Wintergreen Area 9/6/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Rockfish Valley Trail

What a great day to be outside - bright sunny skies, low humidity, and temperature in the upper 60s/low 70s. However, the trail was very quiet. We only saw 21 species, even though high pressure and northerly winds had pushed through the area. We did see the 50th avian species on the trail for this September - a Red-winged Blackbird.   Click here to see the current September 2013 trail list.


Juvenile Eastern Bluebird


Eastern Wood-Pewee

Blue Ridge Parkway and Stoney Creek (Wintergreen)

With only little success on the Rockfish Valley Trail, I headed up to Hickory Springs Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway - there were a lot of work trucks going back and forth, and only a few birds were heard, and none seen. I drove back down to Stoney Creek, and hiked to the Allen Creek Nature Preserve. A few days ago I saw a Chestnut-sided Warbler in the small clearing between the north and south ends of the preserve. Along the way there this morning, I saw a few birds, including a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. When I got to the nature preserve clearing, I saw Eastern Phoebes, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and American Goldfinches.

Then a small warbler-like bird caught my eye about six feet in front of me. It had a solid olive-brown back, and perhaps a weak eye-ring. I quickly raised my camera for a photo, but the bird was too close to focus, and as I was changing camera settings, it flew down into the dense vegetation. A minute or so later, a bird popped up in the same area, but I couldn't get a clear photo of it, and am not sure that this second bird was the same one that I had just seen. The second bird could have been a warbler, but also possible was an American Goldfinch losing its breeding plumage. The bill doesn't look right for either of them.


Warbler?; Goldfinch?


Warbler?; Goldfinch?


Warbler?; Goldfinch?

Less than a minute later, a Magnolia Warbler popped up in the same vegetation, and I wonder if the previous bird was a first fall female Magnolia, but the bill doesn't look correct to me to be one.


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler

On my hike back home, I went by the small pine forest at the end of my street. I saw a Black and White Warbler and a Hairy Woodpecker. I also saw a bug species that I had never seen before (life bug?). After a bit of research, I learned that it was an Eastern Velvet Ant or Red Velvet Ant - a species of parasitoid wasp that is native to the eastern United States. It is commonly mistaken for a member of the true ant family, as the female is wingless. Other common names for it include cow ant and cow killer.


Black and White Warbler


Black and White Warbler


Hairy Woodpecker


Red Velvet Ant Wasp


Red Velvet Ant Wasp



E-mail comments on this report


Return to blog page home