Rockfish Valley Trail 8/29/13

All photos are Marshall Faintich

It was overcast when I left my house about 9:00 this morning, and fairly dark by the time I got to the trail 10 minutes later. My first stop was at the west side of the first wooden bridge, and there were a lot of small birds flying in and out of a large tree just to the north of the bridge. Most of the birds disappeared into the dense leaf cover, and were hard to locate in the dim light, but I saw and photographed seven species in that one tree: Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Tufted Titmouse, and Carolina Chickadee.

There were lots of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on the trail. I headed down the east side of Reids Creek, but it started to rain 30 minutes after my arrival, so I went back home after seeing only 12 species on the trail.

Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart

Red-eyed Vireo

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The weather cleared after lunch, so I went back to the trail to try again. Although I logged another six species for the day, the avian activity was very quiet. I did get a few photos of some flycatchers that show good species characteristics. The first is an Eastern Wood-Pewee. Note the long wing tips, distinct but not strong wing bars, weak eye-ring, dusky vest and vent area, and long bi-colored bill.

Eastern Wood-Pewee

The Least Flycatcher has a short bill, short wing tips, a bold eye-ring, and strong wing bars.

Least Flycatcher

The third flycatcher (Empidonax) could be a Willow, Acadiam, or Alder, and without hearing it sing, it could be any of these species, especially as birds are migrating through the area. Note the somewhat long bill, wing tips that are longer than Least but shorter than Pewee, bold wing bars, a dusky breast but clean belly and vent area, and complete eye-ring that is not as bold as that of a Least Flycatcher.

Empidonax Flycatcher

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