Monday, May 25, 2015

Ocmulgee Audubon field trip to the Piedmont Wildlife Refuge

Ten members of our Ocmulgee Audubon chapter went to the Piedmont NR for one of our monthly field trips this past Saturday.

This field was unique in some regards.  Instead of our normal birds observation and tally, we spent the time appreciating birds, butterflies, wildflowers, and dragonflies.
 The Refuge contains 36,000 acres (according to one of the brochures) and we only checked a small portion of it.  It's a usual site for yearly butterfly counts, and many birders spend time there regularly.
We've submitted two checklists from our field trip with an observation of 42 different bird species in one location, Pond 2-A, and 61 species for the other portion of the Piedmont.  Some species are on both checklists.
Highlights include Northern Bobwhites calling, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Bachman's Sparrows, Red-spotted Purple (butterfly), various skippers and swallowtails (more butterflies).  Noteworthy was also a female Orchard Oriole going back and forth to her nest, feeding her young and removing sacs from the nest.  Her trips were quick as the male was in the field giving her food to carry back to the nest.
Orchard Oriole's nest
We were privileged to have some great birders in the group, Paul Johnson, Jerry Amerson, Trey McCuen, and some people familiar with their butterflies and wildflowers, Jim Gilreath, Paul Hoinowski, Jerry again, and Joe and Jane Mangum.
Beside our birding stop at Pond 2A, we made other stops at creeks, fords, a pond formerly known as the "children's pond", Falling Creek with the large rocks, and Lake Allisson where we saw a Broad-winged Hawk carrying a snake.  We were rewarded at each stop with the sight of wildflowers, pretty butterflies, Summer Tanagers interacting with their fledglings, pretty birds with yellow as in the Prairie Warblers, American Goldfinches, Yellow-throated Warblers, birds with blue as in the Indigo Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks.
It turned out to be a great field trip in pleasant weather.  Looking forward to the next one!

Jim Gilreath has provided several of the pictures for this post.  The pictures without a name on them are from me, Andre Coquerel.
Comments are welcome.

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