Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Visions Become Reality

Stillwell Park Fox Squirrel
Many times, most times we come up with ideas which never turn into reality. On occasions; they do. Some spin their wheels in the same old rut from year to year to year; others don't. One of the most enjoyable periods of my life was during the years of 2007 and 2008 and one place that made it so was Stillwell Park, near Marlinton, WV. My work day started in Marlinton at 1:00 pm and my mornings were free. I could be found in the mornings five days per week either on Knapps Creek, Marlin Mountain or at Stillwell Park. Life was good, but things change, companies change hands and life goes on. I have not been in Marlinton since early in 2009. But during my time there, I discovered a birdwatchers paradise. I have never seen such diversity of habitats and species as can be found in such a small area as Stillwell Park. I never saw one other person enjoying the bounty; either.

Two or three years ago, I mentioned this to a couple of the active members of the Pocahontas Nature Club. They took off on the project from there and the Stillwell Nature Trail has become reality. The grand opening will be on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 8am. Sadly, I know that I will not be able to attend. But the resource is there for all to enjoy. You can read the article in the Pocahontas Times and be there to participate in the opening of the trail; if you can make it. I would encourage all birders and nature lovers to make this lovely little park a destination anytime you are in Pocahontas County. It is worth the trip and wildlife abounds; year-round.

I regret that I could not participate, hands on in this project. But, I am glad it has become a reality. The area is home to a numerous and diverse bird population. The records that I kept and submitted for the project do not touch the numbers of species that use the area throughout the year. All of my observation were made between about 11am and 12:30 pm. These are not exactly prime-time birding hours. Flycatchers, warblers, woodpeckers,vireos and sparrows abound. Raptors soar above and  migrating waterfowl and shorebirds stop to rest. What more could you ask for?

Some of my most memorable sightings include the day I was sitting in my truck at the sewage pond, reading the USA Today and a Virginia Rail popped up out of the ditch and stared at me. Least Bitterns used the area on a couple of occasions, I found them just above the discharge into the Greenbrier. I found White-rumped Sandpipers in the flooded field at the pavillion one May morning. One day in the fall the un-cut grasses were covered with Grasshopper Sparrows. On a Winter day, I saw the largest number of Tree Sparrows that I have ever seen. You just never know what you may find if you are just observant. You will be rewarded for your time, no matter what. For some odd reason; I never did see an eagle there. So right there is something to look for and record. Just get out there and do it. Thank you Pocahontas Nature Club !

One thing I really regret about my time in the area is that I was between cameras during this time period. I finally purchased a real camera in January of 2009. This fox squirrel photo is the only one I have from Stillwell  Park. It is one of the very first digital photos that I ever took.

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