Old Dead River

John Grego, 07/13/2008

I hiked down the Kingsnake Trail to Old Dead River--it had been a while since I had taken a longer hike at the Park, and I wanted to check water levels at Old Dead River, which had apparently dried up last year. The logging road south of Kingsnake Trail is still in good shape, with only a couple of deadfalls to maneuver around. The giant cane along the road bed is dense for long stretches, but still passable. At the fifth bridge (now destroyed) beyond the Kingsnake Trail, I joined Running Gut to travel to Old Dead River.

Unfortunately, I didn't consult my John Cely map, and took a wrong turn. It was pretty easy to figure out that I was in Big Lake slough, though, so I just followed it for a while until I was heading east, and then turned north to rejoin Running Gut. Old Dead River had a respectable amount of water in it (as compared to last year), though the only water bird present was a Great Egret.

Birding was generally good, though I was surprised not to hear more Red-eyed Vireos, or to see Mississippi Kites at Old Dead River. I borrowed a video camera from a friend, since I usually have one or two "filmable" moments on any given hike--this time around, I shot footage of a young Pileated Woodpecker--it held its wings awkwardly as it moved back and forth on a tree limb and may have been injured.

Bird List

  • Great Egret 1
  • Black Vulture 8
  • Turkey Vulture 4
  • Red-shouldered Hawk 3
  • Red-tailed Hawk 1
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo 6
  • Barred Owl 2
  • Chimney Swift 13
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
  • Belted Kingfisher 1
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
  • Downy Woodpecker 4
  • Hairy Woodpecker 2
  • Pileated Woodpecker 4
  • Acadian Flycatcher 25
  • White-eyed Vireo 24
  • Red-eyed Vireo 4
  • American Crow 3
  • Purple Martin 2
  • Carolina Chickadee 6
  • Tufted Titmouse 8
  • White-breasted Nuthatch 2
  • Carolina Wren 15
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 9
  • Northern Parula 32
  • Prothonotary Warbler 2
  • Swainson's Warbler 1
  • Kentucky Warbler 2
  • Hooded Warbler 7
  • Northern Cardinal 30
  • Indigo Bunting 2

Button bush was growing along the banks of Old Dead River.


Old Dead River, looking south from the north end.


Raccoon skull. A leg bone and clavicle were near by.


Coastal rose gentian was growing along the large boardwalk section of the Kingsnake Trail.


Florida cooter shell (I think). Note the upside-down skull to the lower left.


Japanese climbing fern, an invasive species, could be found along the old road bed.



Pileated Woodpecker with apparently damaged left wing. Birds heard in the background include Carolina Wren, Acadian Flycatcher, Tufted Titmouse, White-eyed Vireo, Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Parula Warbler.
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Last modified: Sep 14, 2008 by Edward Kujawski (focs@mindspring.com)
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