Monthly Archives: May 2015

Brookgreen Gardens offers wonderful experience for both art and nature enthusiasts

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Photographs by Bryan Stevens Eastern Bluebirds decorate one of the pieces of American sculpture on display at Brookgreen Gardens.

I enjoyed a recent trip to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, which gave me an opportunity to see some birds rarely encountered here at home.
By the end of my seven-day stay, I’d compiled a list of 93 species, most of them seen at Huntington Beach State Park and Brookgreen Gardens. If you ever get an opportunity to visit either of these attractions, I’d encourage you to take it. Even if you’re not a birding enthusiast, the park and gardens are fascinating destinations with a range of activities available to visitors.
In particular, I found my visits to Brookgreen Gardens particularly fascinating. Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, located just south of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

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A pontoon boat tour offers additional views of Brookgreen Gardens.

The thousands of acres in Brookgreen’s Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve offer a rewarding opportunity to admire native plants and animals of the South Carolina Lowcountry as well as the great rice plantations of the 1800s.

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Great Egret hunts by the edge of a pond at Brookgreen Gardens.

Take a 45-minute tour on a 48-foot pontoon boat along historic rice fields now home to alligators, waterfowl and ospreys as an interpreter elaborates on the distinctive landscape of the rice plantations and educates on the role of enslaved Africans in the cultivation of the rice crop. On my most recent visit, I skipped the boat tour. However, during my March visit, I took the boat tour, which I enjoyed, especially for the good looks at such birds as Anhinga, Northern Harrier and Great Egret.

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Some of the sculptures will be of definite interest to birders.

The website for Brookgreen Gardens specifies the attraction’s mission:
• To collect, conserve and exhibit figurative sculpture by American artists;
• To cultivate a display garden and exhibit sculpture therein;
• To collect, conserve and exhibit the plants, animals and cultural materials of the South Carolina Lowcountry;
• To educate a diverse audience about sculpture, horticulture and the ecology and history of the Lowcountry;
• To provide additional artists and cultural opportunities for members, guests and the community;
• To sustain the institution and all of its assets with visionary leadership, sound management and prudent fiscal policies.

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A captive Black-crowned Night-heron in the aviary within the Low Country Zoo at Brookgreen Gardens. Notice how the heron has perched on a helpful sign.

I also learned from the website that Brookgreen Gardens is one of the few institutions in the United States to earn accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as well as being designated a National Historic Landmark and being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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An eagle is represented in this dynamic sculpture.

Of course, Brookgreen Gardens is probably more famous for its sculpture displays and art galleries. A combined sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, the 9,100-acre property includes several themed gardens with American figurative sculptures placed in them, as well as the Lowcountry Zoo, and nature trails through several ecosystems in nature reserves on the property.

 

Brookgreen Gardens was founded by Archer Milton Huntington and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, to feature sculptures by Anna and her sister Harriet Hyatt along with other American sculptors. Brookgreen Gardens was opened in 1932, and is built on four former rice plantations, taking its name from the former Brookgreen Plantation.

 

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Great Horned Owl in residence within the LowCountry Zoo.

One of the attractive aspects of visiting Brookgreen Gardens is the fact that garden admission tickets are good for seven consecutive days. A one-time admission of $15 meant that I could return each day for seven days after my ticket purchase.

 

Parking is free and the facility also operates a free shuttle service. There are a few additional costs, including a pontoon boat tour and admission to the butterfly house.

 

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Flock of Wild Turkeys wanders the grounds at Brookgreen Gardens.

I visited on each of the seven days, which gave me plenty of time to explore almost every nook and cranny along the various nature trails. Of course, don’t overlook the sculpture gardens. I found some of my best birds, including Wild Turkey and Northern Parula, in the themed gardens with their attractive landscaped and admirable artworks.

 

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A Brown-headed Nuthatch explores a cavity in this pine tree branch.

In total, about 1,445 works of American figurative sculpture are on display at Brookgreen Gardens. The bird life is also quite diverse. During my March and May trips this year, I saw such birds as Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Pileated Woodpecker, Osprey, Hermit Thrush, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Barred Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and much more.

