|Bolen Bluff Trail as it opens onto Paynes Prairie|
On Sunday I decided to walk the trail at Bolen Bluff. This is a well-known fall warbler trap. Located on the southern rim of Paynes Prairie, the trail runs along the bluff and eventually turns down to the basin itself. It's a pretty walk and I've had some really great days there with warblers landing in waves, so I had high hopes. Silly me. The forest was quiet and the birds absent for nearly all of my walk. I occasionally heard a Northern Cardinal's chip or a Carolina Wren's booming song, but that was it. Eventually, I came across a mixed flock and saw a flash of yellow. I chased after it for a bit and eventually found three Yellow Warblers and a Prairie Warbler. Yeehaw! I had doubled my Cedar Key warbler species count! I finished the trail - perhaps about three miles in all - and added two more Yellow Warblers to the day's count. I've had better days in my back yard.
|Northern Parula (Click on the photo to enlarge)|
Central Winds is a lovely little park. Looking at a map, you might think it is way too small to attract a lot of birds. You would be wrong. It's a beautiful little patch of green in the midst of urban sprawl on the southern edge of Lake Jessup. Any birds crossing that lake would look down and see this one attractive bunch of trees and head right for it. So the park is small enough to bird in a morning, but if the winds are right, there may be birds everywhere you look.
Eventually we found the trail and followed it along the rim of a large open field. We chased a few birds to one corner of the field (near the bleachers) where we encountered another mixed flock. A few Tufted Titmice and Carolina Wrens were accompanied by a Black-and-White Warbler, another Redstart, and a Prairie Warbler.
|I think Red-eyed Vireos are beautiful!|
Again we saw Dennis, and this time he told us of a Yellow Warbler he had just seen back by those bleachers. We wandered over there and after a bit of work we found another mixed flock. This time there were Redstarts, Parulas, a Prairie and, finally, a Yellow Warbler.
|The Nature Trail at Central Winds Park in Seminole County|
We wanted to take one more shot at the area under the oaks near the butterfly garden, so we headed back there next. We exited the trail emerging into the more open area under the trees to find a Red-shouldered Hawk sitting quietly on a low branch. It kindly posed for several pictures, something I wish that warblers would learn to do. We looked around for several minutes but the only new bird we saw was a Bald Eagle that circled over us a few times.
For the day we counted 36 species overall, with seven different warblers (and lots of some of them). Certainly it wasn't a great birding day, but my numbers are heading in the right direction. From one warbler (Cedar Key), to two (Bolen Bluff) and now seven ... could double digits be just around the next bend of the trail?
|Red-shouldered Hawk looking for lunch|
|Same Red-shouldered Hawk from the rear|
|Central Winds Park, Seminole County|