Monday, April 14, 2014

Pettigrew State Park (Creswell, NC) & Pocosin Lakes NWR (Columbia, NC)


Each Spring, I make my way to Pettigrew State Park (Creswell, NC) to explore the rich vernal wildlife around North Carolina’s 2nd largest natural lake, Lake Phelps. Lake Phelps is one of the Carolina bay lakes – elliptical lakes aligned on a northwest-southeast axis of uncertain origin, hypothesized to have been carved out by ocean currents, wind or comets.

Highlights of this year’s visit, included the installation of new boardwalk, plus large singing choruses of Southern Toads, blossoming Pawpaws, and Zebra Swallowtails.

Birds seen:
  • pileated woodpecker
  • red-bellied woodpecker
  • blue jay
  • Carolina wren
  • northern cardinal
  • white-throated sparrow
  • mourning dove
  • common grackle
  • boat-tailed grackle
  • Carolina chickadee
  • American crows
  • laughing gulls

  • American robin
  • blue-grey gnatcatcher
  • eastern meadowlark
  • yellow-rumped warbler
  • white-eyed vireo
  • turkey vulture
  • eastern bluebird
  • brown thrasher
  • purple martin
  • northern mockingbird
  • American goldfinch
  • brown-headed cowbird
  • European startling
  • eastern towhee

Birds heard only:
Silver-spotted skipper at Pettigrew State Park (Creswell, NC)
  • yellow-throated warbler
  • northern parula
  • eastern screech owl
  • grey catbird
  • tufted titmouse
  • red-shouldered hawk
  • red-eyed vireo

Other wildlife encounters:
  • zebra swallowtail
  • tiger swallowtail
  • falcate orange-tip
  • silver-spotted skipper
  • southern toads
  • Fowler’s toads
  • Zebra swallowtail at Pettigrew State Park (Creswell, NC)
  • southern leopard frogs (heard only)

  • bullfrog (heard only)
  • yellow-bellied slider
  • eastern box turtle
  • eastern musk turtle
  • redbelly turtle
  • eastern grey squirrel
  • cotton rat
  • opossum
  • eastern cottontail
  • raccoon (tracks only)
  • clearwing moth spp.
  • phantom craneflies (mating)

Jack-in-the-pulpit at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

Pawpaw (Asimina spp.) at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

Sensitve fern at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

American sycamore at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

Southern toad at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

Eastern box turtle at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

Eastern musk turtle at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

Redbelly turtle at Pettigrew SP (Creswell, NC)

This year, we also visited the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia, NC. The short boardwalk, which starts at the visitor center, allowed for close encounters with Red-bellied Watersnakes, Eastern Musk Turtles, and Spotted Turtles.

Spotted turtles at Pocosin Lakes NWR (Columbia, NC)
Birds seen:
  • American robin
  • European starling
  • boat-tailed grackle
  • purple martin
  • red-bellied woodpecker
  • yellow-rumped warbler

Birds heard:
  • yellow-throated warbler
  • laughing gull

Other wildlife encounters:
Red-bellied watersnake at Pocosin Lakes NWR (Columbia, NC)
  • eastern painted turtle
  • eastern musk turtle
  • redbelly turtle
  • spotted turtles
  • yellow-bellied slider
  • red bellied water snakes
  • northern watersnake
  • cabbage white
  • falcate orange-tip

Watersnakes (possibly Northern) at Pocosin Lakes NWR (Columbia, NC)