At the western edge of the coastal plain, this 2800-acre natural area features some of the most diverse habitat that I have observed in one location. And the birds flock to it. We had a great time there today. Mike, Jen, Cindy, David, Muriell, and myself meandered through open fields, swampy forests, and piny woods. We saw or heard 10 species of warbler including Prothonotary, Hooded, Prairie, Palm, and Swainson’s Warblers. Both tanagers (Summer and Scarlet); Yellow-throated, Red-eyed, and White-eyed Vireos; Great-crested flycatchers; and a pair of Indigo Buntings treated us to spectacular views and rich vocalizations. By the time that Mike and I finished at 1pm, we had encountered 52 species in all.
I would have to say that my favorite encounter was hearing the Swainson’s Warbler. I have trained my ears for hours by listening to recordings of warblers that include the Swainson’s. Today it paid off. I heard the sound, knew it was special, and yelled the bird’s name. It was a good feeling to know that my brain still works (sometimes I wonder), but to hear that sound in the woods toward the creek on Longleaf Lane made my day. On the outside, I was plenty excited, but on the inside, I was actually jumping for joy. And sharing that joy with others made it all the more special.
Here are glimpses of a few of the birds we saw: