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Lynches Wood Park & CEWAs in the Piedmont

Sharon Brown, Molly Bonnell, Kathleen O'Grady and I made our way to Lynches
Wood Park in Newberry yesterday morning.  While I had expected to
concentrate on songbirds in the forest, we ended up with some of our best
"finds" in grassy edges and power line right of ways.  When you start the
day with a Brown Creeper, you know you've found it.  Highlights are below.

Brown Creeper - 2 - I have no arrival dates for Brown Creepers in the
Piedmont and have only seen them once in the Piedmont up the big hill from
the house here in February.  

Blue-headed Vireo - at least three, two countersinging fragments of their
breeding song.  

Hermit Thrush - several, calling in their "Veery-like note" until lunchtime.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 1 - a female, snagging dogwood berries with the
robins, bluebirds, and a Hermit Thrush or two

Cedar Waxwings - several - in answer to Josh's question, yes, there are
CEWAs in the Piedmont, at least in Newberry county

Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets - many

Then the fun started.

White-throated Sparrows - many - tan-striped and white-striped forms

Swamp Sparrow - 1

Song Sparrow - many - at least one singing

Dark-eyed Junco - many

Savannah Sparrow - at least one, singing

Chipping Sparrows - several

We had possible Ammodramus sparrows in two different places. Two different
observers from two different angles identified partial glimpses of an
extremely shy sparrow as a Henslow's Sparrow.  I saw the head of what I
would call a Henslow's - a dark thin malar stripe, an eye-stripe, a split
crown stripe on that oddball green ground color; flat headed and a pale
"oversized" bill.  In another patch of excellent sparrow habitat, the other
observer glimpsed the "scaly" vivid patterning of the back of a Henslow's.
There were only about a million "sparrow tunnels" in both places.  Although
it occurs in small isolated patches, there is excellent sparrow habitat in
and around Lynches Wood Park.

The day ended with a leisurely look at a large flock of Bobolinks flying
high overhead.

And on another thread, there has been no shortage of birds in Fairfield
county.  On October 29th, I recorded what must have surely been the last
Bicknell's Thrush on the North American continent, calling from the
creekbottom "thrush trap" at dusk, and just as surely headed east for the
coast to follow his comrades.  On October 31st, I saw the first "Yellow"
Palm Warblers I've ever seen in the fall.  Just last week, I had to make an
emergency run for thistle seed.  The large flocks of goldfinches were
gobbling up the thistle seed.  This morning, in answer to the question of
which sparrow (one of them, at least) I heard overhead Friday night, I had
singing Song Sparrows in the yard.  Last week, I stood the the top of the
hill in the driveway at sunset and listened to a Hermit Thrush do an almost
full-voice rendition of their breeding song.  Every morning, I listen to the
Hermit Thrushes talk among themselves in their migratory notes at dawn and
occasionally sing a fragment of song. 

Winter is surely quieter for birds.  It gives us time to savor the "phew" of
the Hermit Thrush, to hear the "pee-vah-dee" of the White-throated Sparrows,
to await the Fox Sparrows and Purple Finches that Christmas will bring, to
look forward to the Woodcocks that enliven January.
Donna Bailey
Winnsboro, SC
e-mail: dsbailey@conterra.com
URL: http://www.conterra.com/dsbailey
     "Where are the Birds?  Migration across South Carolina"
URL: http://www.conterra.com/dsbailey/audubon	
    "Columbia Audubon Society"