Day after Christmas 2007 Walk

Edward Kujawski, 12/26/2007

After celebrating Christmas in Columbia, SC, my wife, mother-in-law and I took an enjoyable stroll along the Congaree National Park boardwalk on December 26, 2007. The bottomland forest was beautiful in its winter sparseness with temperatures in the mid-50 F degree range. We arrived at Congaree National Park at 3:00pm. After saying hello to Tracy Swartout (who asked us to check out a reported “carcass with a snake-like head” across Weston Lake from the Park) at the Visitors Center, we walked towards Weston Lake. The forest was alive with woodpeckers. We saw two large Pileated Woodpeckers and heard about 3-4 more such birds drumming near the tops of the large trees. The air was filled with the unmistakable cries of Pileated Woodpeckers. Another family with a young son who were walking along the boardwalk wanted to see a Pileated Woodpecker. Fortunately, we were able to point out an excellent view of one in a tall oak near the Visitors’ Center.

There was some standing water on the boardwalk after a recent rain - a real relief after a summer and fall of drought. The Loblolly Pine trees’ scaly bark was outlined in water from the rain which gave them a definition not seen during the many earlier dry months. On the stretch from Weston Lake to Wise Lake, we marveled at the enormous former South Carolina State champion Loblolly Pine tree, still water soaked from the rain

We disturbed two Red-bellied Woodpeckers on Loblolly pines near Weston Lake and saw a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers tapping on tree trunks closer to the ground. A Downy Woodpecker was heard in the woods. We heard several Carolina Chickadees and disturbed a Tufted Titmouse along the boardwalk near Weston Lake. At Weston Lake, we came upon five Red-headed Woodpeckers and a Cardinal. We enjoyed watching the roller coaster flight of the Red-headed Woodpeckers before noticing several Ruby Crowned Kinglets in small trees on the edge of the boardwalk.

On the return to the Visitors’ Center, we enjoyed looking at the large Cypress and Tupelo trees and were able to take pictures of the high water mark on trees in the forest. We arrived at the Visitors’ Center at 5:00pm just at closing time and reported to Tracy Swartout that we had seen (with aid of binoculars) NO carcass across Weston Lake. That mystery will await other visitors to Congaree National Park.


The Congaree National Park Visitors' Center as approached from the boardwalk


View of the boardwalk on a December day


Bottomland forest at Congaree National Park


View of Weston Lake after Christmas 2007


High water mark can be seen on these trees in the Cypress/Tupelo forest

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Last modified: May 11, 2008 by Edward Kujawski (focs@mindspring.com)
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