Rockfish Valley Trail, VA, 5/22/16

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Have I said in my recent postings that it has been raining a lot here in Virginia ? :-)

We have had measurable rain almost every day now for more than a month. It wasn't supposed to start raining today until 11:45 a.m., so I stayed close to home, and did some birding on the Rockfish Valley Trail. Low clouds hung around the Blue Ridge Mountains like wisps of cotton. The grass on the trail was wet and tall from not being cut, and my boots and jeans were soaked soon after starting my hike around 9:00 a.m.

Rockfish Valley Trail

Most of the birds I saw on the trail were common summer or year round residents.

Orchard Oriole

Common Yellowthroat

Yellow-breasted Chat

Two of many juvenile Eastern Bluebirds

Field Sparrow

But there were three visitors to the trail. I saw a Least Flycatcher along the downstream trail.

Least Flycatcher

Along the Glenthorne loop trail south of the bog area, I stopped to photograph a flycatcher at the top of the tallest dead branch in a tree. I considered Olive-sided Flycatcher, as they often visit for a day or two during migration in May, they like perching at the highest possible point, and I had seen this species on that same tree in previous years. But the lighting was so poor that I couldn't tell for sure until I got home and started processing the photos. Its dark vest, short tail, and spotted undertail coverts confirmed my guess.

Olive-sided Flycatcher

I saw another visitor in the same section of the Glenthorne Loop trail. I couldn't tell for sure what it was because of the poor lighting, but processing the only photo I got of it shows a black bird, with pale eyes, and a relatively short tail. This suggests either a Rusty or Brewer's Blackbird, and its bill thickness points to Brewer's, but I am not sure.

Brewer's(?) Blackbird

I ended my hike with 26 avian species at 10:15 when it started raining and I was about a mile from my car.

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