Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pee Dee NWR, NC

Howdee all,

Yesterday Jeff and I drove about an hour to Pee Dee National Wildlife Refugee.

National Park Overview:

Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge Situated along the Pee Dee River, Pee Dee NWR contains 8,443 acres in Anson and Richmond Counties, NC. The refuge was established to provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl.
Cooperative farming in field impoundments, water level management, and the bottomland hardwood forest along Brown Creek provide excellent habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Wintering waterfowl numbers fluctuate greatly, but can exceed 10,000 birds yearly. The refuge also supports a small population of wintering Southern James Bay Canada geese. Pee Dee Refuge is located a few hundred yards from the once famous "Lockhart Gaddy Wild Goose Refuge". In the 1950's, Gaddy's pond wintered more than 10,000 Canada geese a year. Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge was established in October 1963 to provide additional habitat for these geese and other waterfowl. Local numbers of wintering migratory geese have dwindled in recent years, but the refuge remains an important wintering area for the remaining geese and thousands of ducks. via park website


We usually visit this refugee in the fall, when the water impoundments are full, and the weather is chilly.

Yesterday was quite different. It was very hot and steamy, and the water impoundments were just about dry.

There was still plenty of bird activity.

Some of the first birds to greet us were Eastern bluebirds….

Indigo buntings and Blue Grosbeaks were singing from the fields on either side of the road to the pond.

Pee Dee NWR_022

   Caterpillars had enclosed this small tree and leaves..

Pee Dee NWR_030

I looked on the top of the tree for caterpillars and saw none..just droppings, inside the cocoon of eaten leaves.

Pee Dee NWR_027

The leaves were stripped of their green with only the veins left.

Pee Dee NWR_028

As i investigated further I found the caterpillars in the bottom of the tree still eating what green was left.

Pee Dee NWR_032

   We continued our walk to the woods..

Upon approaching the first pond we heard..a strange crowing coming from the area..

We couldn't figure out what it was, Wild turkey?

I searched the area from where the nonstop crowing was coming from.

This is the critter that was shouting his presence.

What was he doing in a Nature preserve…

Did frustrated owners drop him off?

He was crowing constantly…and extremely loud.

He was quite handsome.Pee Dee NWR_036

It was still early morning, but becoming hot very quickly…we went into the woods to see what birds we could find. Pee Dee_004

Ahh…much cooler….Pee Dee_006

The forest was alive with birds calling..

  Vireos…Chickadees and warblers.

I found this non bird goodie on the ground…

Chicken of the Woods

 I usually find this growing on wood in the fall. I didn't excavate the area to find out what it was growing on.

Pee Dee NWR_044I just enjoyed its beauty …

I would normally pick this and eat it, depending upon what type of dead tree it is growing on.

But because this was a NWR I wouldn't pick it.Pee Dee NWR_059  We continued our walk identifying the bird calls we were hearing and then finding the birds.

This little frog was crossing the pathway.

He stood frozen as I took photos…Pee Dee NWR_064We heard Ovenbirds throughout the woods..and watched one family of Ovenbirds, parents feeding the young.

I was able to snatch this not so good photo of an Ovenbird.Pee Dee NWR_067Acadian Flycatcher…ID by call Pee Dee NWR_099Female Summer TanagerPee Dee NWR_101 Lots of Butterflies aroundPee Dee NWR_068

I believe this to be a Mourning CloakPee Dee NWR_082Because they have drained the water containment areas there were very few water birds…We did see some Canada Geese and Wood ducks.

This mother stands watch over her young.Pee Dee NWR_076 She looks like a stern mother.. Pee Dee NWR_080I noticed this Lily deep in the woods…I didn't feel like walking into the woods to get a better shot. 

I had already found a few ticks on me..and didn't want any more.Pee Dee NWR_089I tried keying it out this morning..but so far don't know what kind. Pee Dee NWR_091 We saw several Yellow-billed Cuckoo..

Best photo I could get…too far away for my lens..

Pee Dee NWR_092Below you can see the containment pond…not much water this time of year..

The water is drained for the summer months and filled again for winter waterfowl migrants.   Pee Dee_010Another small pond filled with duckweed…Pee Dee_013I am still trying to ID this butterfly..

  So far it looks similar to Painted Lady..anyone know?Pee Dee NWR_106      We had a great morning-afternoon birding..even though it was sooooo Hot.

It was nice to get home and take a dip in Sickstas Pool!

Birds of the day in order of being seen.  

