Wednesday found Mr. B and I heading for Pungo Lake to look for tundra swans and whatever else we could find in the area. First, for those of you that wondering how I have done after my first chemo, I feel surprisingly good. So far, except for being more tired than usual, I have been lucky. No nausea and no hair loss so far. Life is good and thanks to all of you that asked how I was doing. Now back to the Tundra Swans.
Pungo Lake is located within the Pocosin National Wildlife Refuge near Columbia, NC. Wildlife abounds in all seasons but in the winter it’s all about the migratory birds. From the website: “December through February is an exciting time at the refuge. Thousands of green-winged teal, mallards, American widgeon, black ducks, pintails, northern shovelers, ring necked ducks, and tundra swans make the Pocosin Lakes moist soil management units and lakes their winter home. Dabbling ducks and tundra swans harvest seed from the bottoms of moist soil management units; geese and swans glean grain from crop fields. Overwintering songbirds eat seed from native shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses. Bald eagles, barred owls, great blue herons, and American egrets are also among the cold weather sights. Black bears lumber through the farm fields scavenging grain left by farmers; white-tailed deer browse on twigs and bark. Visitors may drive or hike throughout the refuge areas not closed for wintering waterfowl. The refuge’s visitor center and Scuppernong River interpretive Boardwalk provide opportunities for the public to learn about the refuge and its wildlife and habitats.”
This post won’t show off the best of my camera skills but I hope that you enjoy the photos of our travels around the lake. We arrived late – about 1 PM and we left just as the sun was setting. Check out what we saw! Click on any photo to see a slideshow of larger photos.
Before long, we came across the fields that held thousands of Tundra Swans. It is always so exciting to see and hear thousand of these birds grouped together. They eat, fly around and bicker like children (or presidential candidates 🙂 ).This Northern Harrier was hunting over one of the many fields surrounding the lake.
There are many kinds of ducks. Most of them were much faster than I am and by the time I raised my camera, they were gone! Below are some Ring-necked Ducks (male & female), three American Coots and I snapped a photo of of these other strange looking ducks or whatever they are, that turned out to be decoys.
There are thousands of red-winged blackbirds. Here is a flock that was foraging in a field that we drove by.
We went to the observation tower to see if any birds were on the lake. There was nothing up close but looking to the other shore, we could see thousand of snow geese. They would fly up to the tree tops and then disappear, only to fly up again. It is something that you can’t imagine, until you see this spectacle. This photo is not all that good because they were so far away but this gives you an idea of what we were seeing.
We drove the roads for the entire afternoon and left as the sun was setting. It was a great day for a number of reasons. I didn’t think that I would be able to get to the lake this year because of health problems. Being in this area is good for what ails you though. 🙂 I felt refreshed in so many ways as we left the area. If ever you have a chance to visit here, please be sure to check it out!!I will end this post with a sight that I have never been lucky enough to see when visiting the Pungo Lake area. This was taken sometime in the last week by Mike Dunn who writes a blog called the Roads End Naturalist. He spends a LOT of time at Pungo and even does tours. Below is a video that he posted.