Thursday, August 15, 2013

Birding in Dixie: Virginia

First Stop down south was the Commonwealth of Virginia.  We stopped at Grayson Highlands State Park (Link).  A real interesting park to be sure, it borders the Jefferson National Forest is a 30-minute drive from the Smoky Mountains NP.  It is part of the Appalachian Mountains and borders the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The Park was simply amazing.  We did the Cabin Creek Trail.  While we weren't there for birding necessarily (it was a road stop hike) we quickly found some amazing nature in this park.  We started with an encounter with the feral ponies in the park and ate some trail side blueberries that were literally ripe for the picking.  Next we encountered the creek.

The Creek was probably the most fun part of the trail and what made the park spectacular.  The life near the water was amazing.  We spent most of our time looking at different plants, fungi, fish, and listening for birds.  I've posted some pictures of the park looked like and the nature we got to enjoy.

 A View of the Park
 A Fungus
 A Destroying Angel Fungus probably
 The Waterfall
Blooming Wintergreen

The next two pictures were the birds we got.  Neither picture is mine.
File:Black-throated-green-warbler-100.jpgFile:Dendroica striata MN.jpg
Black-Throated Green Warbler (C) by William Majoros and Blackpoll Warbler (C) by Cephas

The only birds of note were a Black-Throated Warbler and a Blackpoll Warbler.  They were surprises as we got to the park very late in the day.  The Blackpoll was a particular surprise!  We heard the call, saw the legs and the cap and beak.  The Break was a good one as driving for hours can be particularly monotonous.  We even drove through Damascus, VA which was a welcome change from the typical roadside rest stops. Birding in Dixie will continue soon!

2013 Birds:

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