Summer birding in central Virginia can be a tough nut to crack unless you head to the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge or Allegheny Mountains, but I didn't feel like making a long trip today, so I headed over to the Rockfish Valley Trail down route 151 from where I live. I arrived at the trail at 8:50 this morning, headed downstream and then along Glenthorne Loop, and had 34 avian species in the first hour. I spent another hour on the trail including part of the upstream trail to the park benches and back, and added another 5 species. I thought that I had 40 species, but must have miscounted or missed one as I made my morning list when I got home. The temperature was in the low 70s and the air much drier. The birds must have enjoyed the nice weather as well, as they were out in full force.
The highlight of the hike was some good close-up views of three warbler species. The Common Yellowthroat continued to sing in the field at the end of the downstream trail and start of the Glenthorne Loop trail, and there were several more of them along the east side of Reids Creek, where I also saw a Yellow-breasted Chat and a first summer male American Redstart.
The Baltimore Oriole is still hanging around the picnic table halfway along the downstram trail, and there were Orchard Orioles at several locations. One of the Orchard Orioles was an immature male that is molting into its adult plumage.
I saw both Great Blue and Green Herons, and a female Belted Kingfisher did a nice fly-by for me.
Great Blue Heron
Female Belted Kingfisher
I saw four species of flycatchers on the trail: Eastern Phobe, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, and an unusual Empidonax that I can't identify - it has a long bill that looked to be all black, a fairly clean vent area, and a definite eye-ring. Pewee, Willow, Acadian, and Alder Flycatchers are all possibilities, but it doesn't really match any of them.
Eastern Kingbird and Eastern Bluebird
Today's RV Trail list: