Yesterday Jeff and I drove about an hour to Pee Dee National Wildlife Refugee.
National Park Overview:
Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge Situated along the Pee Dee River, Pee Dee NWR contains 8,443 acres in Anson and Richmond Counties, NC. The refuge was established to provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl.
Cooperative farming in field impoundments, water level management, and the bottomland hardwood forest along Brown Creek provide excellent habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Wintering waterfowl numbers fluctuate greatly, but can exceed 10,000 birds yearly. The refuge also supports a small population of wintering Southern James Bay Canada geese. Pee Dee Refuge is located a few hundred yards from the once famous “Lockhart Gaddy Wild Goose Refuge”. In the 1950’s, Gaddy’s pond wintered more than 10,000 Canada geese a year. Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge was established in October 1963 to provide additional habitat for these geese and other waterfowl. Local numbers of wintering migratory geese have dwindled in recent years, but the refuge remains an important wintering area for the remaining geese and thousands of ducks. via park website
We usually visit this refugee in the fall, when the water impoundments are full, and the weather is chilly.
Yesterday was quite different. It was very hot and steamy, and the water impoundments were just about dry.
There was still plenty of bird activity.
Some of the first birds to greet us were Eastern bluebirds….
Indigo buntings and Blue Grosbeaks were singing from the fields on either side of the road to the pond.
Caterpillars had enclosed this small tree and leaves..
I looked on the top of the tree for caterpillars and saw none..just droppings, inside the cocoon of eaten leaves.
The leaves were stripped of their green with only the veins left.
As i investigated further I found the caterpillars in the bottom of the tree still eating what green was left.
We continued our walk to the woods..
Upon approaching the first pond we heard..a strange crowing coming from the area..
We couldn’t figure out what it was, Wild turkey?
I searched the area from where the nonstop crowing was coming from.
This is the critter that was shouting his presence.
What was he doing in a Nature preserve…
Did frustrated owners drop him off?
He was crowing constantly…and extremely loud.
He was quite handsome.
It was still early morning, but becoming hot very quickly…we went into the woods to see what birds we could find.
The forest was alive with birds calling..
Vireos…Chickadees and warblers.
I found this non bird goodie on the ground…
Chicken of the Woods
I usually find this growing on wood in the fall. I didn’t excavate the area to find out what it was growing on.
I just enjoyed its beauty …
I would normally pick this and eat it, depending upon what type of dead tree it is growing on.
But because this was a NWR I wouldn’t pick it. We continued our walk identifying the bird calls we were hearing and then finding the birds.
This little frog was crossing the pathway.
He stood frozen as I took photos…We heard Ovenbirds throughout the woods..and watched one family of Ovenbirds, parents feeding the young.
I was able to snatch this not so good photo of an Ovenbird.Acadian Flycatcher…ID by call Female Summer Tanager Lots of Butterflies around
I believe this to be a Mourning CloakBecause they have drained the water containment areas there were very few water birds…We did see some Canada Geese and Wood ducks.
This mother stands watch over her young. She looks like a stern mother.. I noticed this Lily deep in the woods…I didn’t feel like walking into the woods to get a better shot.
I had already found a few ticks on me..and didn’t want any more.I tried keying it out this morning..but so far don’t know what kind. We saw several Yellow-billed Cuckoo..
Best photo I could get…too far away for my lens..
Below you can see the containment pond…not much water this time of year..
The water is drained for the summer months and filled again for winter waterfowl migrants. Another small pond filled with duckweed…I am still trying to ID this butterfly..
So far it looks similar to Painted Lady..anyone know? We had a great morning-afternoon birding..even though it was sooooo Hot.
It was nice to get home and take a dip in Sickstas Pool!
Birds of the day in order of being seen.
Eastern Wood Pee wee
Brown headed cowbird
Great crested flycatcher