It was a cold but clear morning as we made our down the Blue Ridge escarpment to begin birding on a tract of the Green River Game Lands. The gusty conditions made for a rather quiet morning but we will still found some good birds. A strong storm had hit this area a couple years back and there were dozens of down trees and large brush piles that sparrows and other songbirds were utilizing for cover We picked through the hordes of Song Sparrows to find an obliging Golden-crowned Kinglet. White-throated Sparrows and Eastern Towhees were also out in good numbers but the sparrow of the day was a lovely Fox Sparrow. Raptors kept us looking in all directions as a couple Red-tailed Hawks soared over our heads, while a Cooper’s Hawk zipped through the dense forest gliding only a few feet over the ground.
Our next stop was Lake Adger and the wetlands just upstream from the lake. A dozen Mallards and a single Wood Duck quietly swam through the beaver wetlands. A Red-shouldered Hawk and small flock of American Goldfinches flew over the lake but besides that it was eerily quiet on the lake.
The community of Mill Spring was our final stop of the day where we checked a few ponds and then surveyed some large pastures. We were rewarded with highlights of a Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, and Savannah Sparrow. The area looked like good habitat for a Loggerhead Shrike and we will definitely keep that in mind next time we return! Good birding and great company today in Polk County, NC!