crow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Orchard Oriole
American Goldfinch


E-mail comments on this report


Return to blog page home