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Lake Waccamaw (lingering waterfowl) and the Green Swamp (plants)
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- Subject: Lake Waccamaw (lingering waterfowl) and the Green Swamp (plants)
- From: Joshua Stuart Rose <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 18:51:55 -0400 (EDT)
- Sender: email@example.com
My wife and I still hadn't done the thank-you notes from our wedding last
October, and the family was getting frantic. We decided the best way would
be to make it fun, check into a B&B for a weekend in a nice location.
Meanwhile, Duke biodiversity professor Alec Motten asked for our help with
a field trip for his course "The Green World".
Lake Waccamaw had a surprising variety of waterfowl for such a late date.
In addition to Mallards, many American Coots patrolled the waterfront near
our B&B. Then this morning (Sunday 4-21) a pair of Lesser (?) Scaup swam
by! In between, I spotted a flock of 13 Red-breasted Mergansers Saturday
morning from the dock at LWSP.
On the other hand, disappointingly few warblers. Along Bella Coolie Road
outside LWSP, heard what I think was a Swainson's, plus many Northern
Parula and a few Prothonotary and Yellow-throated. Also two alligators in
this area. No warblers at all within the state park, only a Yellow-
throated or two near the B&B.
Lake Shore Drive was experiencing a riDICulous emergence of mayflies this
weekend! Some locals said it was the worst they'd seen, others alleged
that on some previous occasions they had been unable to tell what color
houses had been painted. In any case, there were maybe 10-15 mayflies per
square foot on most vertical surfaces, it was impossible to open a door
without them swirling in, and if you walked on pavement you couldn't avoid
hearing little popping sounds underfoot. No idea of the species, but I
photographed a few, maybe I can find someone to ID them for me. Probably
not coincidence that I saw my first Eastern Kingbirds, Great Crested
Flycatchers, and Barn Swallows of the year this weekend, plus an abundance
of nesting Purple Martins. Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds
stalked through lawns gorging themselves, while Caroline Anoles and a very
plump skink on the B&B's screen porch wandered past hordes of mayflies
without a glance, like hung-over fratboys on Sunday morning studiously
avoiding notice of anything alcoholic...
Green Swamp, as usual, had few birds and astonishing other critters.
Prairie Warblers singing. Saw the Red-cockaded nest hole but none of the
inhabitants, and no Bachman's Sparrows either, and no waterbirds around
the borrow pit, which had a remarkably low water level. Did see 10 or 11
species of carnivorous plants (I've heard claims that 14 have been
recorded there), the Butterworts and pitchers in flower, plus some great
orchids. The best spot was the Shoestring Savannah, which The Nature
Conservancy burned in January, clearing the grass out and making the
carnivores and orchids very happy. Herps were disappointing though,
nothing but cricket frogs.
> However, my question for all you Ornithological types, as I am more of a
> Herpetologist, and no, we don't study Herpes, darn it, is, what do I do to
> keep him and a possible girl friend around? I think he might be here because
> I installed a garden pond, or a pond garden (sometimes I am not sure) in my
> front yard. How do I make the habitat more suitable for an Oriole?
Not sure if there's anything you can do. First, you need several big
deciduous trees for them to nest in; I've heard that they like American
Elm, not sure what their other nest trees of choice are. Baltimore Orioles
come to oranges and sugar-water feeders in the winter, and maybe dried
fruit too, but I have no idea if Orchards will, if it works in summer, or
if it will do anything at all to influence their nesting decisions;
probably not. Abundant caterpillars and other insect prey also help, which
means having "buggy" tree species aroud like sourwood, native wild
cherry/plum (Prunus sp.), etc. You might be able to replace or at least
augment buggy trees by filling a suet feeder with dried fruit (maybe fresh
too) and letting it get good and rotten; I've done this before, rotten
fruit attracted butterflies and many less pleasant insects, and on at
least one occasion a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher was feeding on these bugs...
Joshua S. Rose
Department of Biology (Zoology, R.I.P.)