Monday, July 30, 2012

Swimming in the Swamp

We are swimming, figuratively not literally, in the swamp.  Humidity...check local listings.  Although we were casually strolling around the boardwalk at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, it felt more like the 3000 meter freestyle.  Based on the wildlife we did not see, it appears that most of the animals are not any more eager to be out in the soup.

During the majority of our walk, we did not see a single reptile and saw or heard few birds.  However, as we approached the 1000-year-old cypress near #160, we spied a Timber Rattlesnake that visitors have been reporting for over a week.  We have seen several images of the snake, but nobody was able to remember quite where they had seen and photographed the snake.  Based on the images we have seen, it seems that the snake has not changed position for over a week!  That has got to be tough on the neck.

Timber Rattlesnake - Mark Musselman
Timber Rattlesnake - Mark Musselman

As we were returning across the upland area of the boardwalk (#106-#114), we spotted a few birds foraging together.  There was a noisy cast of Carolina Chickadees along with a Tufted Titmouse or two and a female Northern Cardinal foraging in a loose flock.  Nothing worth holding up lunch, but we have learned to stop, wait, and be surprised by the birds that are quietly mingling with the commoners.  We were not disappointed (see the complete list below) as first a pair of Prothonotary Warblers appeared on the boardwalk hand rail and hopped toward us.  They were followed by two Yellow-throated Vireos foraging quietly near a pair of White-eyed Vireos and a Northern Parula.  A Black-and-white Warbler worked its way around a tree trunk with only the sound scratching on bark giving away its location.  A male Hooded Warbler was the only bird to take any notice of us, but quickly directed his attention to chasing off the Prothonotary Warblers which had increased to a group of three males and a female (all unbanded).  A Mississippi Kite perched high and out of view called out and was immediately silenced by a raucous pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.  Finally, a Worm-eating Warbler worked its way through the thick vegetation checking curled, dried leaves and tangled vines for a meal.  Then, like an afternoon thunderstorms blowing quickly thorough, we were once again alone.

Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Dorchester, US-SC
Jul 30, 2012 9:45 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.75 mile(s)
Comments:    Cloudy, humid, 70Fs
26 species

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)  1
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)  8
Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis)  2
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Barred Owl (Strix varia)  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  10
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  2
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  6
Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)  1
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)  4
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)  3
Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons)  2
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  9
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)  16
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  11
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  8
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  7
Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum)  1
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)  4
Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)  2
Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)  2
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  1

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