Monday, March 05, 2012

Prothonotary Warbler Check

The folks at Brosnan Forest reported seeing a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) on their property during the weekend.  Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea if we took a quick stroll around the boardwalk at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest to see if the cold front had pushed in any early birds.  The range of normal arrival dates for Prothonotary Warblers at Beidler Forest is from March 26-31, so an arrival this early would be special.

Spoiler Alert:  We did not see any Prothonotary Warblers.

However, we did see a variety of other birds.  We saw Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Black-and-White Warbler, a Blue-headed Vireo, a Hermit Thrush, American Goldfinches, Yellow-throated Warblers, a Pine Warbler, and a Red-tailed Hawk soaring and tacking in the high wind...all before we were 50 meters from the nature center!

Blue-headed Vireo - Mark Musselman

Black-and-white Warbler - Mark Musselman

Hermit Thrush - Mark Musselman

The complete bird list for the walk is below:

Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Dorchester, US-SC
Mar 5, 2012 11:20 AM - 1:50 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.75 mile(s)
Comments:    Clear, breezy, 60Fs
25 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  2
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)  2
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  1
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)  1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  3
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  3
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  9
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  2
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  1
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1
Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  6
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)  5
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  4
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  5
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  1
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1
Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  5
Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica)  8
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  3

We also caught a few reptiles out enjoying the warm sun.  Spotted Turtles were out in several places along the boardwalk.

Spotted Turtles - Mark Musselman
On our way to the lake, we saw this small Eastern Cottonmouth basking on a stump near #145.  It appears to be ready to shed and nervously departed while we were taking its photograph.

Eastern Cottonmouth - Mark Musselman
There was only on Yellow-bellied Slider out at the lake, but the resident American Alligator had its chin up on a log.

American Alligator - Mark Musselman
On our way back from the lake, a much larger Eastern Cottonmouth had taken up position on the stump.  In hindsight, the small snake's departure likely had more to do with the arrival of the larger snake, which we hadn't detected, than with our photography activity.

Eastern Cottonmouth - Mark Musselman
Finally, a Banded Water Snake stretched out along a branch above the creek channel at #15.

Banded Water Snake - Mark Musselman
We'll keep looking for Prothonotary Warblers and see if the mild winter will cause them to return earlier than normal.  Stay tuned!

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