South on the Blue Ridge Parkway 5/6/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

As a birder who uses a camera instead of binoculars, getting better photos of a species is as important to me as photographing a new species. Today's birding trip was a very good day for me, as I got my best photos ever of three species.

The day started out with great birding. Walt Childs arrived at my house here in Stoney Creek (Rockfish Valley section of Wintergreen) at 8:45. Before we even got into my car, we birded for a few minutes right in front of my garage, and had four warbler species: Cape May, Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Green, in addition to a Scarlet Tanager and some usual woodland birds.


Cape May Warbler


Cape May Warbler


Yellow-rumped Warbler

We had logged 15 species even before we left Stoney Creek. We normally bird the first fourteen miles when we are on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and sometimes head north on Skyline Drive up to Pocasin cabin, but we decided to go south on the parkway today.

Our first stop was at Love Gap where we heard lots of birds singing, saw a Great Crested Flycatcher, and I got some good shots of an immature male American Redstart that was just starting to get its adult plumage.


American Redstart


American Redstart

We heard lots of American Redstarts all along the parkway. Our next stop was at Bald Mountain Overlook where we saw more Redstarts, got some good views of singing Chestnut-sided Warbler, and an Eastern Towhee displayed its tail feathers for me.


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Eastern Towhee

And then the fun really began! I had been trying to get a good breeding plumage photo of a male Blackburnian Warbler since 2008. I had some very good photos of males in non-breeding plumage, and good photos of females, but all of my breeding plumage male Blackburnian Warbler photos have been far from my desired standard - slightly out of focus, etc. When we arrived at Whetstone Ridge there was a Hooded Warbler, and then we spotted a male and a female Blackburnian Warbler. The male was a very cooperative photo subject!


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Female Blackburnian Warbler


Female Blackburnian Warbler

Our next stop was at Yankee Horse where we hiked along the old railroad trail. There were more Blackburnian Warblers, American Redstarts, a Black & White Warbler, and Cerulean Warblers.


Male Blackburnian Warbler


Male Blackburnian Warbler


American Redstart


American Redstart


Black & White Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler

Another one of my warbler photo objectives was to get better photos of an Ovenbird showing its orange crown stripe. Although I did get some photos three days ago at Pocasin cabin, the lighting wasn't great, and I still wanted to do better. As we walked on the railroad trail, I spotted a pair of Ovenbirds.


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird


Ovenbird

But Yankee Horse wasn't done yet. Another photo objective was to get better photos of a Veery


Veery


Veery


Veery


Veery


Veery


Veery


Veery

We saw several more species there as well.


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Yellow-throated Vireo


Yellow-throated Vireo

Our last stop on the parkway before exiting at route 60 was at Chimney Rock Mt. Overlook where we saw another Great Crested Flycatcher, a Pine Warbler, and some Chipping Sparrows.


Great Crested Flycatcher


Pine Warbler


Pine Warbler

We ended the trip with some birding in Buena Vista on a nature trail along the Maury River where we saw our 12th warbler species of the day, and ended the trip with 54 avian species.


Worm-eating Warbler


Indigo Bunting

Today's trip list:

American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Redstart
American Robin
Barn Swallow
Black Vulture
Black-and-white Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
Canada Goose
Cape May Warbler
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Cerulean Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle
Common Raven
Dark-eyed Junco
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Towhee
Eastern Wood-Pewee
European Starling
Gray Catbird
Great Crested Flycatcher
Hooded Warbler
House Finch
House Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Mockingbird
Ovenbird
Pine Warbler
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-eyed Vireo
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird
Rock Pigeon
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Scarlet Tanager
Spotted Sandpiper
Tree Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Turkey Vulture
Veery
White-breasted Nuthatch
Worm-eating Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-throated Vireo



E-mail comments on this report


Return to blog page home