Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

September 12, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Birding in the Blue Ridge

I joined Allen Larner and three other Augusta Bird Club members for a field trip along the Blue Ridge this morning, but we didn't encounter nearly as many neotropical migrants as we had hoped. Vireos were fairly plentiful, but we only saw two warbler species (a Tennessee and a Magnolia) and heard one more (Hooded). Given that this is peak migration season, three is a substandard number for warblers. The highlights of the day were a few Scarlet Tanagers and Blue-headed Vireos, as well as some Juncos. Here is the complete list:

Location:     Humpback Rocks
Observation date:     9/12/09
Number of species:     27

Wild Turkey     1 *
Turkey Vulture     8
Broad-winged Hawk     1 *
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird     2
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1 *
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker     1 *
Downy Woodpecker     5
Yellow-throated Vireo     1 *
Blue-headed Vireo     4
Red-eyed Vireo     8
Blue Jay     4
American Crow     5
Common Raven     3
Carolina Chickadee     10
Tufted Titmouse     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Carolina Wren     6 *
European Starling     5
Tennessee Warbler     1
Magnolia Warbler     1
Hooded Warbler     1 *
Scarlet Tanager     3
Eastern Towhee     1 *
Dark-eyed Junco     5
Northern Cardinal     8
American Goldfinch     4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

* Asterisks indicate birds that were heard but not seen.

After that we spent a half hour or so at the Rockfish Gap hawk watch, where Brenda Tekin and several other observers were scanning the horizon. We didn't see any large clusters of hawks, but I had the good fortune to spot a Bald Eagle off to the northwest, and most of the folks got to see it as it passed by heading east. A Red-tailed Hawk flew right in front of us, and briefly hovered motionless in the wind, as seen in the photos below. Even though it wasn't the best day for birding, the skies were clear, which was good for taking photographs:

Rockfish Gap

A wide-angle view of Rockfish Gap, where Interstate 64 crosses the Blue Ridge, known at this location as "Afton Mountain." Beyond the bridge on the left is the city of Waynesboro. Click on this image to see a larger version.

Rockfish Gap, Red-tailed Hawk

A Red-tailed Hawk passed right in front of us Rockfish Gap. Roll your mouse over the image to see a closeup.

Hawk watch crew

The hawk watch crew at the Afton Inn at Rockfish Gap, including Brenda Tekin, Allen Larner, as well as Ed and Nancy Lawler.

Shortly before noon, Allen and I left Rockfish Gap, and he was kind enouigh to take me on a "tour" of the Quillen farm. Highlights:

That is one of the few locations in Augusta County where Red-headed woodpeckers can be seen on a routine basis. They are much less common in the east than in the central states.

COMMENT by: Chris Knight, of Kansas City, KS on Sep 14, 2009 02:40 AM
I didn't know you were a bird watcher. I love birds a lot. My favorite bird is the Red-Tailed Hawk like the one you have pictured there. They're quite common around me and I am glad they're around as they take care of rodents and other pests. Mainly I love birds of prey, they're neat to watch. I only wish my Camera could take a nice picture of a Hawk like that. I did get some great shots of American Bald Eagles while I was in Grafton, IL. (Just North of St. Louis) You couldn't miss em there, the Eagles were everywhere along the Mississippi River. The best picture of eagles I took was there of a couple of bald eagles (1 adult and 1 first year juvenile) on a big stick in the Mississippi River. The Adult had its feet in the water while the younger eagle on the right was perched a little higher. A picture of those eagles can be seen at: Well have fun Bird Watching. They're neat to see and listen to.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 14 Sep 2009, 2: 40 AM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)