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Lake Murray vicinity, etc.
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- Subject: Lake Murray vicinity, etc.
- From: Joshua Stuart Rose <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 19:20:39 -0500 (EST)
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Left the house for a couple of hours yesterday. First stop was the park
at the north end of Lake Murray Dam. Saw only species that I'd already
seen from the house: Bufflehead, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe.
Next attempted stop was the park at the south end; having misread Robin
Carter's book, I was shocked and disappointed to find this park closed
for the winter, and worse yet never made it to the third park which he
called the best of the three, assuming that this park was the closed one!
Lastly, followed Robin's directions to Hope Ferry Landing. This area has
apparently changed hands, from SCE&G to Saluda Shoals Park. Sadly, the
"master plan" for the park calls for roads snaking up and down the entire
length and width of the land, and widely scattered buildings for
maintenance, rangers, etc. instead of concentrating development and
keeping wildlife habitat intact. Call it state park sprawl... Anyway, saw
a few large flocks of landbirds in the woods, mainly Yellow-rumps and
Ruby-crowns and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Lots of White-throats in the
brush along the river, one Song Sparrow with them, and a Swamp Sparrow in
each of the two powerline cuts.
More action back here at the house today. Woke up to a corvid ruckus.
Came down to hear that I had missed some excitement: a "huge hawk or
something was dive-bombing the coots"; the coots dove underwater to
escape, until a gang of American Crows mobbed the predator. Soon enough
the predator flew by again, an immature Bald Eagle! Saw the eagle again
later in the day. Meanwhile, with the danger passed, the coot raft grew
tremendously: my one attempted count was cut off at 800, and I estimated
over 1000 birds total! Also spotted a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, my
first for this body of water, along with a raft of 8 Common Loons, lots
of Bufflehead, and other usual suspects, including a sudden feeding
frenzy that brought over 100 Ring-Billed Gulls flying in. On land, a
flock of at least a half-dozen Pine Warblers foraged mostly on and near
the ground, at one point being chased around by an Eastern Phoebe.
And all without leaving the house!
On the topic of bird preferences for cars, I can attest that my
now-retired gas-guzzling Explorer has had an Ash-throated Flycatcher slip
inside through cracked windows on a hot day in New Mexico; I returned and
released it before any harm was done. And this summer in Texas, just
before trading the Explorer in, an Altamira Oriole attacked his
reflection in the side mirrors while his mate stood guard on the radio
antenna! No birds have investigated my Subaru closely yet, but my
housemate's 1982 Subaru had a Carolina Wren build a nest in the grille...
And back on the Audubon subject, I don't mind that they focus less on
birds than they used to. As anyone who reads my long-winded posts knows,
I like other critters just as much. And the ABA and Cornell's Lab of
Ornithology put out strictly bird-focused publications. I think I was
more disappointed that their publications tended to feature fluffy
articles about the beauty of wildlife and nature, rather than the more
urgent conservation-focused articles of National WIldlife, the Nature
Conservancy, etc. But I still don't mind the $5 for CBCing; it's a
nominal fee for me, and the data could be highly useful for certain
Joshua S. Rose
Department of Biology (Zoology, R.I.P.)