Rockfish Valley Trail 8/31/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I met at the trail around 9:00 this morning, and hiked part of the downstream trail and all of Glenthorne Loop. It was hot and muggy, but there was plenty of sun and a few cumulus clouds. Birding was poor - we only saw 15 avian species, and about 30 to 50 birds in total. Most of them were common summer birds.


Juvenile Indigo Bunting


Eastern Wood-Pewee


Eastern Wood-Pewee

The most common species we saw there was Ruby-throated Hummingbird - around six to eight of them. The first one we saw, on the downstream trail near Glenthorne Loop, looked a bit unusual to me. Its head and back appeared golden yellow instead of green. We attributed that to the sun angle, as sometimes, I have seen some of this coloring on Ruby-throated Hummingbirds if the sun is reflected in a certain way. Its dark facial markings and white undertail coverts are also typical of a Ruby-throated, but its flanks looked to be very rufous, more like that of a Rufous Hummingbird, of which a few are seen, though rarely, here in the Rockfish Valley. I have seen some rufous coloring on the flanks of fall female Ruby-thorated Hummingbirds before, but never this much. Also, there may be some rufous coloring on the base of the tail feathers, or perhap this is another sunlight effect. All of the tail feathers appear to be black or have white tips. I don't see the greenish notched tail that I should see on female Ruby-throated, but rather the all black and white-tipped black tail feathers of a Rufous. Although this hummingbird is most likely a Ruby-throated, I have read that Ruby-throated x Rufous Hummingbirds may exist, and I wonder if this might be a hybrid?? All opinions would be appreciated.


Unusual(?) Hummingbird


Unusual(?) Hummingbird


Unusual(?) Hummingbird


Unusual(?) Hummingbird



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