Sunday, April 3, 2011

A new state list: South Carolina

 The ‘Across the Carolinas’ fieldtrip last weekend took me deep into South Carolina with my soil resources class.  We visited sites and camped in two main areas: the Santee River in the coastal plain and the Calhoun Experimental Forest in the piedmont. 
Now a soils field trip doesn’t exactly lend itself to birding.  It’s all about digging holes and getting hands dirty.  But I brought my binoculars along anyway and did my best to spot some early migrants.  It was my first time in South Carolina in years and the perfect opportunity to start a new state list.  
I ended up spotting five warbler species: this Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Plus I heard a Prairie Warbler singing in a swamp near the Santee River.  Not bad for March. 
My South Carolina list reached a modest 46 species and it will probably stay there for quite some time.  If it hadn’t been so cold and rainy Saturday and Sunday, or we had run the trip in April instead of March, then the list would surely have been well over 50. 
My classmates tried to make up for the limited birding opportunities by doing some sort of chicken dance.  
Allan was too busy constructing us an impervious shelter...
...under the fastidious supervision of Prof. Richter.

I neither danced like a bird nor helped and instead wandered off into the woods looking for warblers and kept nearly getting left behind.  It was really fun trip despite the bad weather.