 

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A Great Egret looks resplendent within the aviary in the LowCountry Zoo.

There’s also the fascinating aviary that is part of the LowCountry Zoo. The aviary features a collection of wading birds. The Black-crowned Night-Herons are the most numerous, but the facility also houses captive Great Blue Heron, White Ibises, Cattle Egrets and Snowy Egrets.

 

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A Red Fox naps inside its habitat in the LowCountry Zoo.

Elsewhere in the zoo, some non-releasable raptors, including Great Horned Owl, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk and Turkey Vulture, are on display. The zoo also features fun displays of Gray and Red Foxes, River Otters, American Alligators, White-tailed Deer and a few other examples of native fauna.

 

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Southern Fox Squirrels are common on the grounds of Brookgreen Gardens.

If you’re able to enjoy an extended stay in the Low Country, this is a must-see attraction. I visited for a few hours every day of my trip and saw different things every day. In addition to birds, I saw plenty of beautiful wildflowers, as well as butterflies, dragonflies and lizards. Brookgreen Gardens is also home to an abundance of Southern Fox Squirrels, which are truly charismatic members of the rodent family.
For more information, call (843) 235-6000 or visit http://www.brookgreen.org.

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Fiddler Crab in the mud along one of the creeks in Brookgreen Gardens.

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Hermit Thrush encountered along one of the nature trails.

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A Coastal Carolina Spiderlily in bloom in one of the wetlands within Brookgreen Gardens.

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The most common warbler in the spring at Brookgreen Gardens would probably be the Northern Parula, such as the male pictured here.

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Great Horned Owl on display in the zoo.

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Brown Thrashers are a common bird at Brookgreen Gardens.

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Northern Cardinals are quite at home within the well-planted gardens.

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Many wildflowers, such as this wild clematis, are on view along with the blooms in the carefully tended gardens.

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If nothing else does the trick, the charismatic Southern Fox Squirrel will keep you wanting to make return visits to Brookgreen Gardens.

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A Broad-headed Skink was one of many reptiles active in the gardens and along the nature trails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Late-season Spring Bird Count finds 150 species

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                                      Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, nesting birds during the summer season, showed up in good numbers for the Spring Bird Count.

The 72nd consecutive Elizabethton Spring Bird Count was conducted on Saturday, May 9, by members and friends of the Lee and Lois Herndon Chapter of Tennessee Ornithological Society.

This year’s count was held about two weeks later than usual, thus altering the occurrence or numbers of some species. Rick Knight, the long-time compiler for the count, noted that there were fewer wintering ducks and sparrows, but more of the late-arriving migrants, such as cuckoos, Empidonax flycatchers, orioles and certain warblers.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                                 A male Scarlet Tanager engaged in a mating display in trees growing on the slopes of Holston Mountain.

A total of 43 observers in 10 parties covered Carter County and parts of adjacent Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. A total of 150 species was tallied, slightly above the average of 147 over the last 30 years. The all-time high count was 161 species in 2005. A total of 150 species or more has been reached 10 of last 12 years.

I began the morning by leading a bird walk at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, adding the birds seen during the walk to the count total for my group. During the afternoon, my group visited Holston Mountain. I enjoyed seeing several Scarlet Tanagers, American Redstarts, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Chestnut-sided Warblers while on the mountain.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                      A male Baltimore Oriole sings from the top of a tree.

Nevertheless, there were some notable misses, including Osprey, which was absent for only the second time since 1964, as well as the third miss for Ruby-crowned Kinglet since 1981. Savannah Sparrow was missed for the first time since 1970 while Swamp Sparrow was missed for the fourth time since 1965.
The numbers found of some species set new records. For instance, the 87 Great Blue Herons found on the count was the most ever tallied for a spring count, as were the 77 Black Vultures. Other birds setting new high-count numbers included Chuck-will’s-widow (16), Acadian Flycatcher (48), Great Crested Flycatcher (23), Warbling Vireo (18), Orchard Oriole (42) and Baltimore Oriole (28).
Semipalmated Plover made it onto this year’s count for the first time since 1994. A Black Tern represented only the third occurrence of this species on this annual account.
Some new trends are also becoming evident thanks to data from the annual counts. The local population of Cliff Swallows has exploded in recent years with 1,016 individuals tallied this year. Eurasian Collared-Dove has been found for nine consecutive years. Bald Eagles are nesting more frequently in the area. A total of 12 eagles, including nestlings, were found during the count.

