Central Virginia, 9/22-23/15

All photos are Marshall Faintich

September 22

Rain on Monday ushered in a cool front, and it was very cloudy this morning, but the forecast was for the weather to clear. Walt Childs and I started out at the Rockfish Valley Trail, but it wasn't very "birdy" again. Prior to a couple of years ago, before the new owners of a large adjacent parcel of land clear-cut the vegetation, the trail was a magnet for birds, especially migrating warblers. Now it is tough to find many birds there. We did see a few species, including a Common Yellowthroat and a Wilson's Warbler.


Common Yellowthroat


Wilson's Warbler


Wilson's Warbler


Cedar Waxwings


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Gray Catbird


Red-shouldered Hawk


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

We headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, but as we climbed in elevation, we were soon engulfed in dense fog. The entire parkway from Reids Gap (mm. 14) to Rockfish Gap (mm. 0) was socked in. So we headed down to Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro. The sky started to clear a bit, and we had four other warbler species in the park, as well as Blue-headed, Red-eyed, and White-eyed Vireos.


Magnolia Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Black and White Warbler


Black-throated Blue Warbler


Black-throated Blue Warbler


Black-throated Blue Warbler

By the time we left Ridgeview Park, we had 38 species for the day, and tried the parkway once again, but it was still completely fogged.

September 23

This morning was bright and sunny. I went back to the Rockfish Valley Trail, hoping for better luck there. As soon as I parked my car on Route 627 and walked a few feet, I saw three Black-throated Green Warblers and a White-eyed Vireo. I thought that it might be a good day on the trail.


Black-throated Green Warbler


White-eyed Vireo


White-eyed Vireo

But the rest of the trail was quiet, so perhaps the Blue Ridge Parkway might be better?

However, as I neared Reids Gap, I could see fog on the parkway. I stopped at Three Ridges Overlook (mm. 13). It's usually not a great place to look for birds, but the fog was ten feet above the ground there, and I could see a few birds. It seemed like they were taking advantage of at least a bit of sun, and were foraging close to the ground.


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Common Yellowthroat


Common Yellowthroat

The parkway was foggy all the way north to about mm. 3, and I stopped at a few places north of there, once on adjacent route 610 near the tower and later, about 1/2 mile south of mm. 2 on the parkway, where warblers foraging in the sunlight. These are not my usual birding sites on and along the parkway, but the fog must have pushed the birds to clearer areas.


Magnolia Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Tennessee Warbler


Ovenbird


Black and White Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler

I decided to try Ridgeview Park again. As soon as I entered the wooded area, I saw a striking Swainson's Thrush.


Swainson's Thrush


Swainson's Thrush


Swainson's Thrush

The park didn't have a lot of birds in this early afternoon, but there were a few warblers, and a couple of the Magnolia Warblers didn't mind close-up photos.


Downy Woodpecker


White-eyed Vireo


White-eyed Vireo


White-eyed Vireo


Red-eyed Vireo


Female Black-throated Blue Warbler


American Redstart


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler


Magnolia Warbler

I headed back to my car that was parked just outside of the wooded area, and a Black-throated Green Warbler was in a tree next to the car, along with my first-of-season Ruby-crowned Kinglet.


Black-throated Green Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Black-throated Green Warbler


Ruby-crowned Kinglet


Ruby-crowned Kinglet



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