Blue Ridge Parkway and Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch 8/9/10

Not too much to report today. In spite of the slow traffic on route 151, I still made it up to the Blue Ridge Parkway cirque between mile markers 7 and 8 by 8:55 a.m. All I saw were a few Goldfinches, a female Pileated Woodpecker, and one male American Redstart, and I heard some Peewees and Towhees. My guess is that the seven species of warblers that I saw there last week were summer residents, and the strong front that came through the area last Friday moved most of them out of the area.

Unless I hear some good reports about birds on the parkway, I plan to spend most of my birding time for the next couple of months on the Rockfish Valley Trail and at the hawk watch.

I did stop off for a few minutes at the Afton Inn at Rockfish Gap to see if there were any migrating raptors - it was hazy bright, and I didn't see any. But a few observations - the large, cloth Afton Inn sign is still shredded since last winter - not very enticing for anyone to stop there, and the asphalt parking lot east of the sign is full of cracks and there is a two foot deep sink hole in it. I would suggest parking west of the sign. Also, the wooden "tee-pee" across I-64 is gone! It was there a couple of weeks ago. Hikers have left some stone markers in its place. I stopped off at the new visitor center next to the inn to see if the small parking lot there would be a better spot to look for raptors, as there are two picnic tables there, and a restroom in the visitor center, but the view is not as good as from the back of the inn.

female Pileated Woodpecker

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