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Birding Port Louisa, Part II April 18, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Louisa County, Nature.
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A few weeks ago I wrote about walking through the Port Louisa Refuge looking for different kinds of birds. I started at the visitor’s center and headed north until I hit a spot where the road had been flooded. Today the BVO and I began at the other end of the service road and walked back south. We had the camera with us so we can share some of the highlights of the afternoon with you.

The area where we began our journey was marshland. The white bird in the picture above is a Great Egret. They’ve recently arrived and will spend the summer here raising their young. Other birds we spotted in the marsh included a Great Blue Heron, Swamp Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, a few small ducks that were too wary to be seen closely, a Yellow Shafted Flicker, and the ubiquitous Red-winged Blackbirds. Three turkey vultures circled high above us.

A little farther down the road the marsh gave way to a flooded woods.

Here we found Song Sparrows along the road and a Pileated Woodpecker. A Common Merganzer flew in a great circle around us and much to the delight of the BVO, we spotted a pair of Wood Ducks perched in a tree. Other ducks could also be seen on the water under the trees, but took to flight as soon as we spotted them, disappearing into the canopy.

Eventually the service road comes alongside the inlet channel for Lake Odessa. There is evidence of beaver beginning there and as we turned the corner and came upon the flooded portion of the road, we spotted one swimming along the channel. He was too far away for a good picture, but we did get picture of his lodge.

The GPS unit indicated we had covered a little over half a mile. If you bring some boots or remove your shoes to traverse the flooded potion of the road, the entire route from the visitor’s center to the parking lot is a little over two miles. In that two miles you’ll encounter woods, meadows, sloughs, “swamps,” and marshes. Who knows what you might see?

To get to the point where we started, proceed north on X61 from the visitors’ center. After you’ve gone around a few curves you’ll see a sign for Port Louisa pointing to the right down a gravel road. You’ll find the northwest corner of the refuge down the hill on the right. There’s a parking area there where you can leave your vehicle.

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