Blue Ridge Parkway 8/16/11

All photos are Marshall Faintich

I took the long way up to Wintergreen Mountain late this morning, going via Afton Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch starts on Saturday, and I wanted to see if there were any early migrating raptors, or perhaps some early warblers. I stopped first at the hawk watch site, but all I saw there were a few vultures, Chimney Swifts, Rock Pigeons, and a flock of small birds. I next stopped at the cirque near mm. 7-8 on the parkway - nothing there at all. Next stop was at Hickory Springs overlook. I could hear a few Indigo Buntings, American Goldfinches, and a Towhee, and a few Black and Turkey Vultures were circling above. The vultures were joined by a Red-tailed Hawk for a minute or so, and then the hawk headed away to the north.

Red-tailed Hawk

A couple of minutes later, a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk circled above me.

Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk

Not much else, so I headed on. As I approached Reids Gap, I caught a glimpse of a Red-tailed Hawk, pulled my car over to the shoulder, and got out with my camera. The whitish tail on the hawk threw me at first, and I wasn't sure what kind of hawk it was.

Red-tailed Hawk

As it circled higher and higher I got some more shots - it was a light-morph juvenile Red-tailed.

Red-tailed Hawk

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