Columbidae and Picidae – This was my first time seeing Red-headed Woodpeckers, and it was a pleasure. There were at least three individuals at the Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve, all very active, pursuing each other from tree to tree. However, there was one tree that was out of bounds to the Red-headeds. A Pileated Woodpecker had claimed one snag with a suitable cavity as her territory, and would come out of her hole to defend her snag any time a visitor came by. If you couldn’t see this interaction occurring, you could certainly hear it from just about anywhere in the preserve.
Tyrannidae – The wetland at the Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve was not only great for woodpeckers, it was a hotspot for Phoebes and Kingbirds. Unfortunately we missed seeing Great Crested Flycatchers this trip. At the Lake Conestee Nature Park, one of the first birds we happened across was a difficult-to-ID flycatcher. It sat on a high branch directly above us, giving a view of only its breast and the underside of its bill. If I hadn’t just finished a bird taxonomy and identification course at school, I probably would not have been able to ID the bird beyond its family. However, I had just learned that a buffy colouration of the underside of the bill in combination with the flycatcher’s light breast and small size was unique to Eastern Wood-Pewee. Later the Pewee posed on some lower branches, giving us a better view of its overall plumage.
Vireonidae, Paridae, Sittidae – For the relative abundance of individuals in these families, they were remarkably hard to photograph. I was very excited to find the Brown-headed Nuthatches in a small pine stand. I’m lucky that my father has moved within their restricted range. Next time I visit I’d like to spend more time with these guys, watching their behaviour, and maybe even seeing their use of tools while foraging.