Rockfish Valley Trail 9/22/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It was a beautiful morning to be out looking for birds. After yesterday's day-long fog, mist, and then heavy rain, northerly winds overnight cleared the air. Walt Childs had led the Rockbridge County (Virginia) Bird Club on a damp hike on the trail yesterday, and they logged 41 species, including 3 more trail species for this September. I was most interested in one of the birds they saw - a Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird - rare here, but seen occasionally on the trail in previous years. I have seen this hummingbird species elsewhere in Virginia as well as in Seattle, Washington, but never here in my Wintergreen area, so I was keen to look for it.

Although Walt and I logged 38 species on the trail this morning, the trail was still not loaded with migrating warblers. We only saw two warblers: Palm and Wilson's, bringing this September's cumulative trail list to 70 species.   Click here to see the current September 2013 trail list.

Palm Warbler

As soon as we got out of the car on Glenthorne Loop, we saw a Broad-winged Hawk sitting on a hay bale, but it soon took to flight after seeing us.

Broad-winged Hawk

Later in the morning we saw another Broad-winged Hawk circling to gain altitude, and then a pair of them doing the same thing before heading south.

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

There were quite a few Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on the trail, and I did see an unusual one in the same area where the Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird was seen yesterday. The unusual one had a yellow and green speckled back and tail, presumably a function of how its feathers were reflecting the sunlight.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Cedar Waxwings

Northern Flicker and Red-bellied Woodpecker

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Monarch Butterfly

As soon as I got home (Stoney Creek, Wintergreen), I saw a flurry of activity above my driveway - one of the birds was a Yellow-throated Vireo. I also photographed a large Black and Yellow Argiope spider in my back yard.

Yellow-throated Vireo

Black and Yellow Argiope spider

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