Blue Ridge Parkway, VA 5/7/15

All photos are Marshall Faintich

We had heavy rain over night, and I thought that perhaps there might have been a migrating warbler "fall-out" in the area, but it appears the stormy weather was very localized, and the migrating warblers probably flew around the storm.

I started out at Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro where I saw 16 avian species, including my FOS Baltimore Oriole, but not a single warbler. I then went to Stuart's Draft for my second attempt to see the rare Western Tanager that has been coming to a feeder, but was unsuccessful again. So I decided to take the back road (route 610) up to the parkway to look for warblers at my favorite locations.

Last year, route 610 up to the parkway level was in bad shape, and this time it was in terrible shape - deep potholes and deep troughs going across the road in multiple places. I recommend that route 610 down from the parkway level be avoided unless you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. At the parkway level, route 610 meets up with the Blue Ridge Parkway near mm. 4.5, and runs parallel to, and only 50 to 100 feet from the parkway until about mm. 2.5, and one can access the parkway at either location. The road was in much better condition here, and it's a good stretch for warbler hunting.

I stopped when I heard warblers singing just down the hill from the mm. 3 parkway overlook. Just as I got out of my car, and male and a female American Redstart landed on the road less than 10 feet from me, and quickly did their "birds and bees" activity before I could get my camera ready. A few seconds later they were up in the trees. I also heard a different warbler singing - it was my FOS Hooded Warbler.


Hooded Warbler


Hooded Warbler


Hooded Warbler


Hooded Warbler

I entered the Blue Ridge Parkway at mm 2.5, and made a stop at the cirque between mm. 7 and 8. There were more American Redstarts, and I heard Cerulean Warblers, but didn't try to locate them as I had had gotten good photos of a Cerulean Warbler at that location two days earlier. I aslo saw my FOS Rose-breasted Grosbeak there.


Male American Redstart

My next stop was at Hickory Springs overlook (mm. 12). It's still a week or so early for good vegetative growth there, but there were a few American Redstarts and other species.


Red-eyed Vireo

There's dripping water at this overlook, and a Redstart had just taken a bath in it and was shaking out its feathers.


Male American Redstart


Male American Redstart


Male American Redstart

I decided to head to the north end of the Parkway on my way home, and stop at the Rockfish Valley Overlook (mm. 2) where I had seen Cerulean Warblers two days ago, and where Kentucky Warblers nest in the dense vines going up the hill to the west of the overlook. I heard Kentucky Warblers singing as soon as I got there, but needed to coax one out for some photos.


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler


Kentucky Warbler



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