Rockfish Valley Trail 5/27/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

I hadn't planned on going birding this morning. The forecast was for hot, humid, and rain, but the rain held off for a while, so I went to the trail. When I arrived a little after 9:00 a.m., it was already 76 degrees, and when I left two hours later, it was 86 degrees. But a light breeze moderated the muggy air. However, I really had to work hard to log a rather poor 21 common avian species.

I hiked the downstream and Glenthorne Loop trails, and part of the upstream trail. As soon as I started my hike, a pair of Field Sparrows were chasing an Indigo Bunting from their spot on a fence.


Field Sparrows and Indigo Bunting

On my return leg to the parking lot, the same two Field Sparrows were still there, and they didn't mind my being close to them.


Field Sparrow


Field Sparrow


Field Sparrows


Field Sparrows


Red-eyed Vireo


Red-eyed Vireo


Eastern Kingbird


Brown Thrasher


Brown Thrasher


Cedar Waxwing


Tree Swallow


Carolina Chickadee


Juvenile Starling

The best wildlife speceis of the morning were non-avian. As I hiked along the east side of Reids Creek north of the first wooden bridge, I heard a chuckling noise near the ground. It kept going back and forth as I walked back and forth looking for a bird low in the vegetation. I finally saw a black mammal about the size of a small squirrel moving in the brush. I couldn't see its head very well, but it probably was a small mink.


Mink?

I saw Black Ratsnakes on both the Glenthorne Loop trail near Yellow Bird Thicket and on the upstream trail near the benches.


Black Ratsnake

And I saw a dragonfly (species?) that was well-camouflaged against the bark of a tree.


Dragonfly



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