 

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                                            Three dozen House Finches, such as this male, were found during the Spring Bird Count.

The total list of species and numbers found follows:
Canada Goose, 322; Wood Duck, 51; American Wigeon, 3; Mallard, 128; Blue-winged Teal, 4; Bufflehead, 3; Ruffed Grouse, 3; Wild Turkey, 27; Common Loon, 2; Double-crested Cormorant, 97; Great Blue Heron, 87; Green Heron, 17; and Yellow-crowned Night-heron, 6.
American Kestrel, 7; Black Vulture, 77; Turkey Vulture, 109; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1; Cooper’s Hawk, 1; Bald Eagle, 12; Broad-winged Hawk, 17; and Red-tailed Hawk, 18.

Virginia Rail, 1; Sora, 2; American Coot, 1; Semipalmated Plover, 2; Killdeer, 41; Spotted Sandpiper, 55; Solitary Sandpiper, 17; and Least Sandpiper, 5.
Ring-billed Gull, 3; Black Tern, 1; Rock Pigeon, 88; Eurasian Collared-Dove, 3; Mourning Dove, 221; Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 12; and Black-billed Cuckoo, 1.
Barn Owl, 1; Eastern Screech-Owl, 9; Great Horned Owl, 2; Barred Owl, 4; Northern Saw-whet Owl, 1; Common Nighthawk, 2; Chuck-will’s-widow, 16; and Eastern Whip-poor-will, 32.

 

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Photo by Bryan Stevens              A male Eastern Bluebird perches on a fence post.

Chimney Swift, 179; Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 22; Belted Kingfisher, 10; Red-headed Woodpecker, 2; Red-bellied Woodpecker, 69; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 5; Downy Woodpecker, 22; Hairy Woodpecker, 15; Northern Flicker, 18; and Pileated Woodpecker, 29.
Eastern Wood-Pewee, 36; Acadian Flycatcher, 48; Willow Flycatcher, 5; Least Flycatcher, 6; Eastern Phoebe, 54; Great Crested Flycatcher, 23; and Eastern Kingbird, 72.
Loggerhead Shrike, 2; White-eyed Vireo, 10; Yellow-throated Vireo, 12; Blue-headed Vireo, 45; Warbling Vireo, 18; and Red-eyed Vireo, 168.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                      A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak sings from the branches of a tall tree.

Blue Jay, 134; American Crow, 307; Common Raven, 12; Northern Rough-winged Swallow, 84; Purple Martin, 49; Tree Swallow, 174; Barn Swallow, 141; and Cliff Swallow, 1,016.
Carolina Chickadee, 81; Tufted Titmouse, 103; Red-breasted Nuthatch, 5; White-breasted Nuthatch, 21; Brown Creeper, 7; House Wren, 42; Winter Wren, 2; and Carolina Wren, 92.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 69; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 9; Eastern Bluebird, 112; Veery, 22; Gray-cheeked Thrush, 1; Swainson’s Thrush, 2; Hermit Thrush, 2; Wood Thrush, 102; American Robin, 688; Gray Catbird, 65; Northern Mockingbird, 100; and Brown Thrasher, 49.
European Starling, 774; American Pipit, 1; and Cedar Waxwing, 302.
Ovenbird, 135; Worm-eating Warbler, 31; Louisiana Waterthrush, 16; Northern Waterthrush, 2; Golden-winged Warbler, 3; Black-and-white Warbler, 63; Swainson’s Warbler, 6; Kentucky Warbler, 2; Common Yellowthroat, 31; Hooded Warbler, 100; American Redstart, 13; Cape May Warbler, 3; Northern Parula, 29; Magnolia Warbler, 4; Blackburnian Warbler, 5; Yellow Warbler, 14; Chestnut-sided Warbler, 41; Blackpoll Warbler, 2; Black-throated Blue Warbler, 59; Palm Warbler, 1; Pine Warbler, 8; Yellow-rumped Warbler, 3; Yellow-throated Warbler, 31; Prairie Warbler, 5; Black-throated Green Warbler, 54; Canada Warbler, 48; and Yellow-breasted Chat, 7.

