Let's face it, last year's trip to North Carolina didn't go so well. I was completely incapacitated by seasickness on the pelagic trip and was really left wondering what might have been had I actually been able to fully participate in the trip. Though I did get a hot tip on a seaside sparrow, still the only one I've ever seen.
So a return was in order. Hattaras isn't an easy place to get to, last year we drove all the way which was probably a mistake. This year flying to Norfolk cut the drive from 15 hours down to 3. And between Norfolk and Cape Hattaras lies the Great Dismal Swamp, a place I'd never visited. It held no less than the most Prothonotary Warblers I've ever seen in my life.
I haven't managed a Yellow-billed Cuckoo yet this year in Berrien, but in this Virginian swamp they were easy to hear and see.
Birds weren't the only things active. The place was full of Tiger Swallowtails and Eastern Comma butterflies.
But it was a different warbler that draws birders here, another southerner with a smooth down-slurred song. And even if its content sounds phonetically like "Ooh, ooh, stepped in Poo," the somewhat long rangy Swainson's Warbler loses none of his appeal.
Even on the way out it was hard to leave with a Summer Tanager building a nest directly over the trail.
The name of the trail? Somewhat inauspiciously, the Washington Ditch.
Want another study in contrasts? George Washington got a ditch named after him. Our 41st President?