Cochran Shoals 7/28/13

This morning my father and I visited Cochran Shoals for a couple of hours to see what was happening there. I will remember this trip especially because we saw a compliant Yellow-crowned Night-Heron just off of the side of the first “bridge” on the marsh trail walking through the water hunting. This opportunity not only provided the best photo opportunity I have had with a bird in quite a while, it also gave us a chance to see the patience and skill that this bird uses to forage. It first came out of its hiding spot into the pool of water. It slowly walked over to a spot with some aquatic plants, hunched over, and stared with its keen eyes into the shallow water, waiting still as a statue for a few minutes for an unlucky frog to swim its way. In less than the blink of an eye, it elongated its neck (it still has a long neck even though its neck is small for wading birds), snapped its bill into the water and jerked it back out again, pulling up a tasty frog. It then quickly retreated back to its hiding place behind some brush and stopped to enjoy its prize. By the time we were coming back the other way on the marsh trail, he was at it again, still willing to pose for the camera! As far as other highlights, there was a Common Yellowthroat in the open, I heard the song of a White-eyed Vireo, the magnificent earring-shaped flowers of Spotted Jewelweed are blooming as well as the white spikeball flowers of the Common Buttonbush. I saw two lifer wildflowers and one lifer fungus.

Birds (15 species, 0 lifers):

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1

Carolina Chickadee 1

Carolina Wren 1

Northern Cardinal 2

Common Grackle 2

Common Yellowthroat 2

White-eyed Vireo 2

Downy Woodpecker 2

Belted Kingfisher 1

Canada Goose 40

Mallard 4

American Robin 1

Great Blue Heron 1

Red-shouldered Hawk 1

American Goldfinch 2

Wildflowers (9 species, 2 lifers):

Horse Nettle

*Large-flowered Leafcup

*Sweet Goldenrod

Showy Tick-Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Spurred Butterfly Pea

Man-of-the-Earth Morning Glory

Spiderwort

Spotted Jewelweed

Shrubs (2 species, 0 lifers):

Devil’s Walkingstick

Common Buttonbush

Trees (13 species, 0 lifers):

Black Willow

Red Maple

Sugar Maple

Southern Catalpa

Eastern Sycamore

Water Oak

American Elm

American Hornbeam

Pignut Hickory

Eastern Cottonwood

Black Cherry

Loblolly Pine

Tag Alder

Vines (2 species, 0 lifers):

Poison Ivy

Virginia Creeper

Fungi (1 taxa, 0 new):

Polypore sp.

Lichens (1 taxa, 0 new):

Usnea sp.

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Large-flowered Leafcup

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Sweet Goldenrod

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Buttonbush

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Spurred Butterfly Pea

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Polypore Mushroom

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Northern Cardinal

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Common Yellowthroat perched on a tree with Usnea growing on it

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron out of water with neck retracted

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron lifting up its leg

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron standing up straight

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Water droplets hanging off of Spotted Jewelweed bend the sunlight towards the camera

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