John Grego, 01/2008
I hiked Red Bluff Road in preparation for my guided hike in two weeks. The swamp is flooded for the second time in a month, so this was an opportunity to explore a contingency plan for the guided hike in case the floodplain was inaccessible.
I skipped the first 3 jeep roads on the way out and took the fourth jeep road toward the floodplain bluffs. With a little exploring, I stumbled across an old home site that will make a nice stop on the outing. There was plenty of brick scatter there and it looked as though the field was overtaken with grape. I thought I would find more birds than I did, but I did see one of my Fox Sparrows there. I continued down the jeep road, and followed the edge of a green pond for awhile. I backtracked to the jeep road (I found out later that if I had followed the green pond just a little bit more, I would have rejoined the road) and found my way blocked at a low spot, as anticipated, by flooding.
From there, I backtracked to follow a side road through the pine plantation as a shortcut to Clear Lake (which wasn't clear). There was a well-defined foot trail leading both north and south. Heading north, both the beech bluff and the muck swamp were very pleasant to walk along. I retraced my steps south and saw the distinctive leaning cypress that I had seen from across Clear Lake on my previous trips. Continuing south, I rejoined the jeep road, then walked the loop formed by the next two jeep roads (just to make sure there would be no surprises on the hike), and ended the day at the high bluff at the end of the first jeep road. There was a nice mixed flock at the base of the bluff among the impressively tall trees that grow there.
Birding was good, though I had to work my way through the early afternoon doldrums.
Symmetric woodpecker holes
One of 4 hog wallows seen on the hike
Adjacent trees had been rubbed and scraped
Crocus and jonquils were emerging at the old home site
The trail to Elder Lake was blocked by floodwater
Beautiful beech bluff along the edge of the muck swamp
Jan 31, 2009 by Edward Kujawski
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