Sunday, March 29, 2015

Congaree Scouting Trip

Today's trip was to Congaree National Park, a huge park with excellent boardwalks in a virgin bottomland forest. This park boasts some of the largest trees of some species, including Loblolly Pine and Sweetgum. It's an excellent place for birds and it's always a fun trip.

First off.


Last night there was a cold spell that caused some frost to form up here by Charlotte, so that halted all migrants. I guess it was like a mini-fallout because there were at least 50+ parulas swarming and buzzing their heads off throughout the park.

We found a small flock of them in a scrubby, but leafy (budding) area, which was full of sun. We had many close encounters with this flock of around 10, with quite a few coming within feet of us.

There were also a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, but in much lower numbers. I think they're more spread out, as they're a bit hardier than the parulas.

We also heard (and I saw only one) Yellow-throated Warblers, which was also a year bird. Their downward song was quickly learned and we heard many.

This was taken last year, however.
Along with the early migrants were a few very skulky White-eyed Vireos, which sang their chick-brrrrrrr-ow-chick song loudly. It's one of those songs I love to hear, and I'm glad they're back already!

Bad picture, I know. Skulkers...
However, we did miss a few things. We did not see any Pileateds but heard a few, which is a bit odd for the park, and no Barred Owl, which is understandable. We attempted to look for Black-and-Whites, Louisiana Waterthrush, and maybe even Prothonotary Warbler, but we missed them all. I think the frost may have halted any more migration or killed them.

But worry not, northern birders! Despite your many feet of snow, the migrants are coming, as proven by the woodcocks, phoebes, and other arriving hardy birds!

Coming to a forest near you!

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