Rockfish Valley Trail 1/14/15

All photos are Marshall Faintich

I awoke to light snow cover and temperatures in the low 20s this morning, but the forecast was for some clearing in the afternoon, so I waited until 3 p.m. to arrive at the trail. As soon as I got out of my car, I saw snow flurries, but decided to start my hike. I had hoped that birds had waited for the snow to melt and would be out and about this afternoon.

It was very quiet on the downstream trail. As soon as I walked up the small hill from under the Route 151 bridge, I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk on the other side of the field. Apparently, it saw me before I saw it, as my photos show that it was looking directly at me.


Red-shouldered Hawk

A few moments later I heard crows farther downstream, and saw them chasing an Americam Kestrel that turned and headed towards me. It had a small bird in its talons that looks to me like a Dark-eyed Junco.


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


American Kestrel

Once the hawk and kestrel left the area, avian activity picked up. By 4:15, I had 19 species, and then it got really quiet as the overcast skies got even darker. There should have been another dozen or so common winter species on the trail, so I stayed for a while, but could not get #20 for the hike.


Large flock of Cedar Waxwings


Yellow-rumped Warbler


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This afternoon's list:

Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Crow
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
American Goldfinch



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