Cerulean warblers, etc.
Jacqueline and I went for a short hike around the Humpback Rocks area of the Blue Ridge yesterday, and were rewarded with lots of good sightings. I don't think I've ever seen so many Cerulean warblers on a single day; their populations have been declining in recent decades, but they seem to be thriving around here. On the way we stopped at the telephone microwave tower and a few other spots on Rt. 610, but most of what we saw were found on the trail east of the parkway. Here are the highlights:
- Bald eagle -- Rt. 610, soaring toward the west
- Raven -- Rt. 610
- Cedar waxwings -- 25+, at visitors' center
- Redstarts -- 2 M, 2 F at visitors' center
- Indigo buntings -- M, F at visitors' center
- Black and white warblers -- 2 M
- Cerulean warblers -- 4 males seen singing, others heard (FOS)
- Scarlet tanagers (M)
- Ovenbirds (FOS)
- Wood thrush -- female in nest! (FOS)
- Red-eyed vireo
- E. wood pewees -- courting pair
- Hairy woodpecker
On the way home we stopped at the entrance to Lake Sherando, and sure enough the female Blue-gray gnatcatcher was brooding in the nest which we saw her building two weeks ago. I expect the eggs to hatch any day.
While heading to the landfill / recycling center on Rt. 648 this morning, I saw a Willow flycatcher and an Eatern kingbird, both firsts of the season for me. At the bridge over Mills Creek I saw a Pewee, Hairy woodpecker, and a Blue-gray gnatcatcher, and heard a White-eyd vireo.