September 11, 2017
On Saturday morning (September 9), I led an Augusta Bird Club field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the parallel Route 610, with 11 people participating altogether. We identified a total of 32 species, plus 2 others that were uncertain: a probable Cerulean Warbler, and either a Bay-breasted or a Blackpoll Warbler. At one of the Rockfish Valley overlooks near Afton, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and a Eastern Wood-Pewee were seen, and someone saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Most of the eight warbler species were seen at the communications tower on Route 610, which was very busy. Magnolia, Tennessee, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Green Warblers were all prominent there. Linda Corwin spotted an unusual-looking bird at that location that turned out to be a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. There was also a yellow Scarlet Tanager: either a female or a juvenile male. In contrast, there wasn't much activity at either the Humpback Rocks visitor center or the nearby trail head, and likewise at the picnic grounds further south. Our final stop was at the Ravens Roost overlook, where we saw a possible young Red-tailed Hawk, a Blue-headed Vireo, a pair of Turkey Vultures, and a couple Dark-eyed Juncos. After that, we headed back north to join the big crowd gathered at the Rockfish Gap hawk watch open house. It was a productive, fun morning with great (although cool) weather.
View the checklist online at: ebird.org
On Friday I went for a walk on Bell's Lane for the first time since July. I was curious about whether any migrating warblers, etc. were present, but the only really notable birds were one of those hard-to-identify "Empid" flycatchers and a young male hummingbird. I finally got a good photo of a Gray Catbird exposing the orange feathers under his tail.
NOTE: Both of the photo montages seen above, along with individual bird photos, can be see on the Wild Birds yearly page. Hopefully I will finish writing about birds in South Dakota by tomorrow...