Western Boundary

John Grego, 09/2008

I visited the Western Boundary trail hoping to take a look at the damage from summer storms, said to be extensive. I also wanted to check on a couple familiar sites, and see whether it was practicable to reach the Western Boundary road from the Bannister Bridge lot without using the jeep roads on private property.

It was relatively easy to travel along Cedar Creek to the point where a small slough enters the creek. An adjacent property owner has cleared land and appears to be planning to build a house. Skirting the edge of the property, you can follow the NPS boundary markers WSW to the park's gate on the Western Boundary Road. The woods here are quite open and would make a suitable trail, were the trail not so close to private property used for hunting.

I detoured off the boundary road to visit the old shooting range. It's quite overgrown now and won't be recognizable in a few more years. Just past the range, a couple feral hogs (including a large boar) were enjoying a wallow, and ambled casually away when they saw me.

Rejoining the trail, I checked to make sure John Cely's national champion overcup oak hadn't been hurt by the wind storms. My old reference point, a log broken into 4 evenly-sized sections, had long disappeared, so I guessed where to head off-trail. I followed the wrong heading off the road, and it took me awhile to find the tree, which seemed fine.

Walking to Cook's Lake, there was much evidence of wind damage, though alot of it did seem to be dead limbs and old snags. Cook's Lake had apparently been plowed and planted with row crops this year during the drought. The lake is quite full now, and the crops were generally under water. There were several juvenile Little Blue Heron there, which usually aren't easy to find in the western part of the park.

I headed back to the car encountering another feral hog, and some migrant thrush.

Bird List

  • Great Egret 1
  • Little Blue Heron 3
  • Red-shouldered Hawk 1
  • Barred Owl 1
  • Chimney Swift 2
  • Belted Kingfisher 1
  • Red-headed Woodpecker 7
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker 4
  • Downy Woodpecker 3
  • Northern Flicker 7
  • Pileated Woodpecker 7
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
  • White-eyed Vireo 6
  • Blue Jay 2
  • American Crow 3
  • Carolina Chickadee 9
  • Tufted Titmouse 18
  • Carolina Wren 10
  • Swainson's Thrush 1
  • Wood Thrush 4
  • Gray Catbird 2
  • Brown Thrasher 1
  • Tennessee Warbler 2
  • Northern Parula 3
  • Pine Warbler 3
  • Black-and-white Warbler 1
  • American Redstart 2
  • Northern Waterthrush 2
  • Northern Cardinal 16
  • Common Grackle 25

John Cely's national champion Overcup Oak

John Cely's national champion Overcup Oak

A black rat snake on the Western Boundary Road

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Last modified: Sep 29, 2008 by Edward Kujawski (focs@mindspring.com)
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