Rockfish Valley Trail, VA, 5/23/16

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Overnight and early morning rain cleared for the morning, so I went back to the Rockfish Valley Trail to see if the Olive-sided Flycatcher might still be there. There are three trees between the bog area and the second wooden bridge along the Glenthorne Loop trail that have tall dead branches at the top, and I saw the Olive-sided Flycatcher at the southernmost of these three trees at 10:35 a.m. It flew after a couple of minutes, and I got a distant shot of a flycatcher at the top of the second tree a few minutes later. It could have been the Olive-sided Flycatcher, as I could see a white rump patch that is sometimes seen on juveniles of this species, but as there also is a white wing patch, it might have been an Eastern Wood-Pewee with a few displaced feathers.

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided(?) Flycatcher

The Olive-sided Flycatcher was one of 27 avian species that I saw on the trail this morning, 5 of which I had not seen as part of the 26 avian species I saw there yesterday afternoon.

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Brown Thrasher

Red-eyed Vireo

Eastern Kingbird

Breeding species on the Rockfish Valley Trail

Quite a few avian species breed on the Rockfish Valley Trail, although not as many as before the adjacent fields on the east side of Reids Creek were cut two years ago. Usual summer breeding bird species include Indigo Bunting, Orchard Oriole, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, American Goldfinch, Eastern Blue Bird, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Rock Pigeon, White-eyed Vireo, as well as many others. I have seen males and females of all of these species on the trail this year, but only direct breeding evidence of Bluebirds and Tree Swallows in the trail nesting boxes, and a Rock Pigeon in her nest under the Route 151 bridge. Blue Grosbeaks used to breed on the trail every summer near the start of the Glenthorne Loop trail, but I have only seen one Blue Grosbeak there in early spring, and none on the trail since then. Yellow Warblers used to breed along Reids Creek, but I haven't seen this species on the trail since the adjacent fields were cut.

Male and female Orchard Orioles on the trail this morning

Yellow-breasted Chat on the trail this morning

Tree Swallow on the trail this morning

I saw a male and female American Goldfinch on the trail this morning, and it appears that the male will be spending tonight in the dog house for some reason.

Male and female American Goldfinches

Male and female American Goldfinches

I don't do a lot of bug photography, but if there is an interesting bug to photograph, I take the shot. A Golden-backed Snipe Fly was on the second wooded bridge this morning.

Golden-backed Snipe Fly

We had more rain this afternoon. :-(

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