North Carolina county #77 Rankin Lake Park
Today I took a short trip over to Gaston County and visited Rankin Lake Park.
I was very impressed with the birds here, especially for how busy it was. I ran into a middle school class going around the lake and dozens of other walkers and joggers, including one other birder (who saw some species I missed including Orange-crowned Warbler and Magnolia Warbler).
It looks like waterfowl migration has begun, since there was a mixed flock of Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler on the water.
This is great timing since I just ordered my first spotting scope, which should arrive later today.
It is great to be in the overlap period of waterfowl and warbler migration. Even though I missed the warblers that the other (more experienced) birder found, I still saw 5 warbler species, including a Northern Waterthrush, American Redstarts and a Black-throated Green Warbler. I also spotted a Scarlet Tanager.
There were several areas with dozens of birds flitting through the trees – it was good birding excitement. I got a good amount of photos, most of which you can see in the ebird checklist.
There were a number of Chimney Swifts flying around – I never really bother trying to photograph them since they are so fast and high-flying, but I managed to get something usable this time.
The park has a trail that runs about 1.5 miles around the lake and also connects to the nearby greenway. Both trails seemed very active for birds. This park is an excellent spot and I will be coming back here, especially since it is only about 45 minutes away.