Red-eyed vireo
Eastern Wood Pee wee
Eastern bluebird
Summer tanager
Brown headed cowbird
Indigo bunting
Great crested flycatcher
Blue grosbeak
Carolina chickadee
Carolina wren
American crow
Blue jay
Acadian flycatcher
Tufted titmouse
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Common yellowthroat
Barn swallow
Canada goose
Chipping sparrow
Eastern Phoebe
Northern parula
Yellow-throated vireo
Northern cardinal
Yellow-throated warbler
Wood thrush
Acadian flycatcher
Pine warbler
Blue-headed Vireo
Red-bellied woodpecker
Downy woodpecker
Yellow-billed cuckoo
Prothonotary warbler
American redstart
Cedar waxwings
Wood duck  
Turkey vulture
Red-shouldered hawk


  1. Nice refuge. Glad you finally got out birding, even if hot nice to have a pool to cool off in.
    We have the Western variety of your Eastern Tent caterpillars that do that to the Aspen. Stay cool.

  2. The lily is an Atamasco Lily, also called Swamp Lily. It's pretty common in the swampy lowlands.

    The frog looks like American Toad.

    Nice! That's a part of the state I've never been.

  3. The butterfly is a question mark. Strange names your hiking sites have!

  4. Sounds like an busy day at the refuge. That's quite a bird list! Love the frog, Summer Tanager & rooster. Thank you for taking us along on one of you many wonderful adventures.


  5. I recently got my first adult butterfly field guide (I had an old "First" book that I found at a thrift store) and read it cover to cover in one night. That beautifully ragged wing shape made me think that it was a comma, and a quick perusal of the Butterflies and Moths of North America site led me to believe that your butterfly might be an Eastern Comma. But we'll wait to see what the experts say when they show up. Gorgeous photo of a gorgeous buggy though. So vivid! I think I'm in love.

  6. Looks like a great time at the refuge. Love the chicken of the woods. And all the birds, butterflies and the pretty flower, Dawn!

  7. ...sounds like a really nice morning of birding. I love your Ovenbird can see his little orange stripe standing on end, and lucky you to see the cuckoo. I love catching sight of them in the woods. Last year I saw one three times throughout the summer, but no luck so far this year. Have fun!

  8. What a fabulous Day!! I think you butterfly is a Comma.

  9. Butterflies, bugs and chickens?

    Looks like a great place to chill out and enjoy nature at her finest. Nice list of birds and great photos!

  10. A polite request: Please call it a National Wildlife Refuge and not a National Park.

    The National Wildlife Refuge System often struggles to separate itself from the National Parks. The refuges are in a different land system (run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service) and they have different rules.

    National Wildlife Refuges are supposed to be the only federal lands where wildlife comes first.

    Thanks for the great report!

  11. Gaelyn
    thanks Gaelyn..its a bit warmer that where you are now..Bet you still have some snow.

    Thanks Nate..I always appreciate help with ID! You must check out the area. Nice in the Fall as well.

    Thanks Bobbie..some say comma and some say Question mark for that butterfly..Now I have a big question mark..hee hee

    Julie G.
    Julie..Glad to take you along! Love your happy you are doing it..Your photos are amazing!!

    Earl Cootie
    Earl..I am not quite sure what butterfly I have..I have been told it was a question mark..haa..

    Thanks so much..I really wanted to take that beautiful mushroom home and eat it for dinner..

    Thanks...I hope you get to see the Cuckoo this year!

    Thanks for the ID far i have heard Comma and Question mark..which has me ??

    Thanks was a great place..didnt expect to see that silly chicken.

    Lisa M
    Howdee Lisa.
    Thanks for stopping by...

    I did refer to Pee Dee as a National Wildlife refuge..

    The only area it was referred to as National Park was when I quoted from the Park Website..Strange that they would say National park..

    It was word for word from the site..
    There is more than one instance that they say National Park on the Website..

    You might want to check it out and mention something to
    about what you say is incorrect.

    thanks anyway for mentioning it..

  12. Wow you guy's saw a lot of birds on that walk! Watch out for those ticks!

  13. The photos of the leaves are amazing to me!

    I have a soft spot in my heart for the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. I did my college internship surveying for them on the Snake River in Eastern Idaho. We found several of them, but I haven't found any since. I think they're just beautiful!

  14. Diane..
    Yeah..I check for ticks all the time..

    Jenny and Jake
    Thanks!Come to North Carolina..I have heard the cuckoos on most of my walks here.


ok what do you really think?????