Dark-Eyed Junco

© 2016 Adam Kenneth Campbell


Mary’s Rock
Shenandoah National Park
Luray, Virginia
United States


N 38°39’02.1″
W 78°19’02.3″

Prints Available From: $20.00


A Dark-Eyed Junco takes a quick break on top of Mary’s Rock in Shenendoah National Park, Virginia. The weather was just all over the place. I had to keep switching from driving and hiking in the snow, to taking my coat off and enjoying the warm sunshine, back to rain and fog, and back to sunshine again.

That’s how it can be up in those mountains sometimes. The sun had come out a few times already and it looked promising for a hike up to a place called Mary’s Rock. There is a pretty spectacular view from this point and it’s only a 2 mile hike each way from one of the parking lots on Skyline Drive.

It didn’t take long for the thick clouds to roll in, after climbing up the first mile of the trail. I almost turned back because I knew I wouldn’t be getting the shots I wanted from the viewpoint at the top — but I also do these adventures for fitness and I am not the quitting type either. I will find something worth taking a photo of up here and turn this crappy weather into an advantage.

Let’s call it the photographic equivalent of “polishing a turd.”

There were a lot of people at the top when I arrived, but since the view had just turned to crap, most of them were packing up their belongings for the trek back to their vehicles. It was only about 10 minutes before I had the whole overlook to myself.

These balsy little birds, the Dark-Eyed Juncos, started getting brave and getting closer to me to pick through all the crumbs the tourists left behind. I guess they thought I had some bread crumbs on me because they just showed up on the rocks next to me and started hopping around and chirping at me “Chirp Chirp mother fucker… Give me some BREAD!!!!”

Because it was overcast, I was able to get this nice tight shot of one of the birds perched on this rock before he hopped away using an 85mm focal length. This is my favorite image from the hike up to Mary‘s Rock. Even though I didn’t get to see the view that day, I will find my way back to catch it another time.


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