Central Virginia 5/1/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I headed out to see what migrating warblers and other avian species might be fairly close to our homes here in the Rockfish Valley. We started out on the first 14 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, then hiked some of Ridgeview Park in nearby Waynesboro, and ended the afternoon with a short hike on the Rockfish Valley Trail. We ended the day with 57 species that included 10 warbler species.


Rockfish Valley from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

We stopped at my two favorite sites on the parkway: Hickory Springs Overlook at mm. 12, and the cirque at about mm.7.5, just north of the Humpback Rocks park area. It was still a bit early for the vegetation at the higher elevations - we only saw a few American Redstarts at Hickory Springs.


American Redstart

The cirque was "birdier," and soon after we arrived, three more cars of Augusta county birders whom we knew stopped there as well. Birds there included four Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, a pair of Canada Warblers, and a Black & White Warbler.


Canada Warbler


Canada Warbler


Canada Warbler


Canada Warbler


Black & White Warbler


Black & White Warbler


Black & White Warbler


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

A short distance north of the visitor's center, we made a brief detour onto route 610, where we saw a few woodland birds, and one of the highlights of the day - we watched a Worm-eating Warbler foraging in the leaves for a meal.


Chipping Sparrows gathering nesting materials


Eastern Towhee


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler


Yum!!


Worm-eating Warbler


Worm-eating Warbler

We made a final parkway stop at the Afton Overlook, and saw a cooperative Cerulean Warbler.


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler

Ridgeview Park

Ridgeview park was very "birdy." As soon as we crossed the metal bridge to the soccer fields, I got a brief view of a Nashville Warbler. The trails there were full of woodland birds. We saw more Black & White Warblers and American Redstarts, and added Yellow-rumped and Black-throated Green Warblers to raise our day's warbler species to eight.


Nashville Warbler


American Redstart


Black & White Warbler


Black & White Warbler


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Gray Catbird


Scarlet Tanager


Male Carolina Chickadee displaying for female


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rockfish Valley Trail

Walt and I ended the day's outing with a short hike on the Rockfish Valley Trail where we added 10 more species to our trip list, including two more warbler species; however, I was not able to get good photos of them.


Palm Warbler


Common Yellowthroat

Area of concern: I hiked the Rockfish valley Trail the next morning (5/2/14). It was not "birdy," and I saw only 21 species. Historically, it is about a week early for this trail to be filled with migrating and summer residents, but I should have seen 30 to 40 species. I am concerned that the loss of habitat and construction on the north side of the Rockfish River and on the east side of Reids Creek has had significant impact on birding there. Also, after more than five years of being the trail's birding activity manager, I have turned over the reins of that position to Tim Hodge. If you have questions about current and future birding on the trail, please contact Tim.

Trip list (5/1/14):

American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Redstart
American Robin
Baltimore Oriole
Barn Swallow
Black Vulture
Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blue Jay
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Brown-headed Cowbird
Canada Goose
Canada Warbler
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Cerulean Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle
Common Raven
Common Yellowthroat
Dark-eyed Junco
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Towhee
European Starling
Field Sparrow
Gray Catbird
Great Crested Flycatcher
House Sparrow
Mallard
Mourning Dove
Nashville Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Osprey
Palm Warbler
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Scarlet Tanager
Spotted Sandpiper
Tree Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Turkey Vulture
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-eyed Vireo
White-throated Sparrow
Wood Duck
Worm-eating Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler



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