Allegheny Mountains, VA 5/11-12/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I went looking for warblers in the Allegheny Mountains to the west and north of the Rockfish Valley. We saw a combined total of more than 60 avian species, including 13 warbler species: American Redstart, Black and White, Blackburnian, Black-throated Green, Canada, Cerulean, Chestnut-sided, Common Yellowthroat, Golden-winged, Northern Parula, Pine, Yellow, and Yellow-rumped. The Allegheny Mountains are not only a good place to look for migrating warblers, but also are the summer breeding grounds for some warbler species that normally migrate much farther to the north.

Reddish Knob 5/11/14

The first stop on this two day expedition was Reddish Knob that lies on the boundary between Virginia and West Virginia. We birded all the way up to the top and saw several good woodland birds in addition to seven warbler species. The highlights there were three Veerys near the summit, and a pair of Canada Warblers.


Veery


Veery


Veery


Veery


Veery

The male Canada Warbler sat perched most of the time we were watching the pair, while the female was busy collecting nesting materials.


Male Canada Warbler


Female Canada Warbler


Female Canada Warbler


Female Canada Warbler


Female Canada Warbler


Female Canada Warbler


Female Canada Warbler


Female Canada Warbler

We saw a few Black and White Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and some American Redstarts, and got quick views of Black-throated Green, Pine, and Chestnut-sided Warblers.


Male Black and White Warbler


Female Black and White Warbler


Male Black and White Warbler


Black and White Warblers


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Pine Warbler


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Scarlet Tanager


This Red-eyed Vireo had a very short bill

Switzer's Dam 5/11/14

We then headed north to Switzer's Dam where we saw more American Redstarts and Black and White Warblers, as well as a Cerulean and a Blackburnian Warbler. The highlight of the afternoon was watching the Cerulean Warbler take a bath in a small wet area only a few feet from us.


Male Black and White Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Female American Redstart gathering nesting materials


Female American Redstart gathering nesting materials


Female American Redstart gathering nesting materials


Female American Redstart gathering nesting materials


Female Blackburnian Warbler


Female Blackburnian Warbler


Female Blackburnian Warbler


Female Blackburnian Warbler


Female Blackburnian Warbler

Blue Grass Valley, Highland County, Virginia 5/12/14

The weather forecast was not quite as good as yesterday. The forecast for Highland County was 40% chance of rain between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. We arrived at Blue Grass Valley almost exactly at 11 a.m., and just as we got there, it started to rain! But we headed up Wimer Mountain Road and waited for 30 minutes until the rain moved out of the valley. There was very good birding there. The highlight was seeing three Golden-winged Warblers. We stopped on the road when I heard what sounded like a Blue-winged Warbler, but all we saw was our third Golden-winged Warbler of the afternoon. These two species interbreed and learn each other's songs, so perhaps I heard the Golden-winged Warbler, or both species were there and we missed the Blue-winged. We also saw more American Redstarts, a Common Yellowthroat, and a Yellow Warbler. We saw both male and female Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, and another highlight was watching a female Baltimore Oriole building her nest.

Walt and I were surprised to see a Wood Duck and a Blue-winged Teal in one of the farm ponds. We had considered going up onto forest roads to look for some of the other summer-resident warblers, but the weather forecast prompted us to pass on that idea, and as we left the valley, we looked back to see that it was raining there once again.


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged Warbler


American Redstart


Common Yellowthroat


Yellow Warbler


Male Orchard Oriole


Female Baltimore Oriole


Female Baltimore Oriole


Female Baltimore Oriole


Female Baltimore Oriole


Female Baltimore Oriole


Female Baltimore Oriole


Female Baltimore Oriole


This is probably an Eastern Wood-Pewee, but it has a fairly bold eye-ring and lacks a smudgy vent area


Rose-breasted Grosbeak


House Wren


Wood Duck

Ramsey's Draft 5/12/14

We stopped at Ramsey's Draft on our way back to the Rockfish Valley, and saw a pair of Northern Parulas flying back and forth between trees, but high off the ground. No matter how much coaxing I did to bring them closer, nothing worked. We also heard another warbler in the woods, but could not locate it - it sounded lake a Black and White.


Northern Parula


Northern Parula


Northern Parula



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