The day dawned cool, clear, and calm, perfect conditions for mid-September birding. Even though the trails were wet (and sometimes submerged) our group of seven enjoyed the common species at this time of year: the high-pitched squeaking of the Wood Duck, the “churring” note of the Red-bellied Woodpecker, the seemingly constant mewing and squawking of the Gray Catbird, and the overhead “checking” of the Red-winged Blackbird. These and other familiar species, such as Canada Goose, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Carolina Wren, were our feathered companions as we explored the refuge. But the definite stars of the day were the wood warblers. Along one short stretch we encountered a warbler wave that included five different species: Tennessee, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, American Redstart, and most abundantly, Northern Parula. This last warbler seemed to be everywhere we looked -- we sometimes had multiple individuals in sight simultaneously. Chestnut-sided Warbler and Common Yellowthroat were also observed elsewhere in the refuge.
Our last stop was the northern-most pond off Pondside Road, and we were rewarded with views of a small group of Blue-winged Teal mixed in with the more common waterfowl, bringing out total for the day to 35. A nice ending to a beautiful day for birding!
A complete list of species observed is below.