Two weeks after our first fall hike at Brooker Creek Preserve, the Gray Catbirds came back, and came back in force. A few days earlier I commented upon their absence, then suddenly they flew everywhere making their cat-like call. Naturally they target the Beautyberry bush berries, which coincidentally our hiking photographers also targeted with their cameras during the first hike. I watched this one dart in and out of the bushes eating his fill of the purple berries. He finally noticed me, stopped briefly to pose, and then dived back into the bush to eat. At least, that is how it felt to me. A few hours after seeing and hearing the catbirds we came across several Palm Warblers, another species we missed.
The wildflowers just showing their blooms on our last hike not only came forth in full flower, but the pollinators followed. This Cloudless Sulphur moved back and forth between the flowers.
Plants even bloomed in the creek. I saw this one in the midst of the almost black trees and could not resist the shot. I took it from the bridge, and it took several shots because as we warn everyone: people crossing the bridge cause a slight vibration. I shot this at 400mm hand held, and could feel the bridge vibration as people walked behind me. Image stabilization, called VR in some cameras, can correct for some of that. Not taking a chance, I waited until they crossed, and shot one last time.
This Saturday October 26 is our second and final hike of the series. We hold our Spring series the last Saturdays of March and April.
A bonus to attending this Saturday’s hike: Owl-O-Ween! The Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve along with the Clearwater Audubon Society hold this even each year. Of all the activities, the highlight naturally is the owls. Plan on staying afterward for the festivities.