Rockfish Valley Trail 4/17/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

I went to the trail this morning to see if the birding had improved. Although I saw 28 species, it was not a stellar birding outing. At this time of year, I should have seen 35 to 50 species. Even more disturbing was the low number of birds on the trail, especially the smaller-sized species. For example, I didn't see any Chipping Sparrows, only one Song Sparrow, only a few Field Sparrows, only one Eastern Phoebe, and only one American Goldfinch. All of these species should have been abundant on the trail at this time of the year. The only warbler species I saw was Yellow-rumped. It appears that the loss of habitat, both internal and adjacent to the trail, has had a dramatic impact to birding on the trail.

The highlights of the morning were more overhead than on the trail, as I saw five raptor species. My first of the year Broad-winged Hawk, and Osprey, both vulture species, and a male American Kestrel was once again on top of the dead tree at the end of the fenced field on the upstream trail. I heard a woodpecker pecking away inside of the sycamore tree trunk just past the downstream picnic table - where I photographed Pileated Woodpeckers nesting a few years ago. Perhaps they are nesting there again and adding another bedroom?

American Kestrel


Broad-winged Hawk

Field Sparrows

Red-winged Blackbird

Great Blue Heron

This morning's list (28 species):

Eastern Bluebird
Tree Swallow
NRW Swallow
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Wren
American Goldfinch
Blue Jay
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Carolina Chickadee
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Red-winged Blackbird
American Crow
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Phoebe
Rock Pigeon
American Kestrel
Broad-winged Hawk
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Great Blue Heron

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