My last report was for birding on September 19th, and I want to share what happened after I headed for home.
There's a standing joke up at the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch that the best birds fly by either 10 to 30 minutes before I arrive, or 10 to 30 minutes after I leave. So after seeing a few small kettles of Broad-winged Hawks and a few other raptors on September 19th, I headed for home. About 30 minutes after I left, a huge kettle of about 500 Broad-winged Hawks appeared at the hawk watch. But that wasn't then end of it. By the time the afternoon hawk watch had ended, 7,000+ Broad-winged Hawks had been counted after my departure!
Was I disappointed? Sure, but not upset. Birding is about being in the right place at the right time. I have seen 10,000 hawks in a single day there in the past, and my birding philosophy is to never forget the story of the French astronomer, Le Gentil, who wasted eleven years of his life, and lost his entire fortune, while trying to watch Venus transit the disk of the Sun. So, compared to Le Gentil, I had a great day birding!
If you're interested in reading more about Le Gentil's misfortune, here's a link to one of the many writings about his adventure: Le Gentil
I was eager to look for warblers this morning, but the mountains were shrouded with fog. So I first did a short hike here in Old Trail (Crozet), and saw a few birds, including two warbler species.
The fog appeared to have cleared by 10:15 in the morning, so I headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Route 610, but there were still pockets of dense fog, and I saw very few birds. I decided to skip making a stop at the hawk watch, as it was still foggy. By the time I got home, the sun was out, and 3489 Broad-winged Hawks were seen there this afteroon. Of course!September 21
I met up with Tink Moyer at the old tower on Route 610. There were a few birds, but it was still foggy and difficult to find the birds. I did manage to see a Black-throated Green Warbler and an American Redstart through all the fog.
Black-throated Green Warbler and American Redstart
We headed up to the cirque (mm. 7.5 on the parkway), where there was quite a bit of avian activity. The cloud cover was heavy and tree leaves were dense, making it difficult to see birds, but at least it wasn't foggy there. We saw 7 warbler species there, including a Bay-breasted (my 41st warbler species photographed in 2021).
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak
We went back to Route 610, but it was still foggy, so we drove down to Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro. We did see three warbler species there, giving us 10 warbler species for the morning, but it was really dark, and we left around noon when it started to rain.
Black and White Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler