Friday, April 20, 2012

Birding at Sprewell Bluff

Our group of the Ocmulgee Audubon Society went to Sprewell Bluff for our last weekend field trip.  Seven people including the trip leader, Nathan Klaus, joined for the birding outing.
A few things make this park unique.  The Flint River goes through it, a hiker can walk up and down bluffs and hills, a rich variety of plants, butterflies, and bird species abound.  We tried to soak them all in for about four hours over a three-mile trail. 
Great Crested Flycatcher
Nathan Klaus who led our group is...hard to say.  He just seems to know everything that has to do with nature i.e. botany (with a great knowledge of the unique endemic plants, flowers, and weeds of the park), butterflies (would that be lepidoptera if it includes other insects?), reptiles, and of course birds. 
Studying plants
 We enjoyed some great birding moments.  A beautiful male Summer Tanager everybody got to see, Yellow-throated Warblers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Yellow-throated Vireos, Indigo Buntings, a Worm-eating Warbler, Prairie Warblers that the whole group appreciated, and many more. 
Eastern Kingbird 
As you can see in the above picture, we did have an equal time checking out the benefits of controlled burn in the park.  Nathan is an advocate of prescribed fire and we saw the difference between the areas that have been "rejuvenated" by fire and the overgrown areas.  This birding trip was definitely half birding, half nature appreciation.  (Some of us even got to hold a green snake).
Great Egret
We ended the trip with a walk by the Flint River where we saw even more birds, Eastern Kingbirds, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Bluebirds, a Great Egret, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Swallows and more.  The view from a platform above the river was just great, a perfect spot for us to relax before the walk back.
The Flint River

The highlight for me and two other people in the vehicle was a male Bald Eagle that flew low across the road in front of us as we were leaving the park.  A nice way to say "come back soon".

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