Skyline Drive, VA 5/11/18

All photos are © Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I drove west in serach of migrating and breeding warblers, as well as to look for other interesting avian species. Our first stop was at Hillandale Park in Harrisonburg, Virginia. This park can be boom or bust for warblers, and even though we saw 20 avian species there, it really wasn't very "birdy." The only warblers we saw there were a male and female American Redstart. This was our second trip there during the past month, and both times were not very productive. We have had much better luck there during autumn migration. Best bird sighted there this morning was a Red-headed Woodpecker.

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Red-headed Woodpecker

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Downy Woodpecker

Our next stop was a Pocosin Cabin off of Skyline Drive (mm. 59.5). Birding was much better there, and we saw six warbler species as well as other avian species such as a male and a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

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Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

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Male American Redstart

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Female American Redstart

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Chestnut-sided Warbler

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Chestnut-sided Warbler

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Chestnut-sided Warbler

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Ovenbird

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Hooded Warbler

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Hooded Warbler

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Cerulean Warbler

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Canada Warbler

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Canada Warbler

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Canada Warbler

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Canada Warbler

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Canada Warbler

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Canada Warbler

The Canada Warbler was my 20th warbler species photographed this spring. Our next stop was at Hightop Mountain (near mm. 67). This site has been a reliable place for Kentucky Warblers for the psat couple of years. There is a trail on each side of Skyline Drive from the parking area. We started out on the east side as I heard two Kentucky Warblers calling to each other, and I was able to get photos of one of them. Red-eyed Vireos, American Redstarts, and a female Hooded Warbler (near the ground) were also on this side of Skyline Drive, but we didn't hike very far before checking out the other side of Skyline Drive.

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Kentucky Warbler

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Kentucky Warbler

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Kentucky Warbler

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Kentucky Warbler

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Kentucky Warbler

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Male American Redstart

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Female Hooded Warbler

Within a few feet on the trail on the west side of Skyline Drive, I heard a nearby Kentucky Warbler, but the vegetation was so dense that I couldn't see it. It may have been one of the two that were on the east side a few minutes earlier. But I did see more American Redstarts and a Cerulean Warbler.

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Cerulean Warbler

The Kentucky Warbler was my 21st warbler species photographed this spring. I have photographed all 37 warbler species that are reported annually in Virginia (Click here to see my warbler photo pages), but have never photographed all of them in a single year. I don't plan on making this an objective, and driving all over Virginia to try to accomplish it, but if I get to 35 or 36, I may reconsider.

Our next stop was at Loft Mountain (mm. 79). There wasn't a lot of trees that have leafed out above the trail near the amphitheater, so we didn't go any higher, but did see/hear American Redstarts, Hooded Warblers, and Chestnut-sided Warblers, and a Blue-headed Vireo. Gray Catbirds seemed to be everywhere.

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Chestnut-sided Warbler

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Blue-headed Vireo

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Gray Catbird

Our last stop was at Sawmill Ridge Overlook (mm. 95) and a bit south of Sawmill Run Overlook. This has been a reliable site for Pine Warblers, where we saw a pair of them, and our 40th species of the day trip - Chipping Sparrow.

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Pine Warbler

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Chipping Sparrow


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