Central Virginia 8/25/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Rockfish Valley Trail

Walt Childs and I started out this morning on the Rockfish Valley Trail. Although there were not a lot of birds to see, we did up with 25+ species in less than one hour. Most of them were common, late summer birds.


Indigo Bunting


Red-tailed Hawk

We saw two Empidonax Flycatchers on separate locations on the trail. Although we could not specify the exact species of these two Empidonax Flycatchers, the most common ones seen on the trail are Willow and Least Flycatchers.


Empidonax Flycatcher


Empidonax Flycatcher

The best bird we saw on the trail was a juvenile Bald Eagle, almost certainly on its migratory course.


Juvenile Bald Eagle


Juvenile Bald Eagle


Juvenile Bald Eagle

We saw lots of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds there.


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Ruby-throated Hummingbird

South on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We got on the parkway at Reids Gap (mm 14), and took it all the way south to the route 60 exit. There were very few birds on the parkway. The only extended stop we made there was at Yankee Horse Ridge where we added five more species to the trip list, but all the birds were high up in dense and poorly lit trees.


Downy Woodpecker

Swoope

We decided to head north on I-81 and go west to Swoope. Our trip list was only at 30/31 species, and that wasn't very good for the number of miles we had covered. Perhaps there would be some shore birds on Smith Lake (on private property, permission required to bird there). We stopped along Hewitt Road when we saw one the resident Bald Eagles that are nesting in Swoope. The eagle took off, and then circled back toward us, heading in the direction of the nest.


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle


Bald Eagle

When we got to Smith Lake, we didn't see any shore birds or the Glossy Ibis that was there last week, but the Great Egret was still there.


Great Egret


Great Egret


Great Egret

A pair of Great Blue Herons flew across the lake.


Great Blue Heron


Great Blue Heron


Great Blue Heron

Walt found a snake skin along the lake that was at least six-foot in length from the head to the tail - probably a Black Ratsnake. A couple of White-tailed Deer weren't happy to see us hiking by the lake.


Snake skin


White-tailed Deer

On our way out of the Swoope area, a third Great Blue Heron flew from a small creek. We ended the trip with 38 or 39 avian species.


Great Blue Heron



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