Birding at Weldon Springs
by Pat Quintenz
© 1997 Pat Quintenz
Poo on those TV guys who say, "It doesn't get any better than this." Who needs a beer when you're in the woods on one of the most delightful days of the season. The weather was perfect and birds were everywhere.
In the back section of Weldon Springs State Park, next to the amphitheater, is the start of a trail that winds around hidden ponds, crosses the stream via slippery rocks and a wooden bridge, and comes out in a clearing with bluebird houses along a black locust section of woods. The trail then leads back along Salt Creek. This day it led into Salt Creek which covered a good part of the area due to the heavy spring rains. Before I turned back I watched for awhile the fish swimming on the trail.
Ovenbirds and waterthrush skulked in the shadows, and my favorite warblers were much in evidence. Gorgeous golden wings, chestnut-sideds, magnolias, redstarts; I identified 13 warblers and if I had a better ear and a quicker eye, I could have spotted many more of the 30-plus species that migrate through. I heard the pheasants and the recently reintroduced wild turkeys; saw orioles, and catbirds. I gloried in the more than 60 different birds I did identify. It was May 12. A beautiful day at Weldon Springs.
Three weeks later I returned in high anticipation. The paths were more overgrown, birdlife was scarce and what remained was well hidden. The mosquitoes raised welts the size of pingpong balls. My second batch of poison ivy was itching madly as the sweat rolled down my body. Get me out of here! I found a bench in the shade lakeside, fortified myself with a cold drink and a snack. Then I noticed the bluebirds feeding their young. How beautiful their color! How wonderful to see them come back after years of absence! Yes, it doesn't get much better than this!
copyright 1997 Pat Quintenz, all rights reserved