Today was my first birding venture to Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, NC, and I will definitely return to scour this park for more birds.
I began at 7am from the Ritter Park side of the preserve and drove the short distance to HBNP when the gates opened at 9am. I thought I might see more birds because of the cold front that moved in last night, but I was disappointed. However, the disappointment dissipated when I saw the Louisiana Waterthrush foraging on the forest floor, bobbing its back end as it went along. It was a brief sighting but I had good looks at the bird while it lasted. It was sighted at the crest of a slope near the creek on Chestnut Oak trail. What a stark contrast between its dark streaks and the white of its breast! One question though: Isn’t it rather late for this bird to be migrating? According to my Stokes, this bird is the earliest fall migrator of any warbler. I guess the bird didn’t read the book :-\
I also heard and saw a Pileated woodpecker as it peered in and out of a deep knot hole up high on an oak trunk. There may have been two birds there, but I couldn’t be sure. I saw and heard a hairy woodpecker and heard several downy woodpeckers.
I continue to hear and see lots of summer tanagers, and I was fortunate to see a female calling pikituk from a willow oak at the forest edge. What a magnificent bird!
I also encountered two other nature lovers who were sporting wildlife binoculars, Joe and Elizabeth. What really nice folks to run into. Hopefully, we will join forces soon in our effort to learn the birds of HBNP. It’s a special place like no other in the central Piedmont. If you get a chance to go, check out what they offer: http://www.hemlockbluffs.org/hem-hbnp.html.