Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve 8/12/13

This morning, I visited Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve alone and walked most of the trails looking for whatever I could find. The mosquitoes were terrible, so I walked quickly through most of the trails. However, on the Beaver Pond Trail starting at the observation deck and ending at the photo blind was a strip of the trail that offered some peace from the voracious little insects. I did not see quite a few species, but I saw some Wood Ducks, a species I had not seen in over a year. I also witnessed a hawk attack a Green Heron. It was fairly large, but was not a Red-tailed Hawk or a Red-shouldered Hawk. Even though I only got a short look at it before it dove back into the woods, I suppose it was probably a Cooper’s Hawk. I did, however, suspiciously hear a Red-shouldered Hawk later on the walk. The heron jabbed at the hawk, making loud squawking noises until the hawk stopped the bombardment. The hang out area on the board walk gave great views of a Great Blue Heron foraging in the lake. I also found one spike of the amazing Cardinal Flower, which is a lifer for me. The photo blind, however, is not of much use anymore. Like everywhere else in the  preserve, plants have overcrowded the area so as to only leave a small amount of the pond open to viewing from the blind. Furthermore, a colossal yellow and black spider constructed its web right in front of the patch of visible pond. I suppose it did not matter much anyways because I did not see any birds from the blind. I have not been to the preserve in over a year and a half and I was surprised at how many invasive species had encroached the area. English Ivy, Chinese Privet, Oriental Bittersweet, Kudzu, White Mulberry, Multiflora Rose, Japanese Stiltgrass. Anyways, here are the species lists and photos:

Birds (8 species, 0 lifers):

Northern Cardinal 1

Carolina Wren 2

Great Blue Heron 1

Great-Crested Flycatcher 3

Wood Duck 5

Green Heron 1

Red-shouldered Hawk 1

Mallard 1

Dragonflies (1 species, 0 lifers):

Common Green Darner

Trees (3 species, 0 lifers):

Loblolly Pine

American Hornbeam

Boxelder

Wildflowers (4 species, 1 lifer):

Spiderwort

Spotted Jewelweed

Asiatic Dayflower

*Cardinal Flower

Vines (3 species, 0 lifers):

Poison Ivy

Virginia Creeper

Muscadine

Other Herbaceous Plants (1 species, 0 lifers):

Pokeweed

Arachnids (1 species, 1 lifer):

*Yellow Garden Spider

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Colossal Spider

A Yellow Garden Spider devours an unlucky cicada

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