Posts tagged with osprey

York River State Park

What was forecast to be a relatively cool, windy day turned out to be a rock-star day for some wildlife. We didn’t even have to hit the trails before we saw a Garter Snake crawling through the building just at the doorway to the Visitor’s Center. We were guessing it found a tasty snack up in building’s facade. Just a few feet away, at an overlook at the edge of the parking lot, we saw another Rat Snake or Northern Racer. Unfortunately, we didn’t get of that guy on camera as he was quick to slither away. We did see, though, about < 1 foot away a little bunny huddled up under a bush. Not sure if we saved that guy by scaring the snake away or not; he looked a little big but there may have been some babies around.

We eventually made our way to Taskinas Creek Trail, our original destination for the day. We didn’t see many birds on the walk, but we did see a fair number of lizards. We first found a Broad-headed Skink beating up on an Eastern Fence Lizard. Our passing by broke up the fight, but I have a feeling it picked right back up after we left. The skink was hiding out behind a log watching Stephanie and I taking pictures while the lizard was just frozen. The poor guy looked really battered: he was missing his tail and his shoulder was all scarred up. A few feet down the trail, we saw another pair of Fence Lizards: one small female and another large male with his blue throat all shining. One of the few birds we saw was a White-Eyed Vireo, a bird we hadn’t seen before. The picture wasn’t great, but it was good enough. We also spotted a couple of Cedar Waxwings, one of our favorite birds!

“Eagle Overlook” was sans Eagles but on the way back up to the main trail path, we saw another Fence Lizard; this time with even more blue on his belly. We had never seen that on a Fence Lizard before this hike.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find any prime spots for Salamander’s, our main wish-list item for the day. That’s OK, though, it was still a nearly perfect day for a hike.

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First Landing State Park

This was our second outting to First Landing and a spur-of-the-moment trip. Our first time at the park was spent kayaking and camping in the southern and northeastern parts of the park. This time we hiked through the marshes in the northwestern section; specifically the Osmanthus trail. The hike got off to an excellent start. We weren’t five steps into the trail when Stephanie looked down and saw a bullfrog just hanging out. As we were looking at him, we heard some birds and snapped a couple of shots of a Great Crested Flycatcher; got some nice shots of his yellow belly. The terrain was mostly flat making for an easy hike that was short enough that we could stroll through and take our time. Another highlight was tracking down and photographing a couple of Little Brown Skinks. I had that guy on my wishlist for awhile and finally got to cross him off. It took awhile to get a nice shot of one as they were very small and quick to run away. But patience paid off and Stephanie was able to spot and coax a couple of them out. The hike, with our leisurly pace and frequent stops, lasted a few hours.

After heading out of the park for a quick bite at a near-by Japanese reasturant, we drove down the the southern section of the park where we kayaked during our first visit. We didn’t spend too much time here as it was getting late, cold, and windy. Thankfully we found a couple of gems right out of the gate. Before we even made it to the parking lot, I noticed a white bird perched on a tree. I pulled over onto the side of the road and whipped out my camera thinking it was saegul or an ordinary egret. As it turned out, it was Snowy Egret! I hadn’t seen one of these before and we don’t have any back home. We continued down the road and proceeded to head out on a short hike. Again, just a few feet into our hike, I noticed something from the corner of my eye. I turned and saw an Osprey taking off from his nest. I was able to get off a couple of quick shots before he was gone and his mate recessed into their nest. We were hoping to find another Green Heron, but no luck; just a Black Vulture. That said, it was overall a very productive and enjoyable time.

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