Wintergreen Area 9/11/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

The forecast was for temperatures in the upper 80s today, with a cold front moving through the area that will bring rain later this afternoon and evening, with cooler temperatures after the front moves through. It was very windy when I left my house this morning. The morning fog at higher elevations of the past few days had been replaced with mostly sunny skies with a few clouds. I decided to try the Blue Ridge Parkway first.

It was too windy for birding up there. There were small branches all over the parkway, and workmen were cutting up fallen trees in the Humpback Rocks picnic area. The only place where I found birds was at the cirque, as it was somewhat sheltered from the wind - I heard six or seven species, but only saw Ravens, Goldfinches, and a Cedar Waxwing. I saw a bear climbing down the bottom of a tree, but it was hidden in the brush before I could get off a photo.

Common Ravens

I drove down to the Rockfish Valley Trail. I heard a Red-shouldered Hawk along route 664 as soon as I crossed route 151. This hawk looked a bit ragged, and wasn't happy that some crows were harassing it.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

I parked just of route 627 near the second wooden bridge. There were at least a dozen species flying around in the trees on both sides of the bridge, but they weren't eager to have their photos taken. My first thought was that a good migration pattern was ahead of the front.

Magnolia Warbler

Indigo Bunting

Scarlet Tanager

Orchard Oriole

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Red-eyed Vireo

I drove farther north and parked near the first wooden bridge, and hiked a short loop downstream and back around to the bog area. There were only a handful of birds there, mostly Indigo Buntings. Perhaps today is the transition day from seeing only a few pockets of migrating birds to birds coming through en masse after the front passes??

Indigo Bunting

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