I met Huck Hutchins up at Rockfish Gap to do some birding in the Shenandoah Valley and on Skyline Drive today. It was a beautiful day for birding, and all we needed were some birds to see! We started off at Hillandale Park in Harrisonburg. On the trip there, a small hawk flew across the highway, and my best guess is that it was a Sharp-shinned. Hillandale Park can be a great place to find migrating warblers, or it can be poor for finding any birds. Today, it was the latter. We heard about seven Blue Jays, heard a pair of calling Great Crested Flycatchers of which we saw one of them fly away, and saw a Northern Cardinal, and two hawks flew quickly overhead: Cooper's and Red-shouldered.
From there, we headed up to Skyline Drive, and made our first stop at Pocosin Cabin, another potentially very good spot for warblers. All we had there were Eastern Wood-Pewees and a Carolina Chickadee. We then decided to go farther north on Skyline Drive to Big Meadows. On the way, a small hawk flew by quickly, and our best guess was a Broad-winged.
Big Meadows was fairly quiet as well, but we did find three small clusters of birds, and ended up with four warbler species there: American Redstart, Blackburnian, Black-throated Green, and Black and White.
Black-throated Green Warbler
Juvenile Eastern Bluebird
Juvenile Chpping Sparrow
Male Downy Woodpecker still showing some red juvenile crown feathers
We then stopped again at Pocosin Cabin, and it was even quieter than the first stop there. We decided to try the sod farm just south of Elkton. We saw 30 to 40 Killdeers there, as well as a few smaller shorebirds. We were a good distance away from them, and a couple of them looked like Least Sandpipers. Another pair may have been Least Sandpipers, but their posture looked more plover-like.
Least Sandpiper and Killdeers
Unidentified shorebird and Killdeer
It was a fairly quiet, but fun, birding day, and we ended up with 37 avian species.