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Backyard Woodcock in Columbia; Leonids

This afternoon, while tossing a ball around in the backyard so our little
dog could retrieve it, an American Woodcock flushed from a patch
of goldenrod and vines we encourage in our lawn.  I didn't see it 
until it flew.  It called as it flew just over the low fence into the
brush and trees along the creek in back.  Amazing addition to our yard list!

I probably wouldn't have recognized it had I not just seen one along the 
boardwalk at Congaree Swamp; I wouldn't have thought it possible
had I not been reading about other Woodcock sightings on lawns.  Perhaps
a yard like ours, which is still getting watered (thanks to a pump along
the creek), is particularly attractive to Woodcocks during the severe
drought we are now experiencing?  It must be easier to get worms here?

Wishing to avoid wild late night traffic on Bluff Road, I stayed closer to 
home and just headed up I-26 to the Little Mountain exit to watch for an 
hour starting at about 4:30am.  Despite bleary eyes and some distant glow 
of Columbia lights to the east--the most activity I saw was to the 
northeast--I saw about 20 meteors per minute.  Several times I saw two at 
the same time, and once three at the same time!  Twice I saw bright flashes 
off to the side, with tails that persisted long enough for me to turn and see.

This was a spectacular weekend with flashes of excitement provided by
the Leonids, Woodcocks, and even the Gamecocks...

Jerry Griggs    j@sc.edu
Columbia, SC