Wednesday, June 17, 2015

30 Days in June: Day 16, San Felasco State Park, North Entrance

It's Hot! Treefrog in San Felasco State Park Bathroom Sink

Photo buddy Maralee and I began our Tuesday adventure by tidying up some loose ends. We stopped at Cellon Creek Blvd. on our way to the North Entrance of San Felasco Hammock State Park to try to see those darned Northern Bobwhites. We rolled down the car windows and heard them calling immediately after turning onto the road. They were there and as infuriatingly impossible to spot as before, calling from either side of the car. I wondered if Mockingbirds have been known to mimic the call, because that would help explain why I can look and hear and look again and not see one. After listening and searching the bushes for a while, finally Maralee took matters into her own hands and walked out into the brambles to flush them out. She is a true friend. 10 minutes later, success! Finally I can check &$%@ Bobwhites off the list. I have to say, though, that it wasn't nearly as satisfying as just finding a happy quail strolling down the road and having a nice long look. But after searching for so long I was not in the mood to be picky.

We also saw Northern Rough-Winged Swallows and watched an adult Eastern Kingbird feed its chick, and got several nice looks at Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes. It was a good start to a hot morning.

Rough-winged Swallows

Eastern Kingbirds

The North Entrance at San Felasco State Park has bicycle and horse trails. In the spring and fall it is a wonderful butterfly, bird and wildflower spot. In the summer, it's kind of quiet. We walked for over an hour and saw very few animals, most of them in the cool of the shaded woods. It was just too hot. We surprised a Bluebird coming out of its house and spotted a Yellow Billed Cuckoo in the treetops. Cardinals and Chickadees were hopping around from tree to tree and a Red Shouldered Hawk flew over and landed beyond the pond. The wildflowers, however, were thriving in the heat. This has been a good year for Paw Paw, Milkweed and Showy Milkwort. We walked through fields of Daisy Fleabane and saw Pitted Stripeseed and Ladiestresses Orchids.

Pitted Stripeseed (Piriqueta cistoides) and Bee Fly

Ladiestresses Orchid (Spiranthes sp.)

Grassleaf Lettuce (Lactuca graminifolia)

Pinewoods Milkweed (Asclepias humistrata)

Daisy Fleabane Field (Erigeron annuus)

The find of the day was a Tawny Emperor Butterfly that landed and opened and closed its wings for about 10 minutes while we snapped photos. Neither of us had seen one before and it was exciting. But stopping and concentrating on getting the photos left us both sweating and tired and we realized that it was time to head back. It was nearly 100 degrees.

Tawny Emperor Butterfly
Back in the car and driving out of the park we spotted a Kestrel on the power line and we let out a weak little cheer, but were almost too wiped out to get too excited.

Total count: 90 birds, 20 Natural Areas

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