The Great Dismal Swamp was cool! And not at all dismal.

While it was definitely a swamp, it wasn’t…y’know…swampy in the dripping Spanish-moss and roving alligator sense. It was more like a forest with a flooded basement.

Didn’t see all that many birds, but we can chalk that up as much to my being a neophyte with binoculars as anything else–we sure heard plenty Lake Drummond, in the middle, is supposed to be Chock Full ‘O Waterfowl, but my doughy little limbs aren’t gonna do a nine mile hike in muggy weather. However, I did see a few–primarily yellow rumped warblers, a few titmice, and then, to my delight, prothonotary warblers! They’re spectacular! They’re so…yellow. I’m used to yellow birds being sort of like the pine warblers, where they’re a streaky, feathery, mottled yellow, but the prothonotary warblers were this pure, solid yellow shading back to gray, a color so absolutely crisp, it was like a musical note. They were fabulous. I wanna paint them.

And I also, with much squinting and straining and focusing of binoculars and consulting of books, spotted a red-headed woodpecker. I’ve been wanting to see one, because they look amazing in the photos, and I’m glad to add it to El Lifelist, but I wish I could have seen it better–I was trying to spot it against a blown-out white sky, so it was a dark cutout, and while the white breast and big white wing patches were visible, it took a lot of squinting to tell that the head was red instead of black. They’re amazing looking birds, and I’d love to have a chance to see one up close. But I suppose that’s why people KEEP birding. *grin*

There was something else, too, but I wasn’t able to ID ’em–they were hanging out on the very top branches of a tree next to some more warblers, and looked to be about the size of a blackbird. What I could see had a very, VERY streaked breast, to the point of being pinstriped, with a dark tail and I think dark uppers, although since I was squinting upwards against a white sky, take that with a grain of salt. The things that matched the closest were female red-winged blackbirds, which would be a normal species for the area, but why several females would be hanging out together, with no males, and a pack of yellow-rumped warblers, is beyond me. Then again, they’re birds. Birds are weird.

Leave a Reply