Augusta and Nelson Counties, VA, 5/4/16

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Rain continued through the night with more rain in the forecast through Friday, but there was a break in the rain this morning, with scattered thunderstorms forecasted between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. I wanted to see if the thunderstorms had caused a fallout of migrating warblers close to home, or perhaps had prevented another wave of migrating warblers from passing though the area. I started birding at Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro, but it was fairly overcast, and the only warbler species I saw there was American Redstart. It started to drizzle a little before 10:30, so I headed back to my car.


American Redstart


Eastern Towhee


Gray Catbird


House Wren

I stopped at the Rockfish Valley Overlook (mm 2) on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and sat in my car for about 30 minutes waiting for the rain to stop. At least my car got a washing. When the rain stopped, I got out to look and listen for warblers. Kentucky Warblers usually nest there, but all I heard were more American Redstarts and a Hooded Warbler. The sky looked like it was starting to clear to the south, so I drove to the cirque between mm 7 and mm 8 on the parkway, and birded both at the lower north end and at the upper south end of the cirque. There were quite a few birds singing, but the leaf cover was starting to make it difficult to locate birds until they moved a bit. I saw more American Redstarts, as well as a Cerulean Warbler, and I heard a Black&White Warbler. Canada Warblers usually spend a good part of May at the upper end of the cirque, but I didn't see or hear this species. A beautiful Scarlet Tanager posed for a few photos. There were several Indigo Buntings, and at least one Dark-eyed Junco. The Juncos have left the valleys here, but many spend the summer up at higher elevations.


Male American Redstart


Female American Redstart


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Cerulean Warbler


Scarlet Tanager


Scarlet Tanager


Scarlet Tanager


Scarlet Tanager


Dark-eyed Junco

I continued on the parkway to the Hickory Springs Overlook (mm 12), where I heard more American Redstarts and saw a Broad-winged Hawk. Dark clouds started to move in, so I headed down into the Rockfish Valley.


Broad-winged Hawk

I ended the outing with a short hike on the Rockfish Valley Trail. Common Yellowthroats and Yellow-breasted Chats nest along Reids Creek in the summer, and Orchard Orioles nest along the creek and the Rockfish River, and I saw all three of these species there today.


Orchard Oriole


Common Yellowthroat


Yellow-breasted Chat


Yellow-breasted Chat



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