 

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                      Year-round resident birds, such as this nesting Red-bellied Woodpecker, were part of the Spring Bird Count.

Eastern Towhee, 169; Chipping Sparrow, 96; Field Sparrow, 50; Grasshopper Sparrow, 3; Song Sparrow, 220; White-throated Sparrow, 1; White-crowned Sparrow, 2; and Dark-eyed Junco, 51.
Summer Tanager, 1; Scarlet Tanager, 71; Northern Cardinal, 203; Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 15; Blue Grosbeak, 7; Indigo Bunting, 174; Dickcissel, 1; Red-winged Blackbird, 269; Eastern Meadowlark, 120; Common Grackle, 233; Brown-headed Cowbird, 81; Orchard Oriole, 42; and Baltimore Oriole, 28.
House Finch, 36; Pine Siskin, 14; American Goldfinch, 155; and House Sparrow, 61.

May brings Grand Strand birding adventure

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Photos by Bryan  Stevens                                       Among cypress knees in a flooded forest on Huntington Beach State Park, this Prothonotary Warbler made his presence known with his loud, ringing song.

I’ve been vacationing on Pawleys Island, S.C., so this week’s post will be a pictorial tour of some fun birding away from the mountains of East Tennessee.

As much as I like my mountain birds back home, it’s always great to get back to South Carolina. This trip has even managed to add a few new species to my South Carolina State List, including Prothonotary Warbler and Blue Grosbeak.

My favorite birding spots during my stay have included daily visits to Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park.

The 2,500 acre-Huntington Beach State Park rewards visitors with a diverse selection of birds, including shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds, raptors and almost every other feathered friend you care to name.

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A sculpture of geese titled “Flying Wild Geese” by Marshall M. Fredericks at Brookgreen Gardens. The bronze sculpture was cast in 1967.

The park is located roughly 15 miles from Myrtle Beach, but it offers a much slower pace than the commercially driven tourism of the famous beach.  More than 310 species of birds have been reported from Huntington Beach State Park since 1966. Helping increase bird diversity is varied habitat, including 1,060 acres of salt marsh, 750 acres of woodlands, 90 acres of freshwater/brackish marshes, 400 acres of maritime shrub thicket and 200 acres of sandy beach and dunes.

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An American Anhinga preens its feathers after taking a swim.

In addition, I have been delighted by the numbers of birds I have found within Brookgreen Gardens, which is a 9,100-acre sculpture garden and wildlife preserve. The attraction offers several themed gardens as a lovely backdrop for American figurative sculptures. There’s also a Lowcountry Zoo, as well as nature trails through a variety of habitats, including old rice plantation fields. Brookgreen Gardens was founded by Archer Milton Huntington, stepson of railroad magnate Collis Potter Huntington, and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington. The attraction displays some of the sculptures completed by Anna and her sister, Harriet Hyatt, along with other respected American sculptors. Brookgreen Gardens, which opened in 1932, is built on four former rice plantations, taking its name from the former Brookgreen Plantation.

So, enjoy this week’s pictorial essay on my latest birding trip to South Carolina. I hope you’ll find something to your liking.

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A trio of young mockingbirds follow a parent in hope of a morsel of food.

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Little Blue Heron in a former rice field at Brookgreen Gardens.

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Pileated Woodpecker climbs on a live oak tree at Brookgreen Gardens.

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Dowitchers feed on a tidal flat at Huntington Beach State Park.

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Painted Buntings are quite prominent at Huntington Beach State Park.

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Female Painted Buntings lack the showy feathers of males.

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Three male Painted Buntings co-exist at a feeder at the Huntington Beach State Park Nature Center.

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The male Painted Buntings is one of North America’s most vibrant songbirds.

