Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 21:45:38 EDT
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Virginia Wood <Pshrink@AOL.COM>
Subject: Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, 5/9/04
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I thought about setting out at 2:30 a.m. from my home in Marietta in order to
get night birds, being inspired by Tim Keyes's schedule for Pine Log this
morning, and be in place for the Dawn Chorus, but I really lack the fortitude. I
left at 5:30 a.m.instead, when the Dawn Chorus was already beginning at my
house! Besides allowing me six hours' sleep, this had the added benefit of my
being able to cross the Chattahoochee River at I-75 just as the sun was coming up
over the bluffs. Wow.
It was 8 when I got to Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, so I couldn't visit
the Visitor's Center for directions to the active Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
clusters unless I wanted to hang around for an hour. However, I did have my
handy-dandy map from last year, marked by the ranger at that time, so set out to
check various clusters and hope for the best. I turned in across Round Oak -
Juliette Road from the Little Rock Wildlife Drive and made the loop that runs
around behind Allison Lake to the back side of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker
(walking) Trail. Pretty much followed the directions in Birding Georgia, pp.
100-102). He explains it a heckuva lot better than I do.
Of the clusters I checked, that was the only one that was active today, and
there was only one nest with nestlings -- it is a natural cavity next to the
road near where the benches are, so close to the road you don't even need a
scope to watch the comings and goings. And it's so quiet up there that you can
hear the babies fussing even from the good distance down the road where I took
care to park.
It was a beautiful day, the storms having held off until I got home, and
there were birds everywhere (except pond 2A, where there were only two American
Crows and two Tree Swallows).
At the Pond 2A cluster, there was an amazing flurry of woodpecker activity of
various sorts -- Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers (who seemed to be
having either sex or some sort of disagreement -- difficult to tell), and
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Maybe that cluster will have nesting activity soon.
39 species seen:
GREAT BLUE HERON
BLACK VULTURE (52 of them at the Ocmulgee in Juliette)
WILD TURKEY (actually at Rum Creek)
MOURNING DOVE heard only
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (heard)
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER near the RCWO cluster closest to Pond 2A
DOWNY WOODPECKER ditto
RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER -- lifer!! Been trying for this one for three years.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER
BARN SWALLOW (at the Ocmulgee crossing in Juliette)
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (actually on the road to Juliette, not in the NWR)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (just outside the boundary on Barron Russell Rd)
AMERICAN ROBIN (also really on the paved road)
BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH, in family groups all over the NWR
BLUE JAY -- one, heard only
AMERICAN CROW -- two, amusingly, sharing a snack that looked suspiciously
like a fisherman's sandwich. They were perched in the top of a tree across the
dike from Pond 2A, chatting amiably as they ate, each with one foot on the meal.
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH-- lifer!!
SUMMER TANAGER pairs everywhere, including one female in a burned-out area
stealing meals from spider webs at the bases of trees. One tasty morsel she
copped was nearly as big as she was, and I watched her wrestle it to the ground in
order to render it edible...
CHIPPING SPARROW, some feeding young
one lone INDIGO BUNTING, male
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, male, carrying thistle down for nesting material
Bachman's or Field Sparrows, Hooded or Kentucky Warblers, Acadian
Flycatchers, Red-eyed or Blue-headed Vireos, Cuckoos of any sort, Cliff Swallows, Orchard
Orioles, or Anne Stewart's eyepiece.
Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia
DL 20 F2
In the field: 404-414-8086
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