Central Virginia 3/31/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Rockfish Valley Trail

I arrived at the Rockfish Valley Trail mid-morning and decided to go upstream at first because day carers with two car loads of screaming children had just started downstream. The high winds from this past weekend were starting to calm down, and the warmer temperatures had melted some of the mountain snow that filled the Rockfish River to the top of its banks. I didn't see a lot of birds upstream, but did log 11 avian species. Most of the birds I saw upstream were Song Sparrows. It was weird to see some daffodils growing in the middle of the woods along the river.

Three Ridges

Tree Swallow


After returning to the parking lot I decided to head downstream and then to the bog area on the Glenthorne Loop section of the trail, and I added three more species to the day's list. There were more sparrows, including quite a few Field Sparrows. A Great Blue Heron looked out of place in the tall grasses.

Great Blue Heron

When I got to the south end of the bog area, I counted a dozen blackbirds. I could see the pale irises of the dark males, and immediately thought Rusty Blackbirds, as this species is on the move and I had seen some of them in the bog area twice in the past 11 days. But the female blackbirds didn't look right to me to be a Rusty. They were mostly gray, and the first ones I saw looked to have dark irises. Could they be Brewer's Blackbirds?

Male Blackbird

Female Blackbird

Once I started processing the photos, it certainly looks like all of them were Rusty Blackbirds, although some of the females looked to be very gray with little rust coloring.

Female Rusty Blackbird

Female Rusty Blackbird

Female Rusty Blackbird

Female Rusty Blackbird

Female Rusty Blackbird

Female Rusty Blackbird

Male Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbirds

Rusty Blackbirds

Crozet, VA

By early afternoon the winds had almost completely died down, and the temperatures were pushing 70. I did some exploring in Crozet at Lickinghole Creek Reservoir, Beaver Creek Reservoir, Old Trail Pond, and King Family Vineyards. Although I logged 28 species in the Crozet area, most of them were fairly common. The most interesting birds were a Red-shouldered Hawk at Lickinghole, a Cooper's Hawk that flew across route 240, and an Osprey at Old Trail. On the way up the hill from the Lickinghole Creek Reservoir, I remembered to check the tree cavity where I had seen a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches bringing nesting materials two weeks ago. Sure enough, the nuthatches were still there.

White-breasted Nuthatches

Red-shouldered Hawk


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