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Great Crested Flycatcher perches atop a pine tree at Brookgreen Gardens.

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A second-year male Orchard Oriole in a pine tree at Huntington Beach State Park.

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A male Northern Parula explores beneath the leaves of the woodland canopy at Brookgreen Gardens.

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A Red-bellied Woodpecker visits a nest cavity in a dead tree at Brookgreen Gardens.

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A Great Egret takes flight from a marsh at Huntington Beach State Park.

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A Semipalmated Sandpiper brings up the rear as it tries to catch up to a flock of Sanderlings, one of its larger relatives.

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Cuckoos, such as this Yellow-billed Cuckoo, are more often heard than seen, but they will occasionally cooperate for a photograph.

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Tropical Storm Ana dumped a lot of rain on Huntington Beach State Park. Flooded lawns areas provided temporary foraging grounds for migrating shorebirds, as well as resident Boat-tailed Grackles.

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A dowitcher uses its unique bill to probe for food in the mud of a tidal flat.

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Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers forage in a puddle created by the rains of Tropical Storm Ana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Kestrel one of world’s pint-sized falcons

I took part in the annual Spring Bird Count conducted by the Elizabethton Bird Club on Saturday, May 9.

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Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service                  A close-up shows the facial pattern of an American Kestrel.

We found a lot of good birds, including an American Kestrel in a field near Sycamore Shoals Hospital. This field has been a reliable location for this small falcon for years.

This small falcon, although present throughout the year in the region, is somewhat more prominent during the winter months when kestrels from farther north migrate into the region. However, this falcon also nests in the region and can be found at any time of the year in suitable habitat, which is usually open countryside.

The American Kestrel is a small member of the falcon family, which includes such larger relatives as Merlin, Peregrine Falcon and Gyrfalcon.

All falcons share a similar aerodynamic design that includes sleek, streamlined bodies and long, slim wings which taper to pointed tips. They fly with rapid wingbeats and are capable of swift flight.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                        An American Kestrel perches on a fence post.

The male American Kestrel is a colorful bird. He shows a rusty back with some black barring, a rusty tail and steel blue-gray wings. The female American Kestrel is brownish with black barring on her back and tail. She also shows a buff-colored wash streaked with brown on her under- parts. Both sexes show a strong facial pattern marked by two black “sideburns” on the side of the face.

The American Kestrel has long been one of my favorite raptors. They’re seldom as skittish as many other raptors and will permit close observation.

The American Kestrel, formerly known by the name “Sparrow Hawk,” does not feed entirely on other birds. In fact, a large part of this small falcon’s diet includes rodents and insects.

In its nesting preference, the American Kestrel is unusual among other native falcons and hawks. Kestrels nest in cavities, including abandoned woodpecker holes and nest boxes provided by humans.

Like many raptors, the American Kestrel likes to hunt from a perch, swooping down on unsuspecting prey. The Kestrel, however, is also capable of hovering, a type of flight that only a relatively few birds, including the Belted Kingfisher and the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, are capable of performing.

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Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service    American Kestrel shows why falcons are such efficient aerial predators.

The falcons comprise a family of birds with a long history with humans. The sport of falconry, although not as widely practiced today, long ago became associated with royalty and nobility. In fact, falconry has been called “the sport of kings.” The sport basically involved hunting prey, usually other birds, with birds of prey such as falcons.

As a pastime, falconry never became as popular in the United States as in other parts of the world.

There are more than 60 species of falcons found worldwide. While the Peregrine Falcon’s endangered status became well-known in the United States, other falcons have been threatened with extinction. The Mauritius Kestrel once dwindled to a population of only six individuals. Today, the population, due to intensive human effort, has greatly recovered.

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Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife/Steve Hillebrand A perched American Kestrel makes a sharp-eyed survey of its surroundings.

Other members of the falcon family can be found in the region, including the Peregrine Falcon and the Merlin. Other falcons in North America include the Prairie Falcon and the Aplomado Falcon.

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I’ll provide more specific details on the spring count results in upcoming posts.

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Early naturalist John James Audubon painted this family of American Kestrels.

