I had considered going back to Clark's Creek today, but changed my mind. Even though a LeConte's Sparrow hadn't been seen at the Cowan's Ford Wildlife Refuge since 2001, I would kick myself if I didn't at least look for one there, and if I later read that one had been found there again. A week ago I did an Internet search on Cowan's Ford Wildlife Refuge to learn more about it. One of the non-birding sites I found had a posting that stated that it was in a very remote location and not to go there alone. This did give me pause, but when I got there and found a two lane wide gravel road with a gravel parking lot and a large and well-made covered observation deck, it seemed really safe compared to some of the remote locations I have birded in Virginia and elsewhere.
Birding is allowed all along the road in, but going off-road is prohibited. I stopped along the way to the observation deck when I saw or heard avian activity.
I spent about an hour at the observation desk and nearby parking lot, and did see a few good species, but no LeConte's Sparrow.
Juvenile Red-souldered Hawk
A couple of times, I heard the churr call of a Marsh Wren, and may have quickly seen it each time. I did get a few wren photos from the direction where I heard the call, but am not sure if the photos are of a Carolina Wren or perhaps a juvenile Marsh Wren. It looks a bit darker brown with darker wing tips than that of a Carolina Wren, as well as dark facial markings, but I'm not confident of the species in the photos.
On the way to Cowan's Ford, I saw a sign for the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. This was one of my potential Charlotte areas birding sites, so I stopped there on the way back. Soon after leaving Cowan's Ford, I saw a beautiful, adult Red-shouldered Hawk. Once at Latta Plantation, I hiked on one of the trails, but only saw a few sparrow species, Palm Warblers, and a few woodland species.
Before leaving Latta Plantation, I drove over to a trail along the large Mountain Island Lake. On the drive there, I saw a red fox run across the road. The red foxes we see here in Virginia are more brownish-orange. This one was was bright reddish-orange, but I was unale to get a photo of it. When I got down to the lake, I saw a Great Blue Heron, some turtles, and a lizard.
Great Blue Heron
I hiked back to my car, and along the way watched a couple of Carolina Wrens, and then saw a distant and dark-appearing Red-tailed Hawk. I waited for a while to see if the hawk would turn for a frontal photo, but it was content to keep looking away from me.
At this point, I realized that I had done a lot of hiking for only a few birds, and decided to spend the rest of my birding this week at Clark's Creek.Click here to continue to my birding report for October 24