Monday, May 03, 2010

Lake Conestee

On Saturday, we attended a SCLIFE ornithology field trip at the Lake Conestee Nature Park outside of Greenville, SC.

From the Lake Conestee Nature Park webpage:  Lake Conestee Nature Park consists of approximately 400 acres of beautiful natural habitat on the Reedy River just 6 miles south of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. The park contains both hardwood and evergreen forest, extensive wetlands, 3 miles of the Reedy River, and a rich diversity of wildlife habitat. Deer, raccoon, beaver, fox, river otter, and various small mammals inhabit the park, along with numerous species of reptiles and amphibians. Over 160 bird species have been reported by the Greenville County Bird Club. The park has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.

A detailed history of the site can be found here.  Lake Conestee was a Superfund site and monitoring of the environment continues.  "It has been determined that because the majority of the former lakebed has naturally filled in and the historical sediments have become capped with a bottomland forest, there are no significant human health risks associated with use of the woodland areas for passive recreation (i.e. hiking trails)."  However, fishing is not allowed as the fish are considered contaiminated.  The quality of the Reedy River still has plenty of room to improve.

Information regarding the birding at Lake Conestee Nature Park can be found here.  We had an excellent morning of birding with more than 50 species identified.  Below are some images from our outing.  Due to the threat of rain, we did not have the camera the entire time and missed the opportunity to take some fine Veery images.  The normally secretive bird put on quite show for the group.

Beavers have created extensive dams and a lodge in the lake.  We even saw a beaver (second image).

Blue-winged Teals
Eastern Bluebird
Wetland at lake's edge
Downy Woodpecker
Canada Goose
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Great Blue Heron
Mallard Ducks
Great Blue Heron nest
Eastern Phoebe with insect
American Redstart
Solitary Sandpiper
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat

Images by Mark Musselman

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