Birder's Eye View

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Camping trip, last day

Our final morning in the woods dawns cool and damp -- no rain during the night, thank goodness, but everything is covered in dew and the air hangs heavy with clamminess.

As we warm up by the fire during breakfast, the forest is alive with birds. A huge pileated woodpecker sets up shop right above our tent, hammering away at an oak tree. Downy woodpeckers "peep" to one another all around, and my mother, while taking a walk down by the river, photographs a yellow-bellied sapsucker! I'm not going to lie -- I'm jealous!

In addition to the woodpeckers, there are also the usual Eastern phoebes and towhees that have claimed our campsite as their territory. The phoebe tries to fight its reflection in our car window for a little while, before losing interesting and flying away. The towhee on the other hand is more interested in eating the old corn grounds in the bushes.

In late morning, once our fire has died out we take a long hike on one of the upland trails that follows the path of the river. Compared to the trekking we were doing over the uneven terrain the last two days down by the river, this flat trail is a piece of cake to walk.

I'm amazed by the habitat diversity in the area. We go from pine flatwoods, to centuries-old oak groves, to cypress swamps, to fields of grass.

In the more open areas, I find mixed feeding flocks of pine and palm warblers flitting across the path. Also along the river I find a pair of common ground doves, a species I rarely see.

Although my photo didn't capture it well, a brilliantly colored blue-gray gnatcatcher spent some time in an oak tree along our way as well.

Not far past the gnatcatcher, two black-and-white warblers scale the oaks with skillful agility. I love these guys -- they're so much fun to watch, and so well disguised!

Reindeer moss
We make it back to camp in early afternoon, and, perhaps with some reluctance, pack everything up and cram it into the trunk of the car. It was quite honestly the best camping trip I have ever been on, even despite the first cold night. below is my bird count for the three days:

  1. eastern towhee
  2. northern cardinal
  3. black-and-white warbler
  4. carolina wren
  5. chipping sparrow
  6. common ground dove
  7. american crow
  8. black vulture
  9. turkey vulture
  10. bald eagle
  11. eastern phoebe
  12. pileated woodpecker
  13. downy woodpecker
  14. palm warbler
  15. pine warbler
  16. mourning dove
  17. red-shouldered hawk
  18. carolina chickadee
  19. tufted titmouse
  20. great blue heron
  21. anhinga
  22. blue-gray gnatcatcher
  23. ovenbird
Until next time,

Happy birding!

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  • Love the photos, as usual =)

    I have to ask though - did your mom get a photo of a Red-bellied Woodpecker or a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker?

    By Blogger heidi, At December 29, 2010 at 8:49 PM  

  • Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

    It was a sapsucker for sure. It was too brownish to be a Red-bellied, and it had those really prominent vertical white stripes on the wings. Plus, when I saw a Yellow-bellied sapsucker on the CBC the other day, it looked exactly the same. :)

    By Blogger Andrea, At December 30, 2010 at 9:08 AM  

  • Ah, nice, they're great birds. The post says "yellow bellied woodpecker" though, so perhaps the brain and the fingers were going in different directions =)

    By Blogger heidi, At December 30, 2010 at 1:23 PM  

  • Oh jeepers. You're right! Thanks for the correction. Definitely had "woodpeckers" on my mind. :)

    By Blogger Andrea, At December 30, 2010 at 5:17 PM  

  • No worries - when I first read it, I started to think maybe a young red-bellied would still have a yellow wash on the belly and then I realized that sometimes my notes end up scrambled, too =)

    By Blogger heidi, At December 30, 2010 at 5:33 PM  

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