North Carolina county #50 Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge
Towards the end of the day on Thursday, after much driving, I arrived at the trailhead of Kuralt Trail in Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge has lots of stream access for boating and is supposed to have lots of birds on this trail.
It had rained for several days leading up to this trip, and that combined with the hot and humid weather conspired to turn this location into the definition of a mosquito infested swamp. I thought I had covered myself well enough with insect repellant, but apparently I missed the back of each elbow, which by the time I escaped the swamp were covered in about 20 bites each.
My first animal encounter was with a large Red-bellied Watersnake which slithered quickly away as I approached within a couple of feet, startling me.
It was hard to get photos in the dark cover, especially as I was swarmed with mosquitos as I tried to hold still for a shot. I managed to capture this somewhat goofy looking Summer Tanager.
And although a relatively common bird, it is always more interesting to me when I find a large bird like a Great Egret deep in a swamp or forest instead of out in the open.
The trail is a 1.5 mile loop, which I guess I walked because when I got about halfway it became completely flooded, and not wanting to wade through the swamp I turned back. After an hour I had had enough and escaped. I think this is probably a very birdy spot but you need to come loaded with insect repellant and probably come at a time when the area is not quite as flooded.