Rockfish Valley Trail 8/15/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It rained during the night, and this morning there was complete cloud cover and low fog that gradually cleared. I headed over to the trail to look for migrating warblers, and arrived at the south end of Glenthorne Loop by the second wooden bridge at 9:00. Along route 627 I saw a couple of Northern Mockingbirds and Eastern Bluebirds before I pulled off the road to park my car. I really didn't expect to see very much this morning.

I first headed down the east side of Reids Creek until I encountered the downed tree that blocked the path, and headed back to the second wooden bridge, adding 10 more species for the morning in 20 minutes.

Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Cedar Waxwing

Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Field Sparrow
American Goldfinch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Northern Cardinal

I was heading back to my car to drive over to the first wooden bridge when I changed my mind and decided to cross the second wooden bridge to see what was on the west side of Reids Creek. Right off the bat I saw a Carolina Wren, and then heard birds singing along the far southern end of the Glenthorne Loop trail, where a tree line runs from Reids Creek to route 151. I hadn't walked that part of the trail for more than a year, and thought that since I was already there . . .

During the next hour I made one trip down and back along the tree line, and saw 24 species along the tree line, including 15 that I hadn't already seen this morning.

Red-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Phoebe

Rock Pigeon
Scarlet Tanager
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
House Wren

Chipping Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Blue Grosbeak

Carolina Wren

Juvenile Chipping Sparrow

Juvenile Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Juvenile White-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Indigo Buntings: male, female, and junior begging for food

Female Blue Grosbeak

Female Blue Grosbeak

Female Blue Grosbeaks

Female Scarlet Tanager

Eastern Phoebe

I was already up to 27 species for the morning in 80 minutes when I parked near the first wooden bridge and headed toward the bog area, walked part way around the bog area and then down the fence to the downstream trail, and then back to the bridge. I added six more species. One of them was a quick look at a warbler-sized bird that was entirely dull yellow, and my best guess is that it was a Yellow Warbler.

Yellow Warbler(?)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Song Sparrow
Great Blue Heron
Eastern Wood-Pewee

Great Blue Heron

Thirty-three species in two hours was not bad for a morning where I didn't expect to see very much. When I got to my car, I decided to see what birds where singing a short distance down route 627 towards the Elk Hill Baptist Church. I added two more species to the total. The first was Carolina Chickadee - there was a small flock of them moving quickly in the trees. The second species remains as an unidentified bird. I saw it fly from one tree and then into some dense tree canopy. It was slightly larger than a warbler, and its solid brown back was similar to a Hermit Thrush, but as it approached the dense tree canopy to land, it spread its tail feathers, and the outer tail feather on each side was yellow.

With 35 species now logged, I stopped around the bend on route 627 when I saw two Eastern Meadowlarks sitting on a powerline. There were Northern Mockingbirds in the street, and Goldfinches in the brush along the road. I got out of my car, and heard an Eastern Towhee, saw a flock of Turkey Vultures, and then saw two female Orchard Orioles foraging in the brush along with the Goldfinches. After returning home and looking at my photos, I saw that a female Baltimore Oriole was also in the same brush, bring my morning total to 40 avian species.

Female Baltimore and Orchard Orioles

Female Baltimore Oriole

Female Orchard Oriole

E-mail comments on this report

Return to blog page home