Date: 11/4/17 6:32 pm From: Nate Dias (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> Subject: Grasshopper Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrow, Sedge Wrens, King Rail, OC Warbler - Santee NWR Pine Island Unit
Two leaders and 15 participants enjoyed a nice bird walk today at the Pine Island Unit of Santee National Wildlife Refuge (limited winter access).
We were treated to long scope looks at a cooperative Grasshopper Sparrow. It was an immature bird that looked orange-faced in the morning light and made us think LeConte's until we got a better look at it. Then it was kind enough to shimmy up a stalk of grass and sun itself for a few minutes. Not far from there was another Grasshopper Sparrow and not far from there a Loggerhead Shrike. Then not far from there we had a backlit Lincoln's Sparrow sitting up in a dead Wax Myrtle.
Not far from there, a King Rail flew from one side of the grassy dike to the other. We later heard one vocalizing insistently from the same area. And we had another Loggerhead Shrike as well.
A little while before all that, a male Northern Harrier swept by and flushed some Wilson's Snipe.
Sedge Wrens were regular sights and sounds in the grassy fields and marsh edges. We had incredible close looks at a few and probably saw and heard 18 for the morning.
We saw and heard hundreds of Swamp Sparrows and about as many Song Sparrows. Myrtle Warblers were abundant and almost a nuisance at times. We had a couple of dozen Savannah Sparrows, slightly fewer White-throated Sparrows, a Field Sparrow and some Chipping Sparrows to make 8 Sparrow species.
Other highlights included a skulky Yellow-breasted Chat, a fairly cooperative Orange-crowned Warbler, Brown-headed and White-breasted Nuthatches, good looks at a Pilated Woodpecker flying across the large field in front of us, and a large White-tailed Deer buck that skirted us along the lake shore.