Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meat Camp Creek Env.Studies Area - 18 May 2011

Overcast skies, and heavy dark clouds continue in the Piedmonts this morning, so once again its cold and wet.  After dropping Robin off at the workshop I headed over to Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area to check out their 9.5 acre riparian birding spot.

 I found the location easily enough and walked the freshly-mowed trail to the wooden boardwalk ahead.  On either side of me I could hear calling Song Sparrows, Gray Catbirds, Yellow Warblers, and farther off Field SparrowsAmerican Robins were actively feeding young in the thickets nearby.  With no birds to photograph I took advantage of the nearby Yellow Flag Iris that were too slow for my camera.

I spotted a Willow Flycatcher perched on a snag calling out its "FITZ-bew!" song.  Dark skies prevented any decent photo opps, so I just enjoyed views through the binoculars.  Farther up the road I would hear several Least Flycatchers.  Overhead a Belted Kingfisher was heard, then seen flying off to a distant fishing hole. 

In an open pond I found a somewhat late Swamp Sparrow still skulking in the cattails.

I came to a small opening, and seeing another Willow Flycatcher, decided to break out the scope and try to digiscope it.  I was unable to get one of the legs open, so I had to extend the center post to full distance to get up over the weeds obscuring my view.  A long-distance shot, but not bad for this dark morning.  (My 40X wide eyepiece is on its way to Zeiss for repair, so I've had to break out the trusty 20-60X eyepiece for this trip).

At the nearby stream opening I found a foraging Spotted Sandpiper that flew off as soon as it spotted me...  A nearby Common Yellowthroat was calling its "Witchety-witchety-witch!" song, and scolded me for being too close.  It would not come out into the open, unfortunately.

Other birds heard in this tiny little wetland spot included Eastern Phoebe and Carolina Wren.  Swamp Buttercup were growing everywhere, so I stopped to capture an image or two before leaving.

Next stop, Valle Crucis Community Park!

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