Diversity of birds a plus for Hungry Mother State Park’s launch of birding festival

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                                                 A singing male Orchard Oriole entertained festival attendees during a Saturday morning bird walk.

I’m just back from attending the first-ever Birding Festival at Hungry Mother State Park. It was a wonderful weekend filled with exciting observations of birds such as Baltimore Oriole, Orchard’s Oriole, Great Egret, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Red-breasted Mergansers and even a pair of nesting Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                      “I think we’re safe,” said one Northern Rough-winged Swallow to the other. “Swallows don’t have arms.”

The park is located in Smyth County near the town of Marion, Virginia, and is accessible just off of Route 16 near interstate 81. The park offers visitors more than 2,000 acres of wooded mountainous terrain, a large lake, several miles of trails for hiking and biking, a conference center, camping, picnicking, a lakeside beach for swimming, and a discovery center to learn about the area.

The festival, which was held Friday-Sunday, May 1-3, meshed nicely with other recreational opportunities offered at HMSP. Tanya Hall, the Chief Ranger of Visitor Experience, noted that  Hungry Mother is one of the more popular parks in Virginia.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                   A kayaker glides across Hungry Mother Lake.

“We have 18 miles of trails that you can either hike or bike and we have a 108-acre lake that has various species of fish available to catch,” Hall noted.

Sport fish in the lake including largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as crappie, channel catfish, carp, sunfish, rock bass, muskellunge, and walleye.

The lake is also a favorite destination for swimmers, canoeists, kayakers and paddleboarders, which were all in evidence during this weekend’s events.

Hall said the park is also fortunate to have an “awesome interpretation department” that hosts numerous programs each day that are offered not only to camping and cabin guests, but also to the public.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                  The Hungry Mother State Park Restaurant, which offers lunch, dinner and a Sunday brunch.

Hall said the park also has one of the most unique names of all Virginia’s state parks. There’s also a unique legend tied to the name, which is associated with Molly’s Knob, the highest point in the park.

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Photo by David Thometz                             Beginning my pictorial program, “Season to Season,” for the Friday evening audience at the Hungry Mother State Park Birding Festival.

According to local legend,  Indians destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, resulting in Molly Marley and her small child being taken to the raiders’ base north of the park. Molly and her child eventually escaped and wandered through the wilderness, surviving by eating berries. Molly finally collapsed and her child wandered down a creek until she found help. The only words she could impart to rescuers were “Hungry Mother.” Unfortunately, by the time a rescue party arrived at the foot of the mountain where she had collapsed, they found Molly dead. Today, the mountain is called Molly’s Knob and the stream is known as Hungry Mother Creek. So, when the park was developed in the 1930s, a dam was constructed to block the creek and form Hungry Mother Lake. The legend also provided the name for this very unique park.

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Photo by David Thometz                                                    Looking for Virginia Rails at the wetlands at Saltville.

I presented a program on birds and nature through all four of the seasons. I got to meet many people that I have corresponded with through Facebook and email. I also got to meet some interesting new people.

The festival also featured Richard Moncrief, who is the Birding and Nature Observation Market Manager for Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. Montcrief presented two programs on “Binocular Know How” and a very informative and entertaining “Birding Basics.” Some local Master Naturalists, including Melanie Smith and Randy Smith, gave programs on “Birding by Ear” and “Backyard Birding.”

Another highlight of the festival included an excursion to nearby Saltville to bird the wetlands in that historic southwest Virginia town.

I overheard plenty of discussion that the festival should become an annual event, and I certainly concur with that sentiment. I know I’d like to visit again next May.

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Photo by David Thometz                                                                                                                      Trying to get that perfect angle for a photo.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens                                                                                                                                A male Baltimore Oriole sings from the top of a tall tree.

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Photo by David Thometz                                                                                                                                  If you look in the right corner of this outdoor fireplace, you’ll find a Mallard hen that has chosen an unusual nesting location.

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Photo by Bryan Stevens              Red-winged Blackbird

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Orchard Oriole

 

 

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Great Egret

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Eastern Kingbird

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Sign promoting activities during the Birding Festival.