A Sunday Morning In The Sun

Early this morning we ventured down to the Newman Wetland Center in Clayton County to participate in a “dragonfly walk” with noted author, Giff Beaton, and senior conservationist at the center, Carol Lambert.

We had a great time on the wetland center trail, learning about the different species of dragonflies and damselflies. We also learned abotu robber bugs, which I had never heard of before.

We saw everything from the tiniest damselflies to the newly arriving dragonflies.

Dragonfly 3

 

We’ve been to the wetland center before, but we never noticed so many dragonflies on previous trips.

Dragonfly 7

 

I couldn’t help but notice that dragonflies have faces.

Dragonfly 9

 

Dragonfly 14

 

Dragonfly 4

 

It was hot in the sun, but we had a great time on this walk.

After we finished the walk, we drove over to the E.L. Huie Land Application Facility to see if any new birds had shown up. We saw a great assortment of Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, and Great Blue Herons. We also saw a Solitary Sandpiper, a Semi-Palmated Sandpiper, a Sanderling, and a Spotted Sandpiper.

We’re hoping we get a chance to see some Swallow-Tailed Kites this weekend. Of course, I will post photos if we do.

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A Bright Spot On A Hot Day

It’s not every day you see a Snowy Egret. We heard there was a Snowy Egret hanging out at the E.L. Huie Land Application Facility, so we took a trip over to see it.

Snowy Egret 1

We saw the Snowy Egret, a Great Egret, a Yellow Crowned Night Heron, and various other birds common for the area. There was a report of a Little Blue Heron, but we could not locate it while we were there.

It’s been so hot lately, I can hardly wait for the fall migration to begin.

An Afternoon At Huie

Saturdays are usually birding days around here, and today was no different. Well, it was different in the fact that we didn’t get out the door until 3:45 in the afternoon.

After a quick discussion we decided we would head over to the E.L. Huie Ponds and the Newman Wetland Center to catch some late afternoon birds. All we needed to make the day successful were a few willing participants, ie: birds, and we would be set.

After a quick stop at a Chevron along the way, we arrived at the ponds just before 5:00pm. We double checked the gate closing time, which was 8:00pm and we ventured into the facility. We didn’t even get up the driveway before spotting Purple Martins, Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and an Eastern Kingbird.

As we came around the building, we were greeted by Barn Swallows, Bank Swallows, more Tree Swallows, and a few Northern Rough-Winged Swallows.

BarnSwallow1

 

Dancing Tree Swallows

 

When we spend time at the E.L. Huie facility, we usually begin at Pond A mostly because we don’t see much in Pond B. As usual, we were not disappointed. As we approached Pond A we noticed numerous Mallards, Canada Geese, and Red-Winged Blackbirds, but thrown into the mix was a Pied-Billed Grebe.

Pied-Billed Grebe

 

As we drove down the road between Ponds A & B, we startled a Great Blue Heron. They always look majestic as they fly across the water.

Reflection

 

We saw a lot of the usual… Double-Crested Cormorants, Green Herons, a large assortment of small sandpipers, Rock Pigeons, Mourning Doves, European Starlings, Chimney Swifts, Thrashers, Indigo Buntings, Song Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and Mockingbirds.

A Belted Kingfisher kept us entertained for a few minutes,

Belted Kingfisher

 

then we made a quick stop by the Killdeer nest to say hi to the momma Killdeer, well, we think it was the momma.

Killdeer 2

 

Four Baby Killdeer

 

We spotted the Common Moorhens that have been reported the past week or so, but they were so far off across the pond I couldn’t get a good photo of them. I tried my hand at digiscoping again but they didn’t go too well this time.

The two female Hooded Mergansers were hanging out on Pond E, not far from the Killdeer nest, and didn’t seem too bothered with our “ooohs and aaahs” as they swam around.

Hooded Merganser 1

 

The highlight of the trip, for me, was the Osprey that came in for dinner at Pond A just before 7:45pm.

Osprey 2

 

Osprey 4

 

The boys had a blast, as did I, as we spotted over 30 different species of birds. It wasn’t our best day at the facility, but it definitely wasn’t our worst either. I didn’t get the greatest photos, it must have been something to do with the stormy conditions, but all in all it was a great afternoon.

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How To Spend A Saturday In Georgia

Today was an awesome day!

Believe it or not we all went to bed early and we all got up early. We usually have a few stragglers each day, so it was quite a shock when we were ready to head out the door by 9:30 this morning.

We began by venturing over to the Newman Wetland Center in Clayton County. Although the interpretive center is closed on Saturdays this time of year, the trail is still open (and free) so we hit the trail. All 1/2 mile of it. We spent a good 45 minutes strolling through the wetlands and got some good photos. It was a bit cold so we walked back to the truck after the first round to warm up a bit, then we hit the trail a second time. Three-quarters of the way around we were greeted by more than 300 red-winged blackbirds.

Red-Winged Blackbirds

 

After spending a few minutes greeting all 300 of our new friends we decided to head down the road to the E.L. Huie ponds to see if we could see any waterfowl (which were strangely absent from the wetland center today).

When we pulled in the first pond held nothing but water. As we ventured down the dirt road around the ponds we came to the second pond, which had three Pied-Billed Grebes. That was it. We were very disheartened, but figured we would just complete the loop around the ponds and then head back to our neck of the woods.

As we passed the second pond, we saw the third pond and it was filled with Ring-Necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and a very hungry Great Blue Heron.

Great Blue Heron preparing to swallow a fish.

 

The next two ponds were far from disappointing as well. We saw Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Buffleheads, Gadwalls, Green-Winged Teals, and much more. We saw so many birds it took us another hour and a half to get our fill.

We decided we are definitely heading back to Clayton County in the not too distant future, to see what else might be visiting their excellent wetland areas. In the meantime, it was getting close to time to head home, so we decided to venture back over to Sweetwater Creek State Park, our “home base”.

When we want to get out of the house and watch birds (or let them watch us) we head over to SWCSP. It didn’t take long to realize we were being watched.

Red-Tailed Hawk

 

It seemed colder at the state park than we thought it was going to be. The wind was blowing in from across the lake making it for a chilly time scouting the water for migrating birds, so we stopped by the visitor center, and then we decided to call it a day.

We stopped by Lake Paradise for a quick check and saw our first real sighting at the lake, which turned out to be a Great Blue Heron.

All in all, it was a great day. It would have been nice if the wind died down a bit and if the sun had peeked through the clouds from time to time, but we had a great time.We’re definitely keeping Clayton County on our preferred birding hotspot list.

Have a great night!

Everybody needs to feel like they’re somebody…

There’s no such thing as an unimportant person.
There’s so such thing as a nobody.
Everybody is somebody in the eyes of God.

— Dr. Charles Stanley