Rockfish Valley Trail; Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch 8/24-25/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Rockfish Valley Trail 8/24/13

Walt Childs and I did an abbreviated afternoon hike on the trail. It had rained on and off during the morning, but was clear when we got to Glenthorne Loop. However, within less than an hour it was raining again, and we only managed to see 15 species. The most interesting was a pair of male Scarlet Tanagers in mid-molt between their red breeding plumage and yellowish non-breeding plumage.


Scarlet Tanager


Scarlet Tanager


Red-tailed Hawk


Red-eyed Vireo

Rockfish Valley Trail 8/25/13

I headed back to the trail this morning, and arrived about 8:40. It was sunny, cool, and much less humid, but there wasn't a lot of avian activity. I did manage to see 26 avian species in less than two hours. As the trail "webmaster," I knocked down lots of spider webs on the trail, most of them with my monopod, and unfortunately, a few of them with my face.

The most interesting bird this morning was a juvenile Yellow-breasted Chat that I saw in the bog area. It had a brown necklace on its yellow breast, presumably brown juvenile plumage that had not yet molted. We have had this species on the trail every summer that I have been birding there, and it now appears that the juvenile confirms this species as breeding on the trail.


Juvenile Yellow-breasted Chat


Juvenile Yellow-breasted Chat


Northern Flicker


Downy Woodpecker


Juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


Least Flycatcher


Least Flycatcher


Least Flycatcher


Carolina Chickadee


Carolina Chickadee


Arrowhead Spider


Arrowhead Spider

This morning's RV Trail list:

Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
American Kestrel
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-breasted Chat
Field Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
American Goldfinch


Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch 8/25/13

I spent two hours up at the hawk watch this afternoon. I saw a juvenile Bald Eagle, a Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, a Red-shouldered Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, Black Vultures, and Turkey Vultures, but all of the raptors were distant birds. The only good close-up photos I got were of some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.


Juvenile Bald Eagle


Northern Harrier


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Ruby-throated Hummingbird



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