North Carolina county #49 Roanoke River Wetlands Game Lands
I did a three-day trip in the northeast of the state to view as many counties as I could up there. My first stop was the Roanoke River Wetlands Game Lands. The area of the Game Lands I went to was near the Conoho Bend of the Roanoke River, and required me to ride a dirt access road around the edge of some farms. When I pulled up a pickup truck was blocking the way but he pulled over. I drove up next to him and mentioned to the older gentleman that I was going to the Game Lands.
I am not sure if he could hear me – I noticed his hearing aid and the gun on his hip as he got out of his car – so I told him again as he came to my window. He pointed up the road a bit and told me they had it gated off right now. He said he wasn’t sure why, and that I could just drive around the gate but that I didn’t hear it from him. Having come all that way, I followed his advice and after passing livestock, agricultural fields, and through a forest, I came to a large clearing with paths around it.
It was a nice day and I really enjoyed this spot. There were a lot of birds and I caught my first of year view of a brilliantly yellow Prothonotary Warbler, a nice singing male Common Yellowthroat, a Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak and a couple of Indigo Buntings. At one point I flushed a Great Egret that had been hiding only ten feet from me. There was even a viewing platform built into the middle of the clearing.
Best of all, as I was leaving a great looking Mississippi Kite came hovering over my car, allowing me to get some photos.
One of our best looking raptors, it was a real treat to watch this guy at close range. This was only my second sighting of one of these and I was very excited.
Honestly, I would have spent the whole day in this area as I am sure I missed birds by leaving after less than 2 hours. But I had already been on the road over 4 hours by then and still had another spot to visit, so I moved on. This completely private and very large area was an ideal birding spot and I highly recommend it.