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Shocco Creek Game Land birding

	The NC Wildlife Resources Commission has over 1600 acres of land, about
1300 in a tract in n.e. Franklin County, NC, suitable for birding. I've
been there on several occasions, including Sunday and Tuesday, plus
several visits a year ago. It is located on NC 561, about 1/2 mile east
of Wood. The gate is open now, until early May, as this is now the
turkey hunting season. Unfortunately, it is also timber harvest season,
and quite a few trucks are hauling out loblolly pines that WRC is
thinning from the mature pine plantation. Sundays would be the best time
to visit, for peace and quiet, and not have to worry about hunters (if
there are any) or loggers. 
	It is about a 2 mile walk to Shocco Creek. If you do visit, take a
right at the T a mile in. The birding is pretty good all the way, though
you will tire of mature loblolly pine forests, though they have a
hardwood understory. To get to the creek, take the third left after the
T. It is the last left before the main road reaches the powerline. You
might not really care to reach the creek, as it is a long walk. There is
a beaver pond there, as well as a beautiful bottomland that beavers
haven't flooded (yet!). Birds yesterday included Prothonotary, N.
Parula, Am. Redstart, La. Waterthrush, Hooded, Ovenbird, Black-and-white
warblers, etc. Plenty of Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, and
Blue-headed apparently nests in the pines. I saw a Wild Turkey
yesterday, along with Great Blue Heron and Wood Duck in the ponded

This is just about the only public land in Franklin County. With some
state parks still closed because of the December ice storm (e.g, much or
all of nearby Medoc Mountain, portions of Umstead, etc.), it might be
worth a visit.

For insect lovers, the game land is now well known for its large and
diverse butterfly and dragonfly populations, especially in the powerline
clearing and near creeks and damp spots along the dirt roads though the
Harry LeGrand
NC Natural Heritage Program
DENR   Office of Conservation and Community Affairs
1615 MSC
Raleigh, NC 27699-1615
(919) 715-8687 (work)
FAX: 919-715-3085
e-mail: harry.legrand@ncmail.net