Rockfish Valley Trail 3/31/2011

There was a lessening of the cloud cover this afternoon, so I decided to see what might be on the Rockfish Valley Trail before the forecasted rain moved back into the area. I arrived around 2:30, and didn't expect to see very much. Boy, was I wrong!

The trail looked like it will be a week or two before we have enough green vegetation for good spring birding. Right off the bat I noticed lots of Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, and Eastern Bluebirds. There were also quite a few Song Sparrows and Field Sparrows. I also saw American Crows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers, a Pileated Woodpecker, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker. A Kingfisher made a pass overhead, and there were Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wrens, and Carolina Chickadees. A few Starlings, some American Goldfinches, and lots of Eastern Phoebes were there as well.

Cedar Waxwings

Field Sparrow

Eastern Bluebird

I saw a couple of White-thoated Sparrows and was surprised by a Fox Sparrow. I saw a Swamp Sparrow that looked a great deal like a Lincoln's because of the fine streaks on its flanks, but I think that the rufous crown makes it a Swamp Sparrow.

Fox Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

But it wasn't over yet. A female Osprey flew overhead. My first of this season.


Then the strong brown stripes on a buff breast of a small bird low in the brush caught my attention. I couldn't get a good look at it, but am fairly confident that it was a Louisiana Waterthrush. All in all, 24 species on the trail in a little more than an hour. Not a bad way to start spring birding on the Rockfish Valley Trail.

Louisiana Waterthrush ?

Louisiana Waterthrush ?

Louisiana Waterthrush ?

[4/1/11 update] I went back to the trail this morning for a quick hike to look for the Louisiana Waterthrush, but did not see it. In addition to a few birds like the Kingfisher pictured below, I did see a Chipping Sparrow, Mockingbird, RW Blackbird, and Turkey Vulture, and am fairly sure that I heard an Eastern Meadowlark singing in one of the fields. That makes 29 species on the trail in the past 24 hours.

Belted Kingfisher

E-mail comments on this report

Return to blog page home