Sunday, July 31, 2011

Birding and Brunch in the Francis Marion National Forest

In mid-May, I was invited to join a group of friends birding in the Francis Marion National Forest, to be followed by brunch (YUM!).  The birding was a bit slow in terms of the number of species.  In fact, I did not get a picture of a single bird that was worth keeping!  I missed a shot of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  We heard Northern Parulas and a Prothonotary Warbler but we could not spot him as he sang from the deep, dark understory over the creek.  We heard a Red-tailed Hawk calling, also.  We did see Wood Ducks, Eastern Towhees, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice (of course), Carolina Chickadees, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, a Mississippi Kite (!) and a Swallow-tailed Kite (!) and a Hairy Woodpecker (a first for me in Charleston County!).

I did get pictures of a few forest critters though.  Two or three members of the group walked right by a pair of Copperheads -- Yikes!  The snakes disappeared too quickly for that photo but I did manage to get a head shot of this lovely, but shy Eastern King snake before he hid in a hole.  For more information about venomous and non-venomous snakes of SC, I recommend this page.

Eastern King Snake

The damsel- and dragonflies were not shy about posing!

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly
Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly -- female

Banded Pennant Dragonfly

The bunny and the skink were not thrilled about being photographed but tolerated it for a few moments.

Six-lined Racerunner

Six-lined Racerunner

For more information on skinks in South Carolina, recommend this site.

Virginia Day Flower

Fish Pond -- Willow Hall Road

We saw some gators in the pond and believed we heard one bellowing its mating call!  After our lovely trek in the woods, we headed to our hosts' home for a delicious brunch and interesting conversation!  Many thanks to our wonderful hosts for an excellent opportunity for birding, brunch and comaraderie in the forest!

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