Rockfish Valley Trail; Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch 9/15/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I started out this morning at the RV Trail to see what might be there. The winds had shifted from light south-westerly to north-westerly, and we did know if the warblers we had seen the past few days would still be there, or if different birds would be on the trail.

We only saw two warbler species: a couple of Magnolias and one Black-throated Green. But we did see a rare Olive-sided Flycatcher at the top of a dead tree branch on the the Glenthorne Loop trail. We ran into a birder from Lynchburg, Virginia, who joined us for the last half of our hike on the trail. A Yellow(?)-billed Cuckoo was spotted near the second wooden bridge, bringing our 11 day total to 65 avian species seen on the trail, and we saw 32 species on the trail this morning.

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided Flycatcher

We enjoyed seeing all of the other species as well, and were entertained as we watched papa American Goldfinch feeding junior. Our resident tail-less Turkey Vulture also made an appearance.

American Goldfinches

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

Tail-less Turkey Vulture

After about 2-1/2 hours on the trail, we made our way to the Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch via the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at a few places to look for warblers, but there were few birds to be seen there. At the Hawk Watch we saw a good number of Broad-winged Hawks, a few Ospreys, and a close fly-by of a Red-tailed Hawk. While we where there, high flyers also included Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and a Peregrine Falcon. We were told that we had missed a Merlin and a Mississippi Kite that flew by before we got there - Drats! But I am not really complaining. The RVT trail has offered up some real jewels for me during the past week.

Sharp-shinned Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

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