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Re:  Willow Pond, Jefferson County

 

On October 3 I drove to southeast Jefferson County where Clyde Simpson met and guided me on a tour of Willow Pond, a farmstead which he has converted into a rural retreat for social gatherings, weddings, etc.  A hayfield has been maintained on the premises and is surrounded by a meeting house, dance hall, guest house, pond and a gazebo with attractive wedding facilities.

For the birdwatcher and nature buff, the well shaded grounds include bird-friendly fenced roads and a path through a sunny terrain.  I counted 50 Cattle Egrets and several White Ibis foraging in the hay field and Red-headed Woodpeckers and Eastern Bluebirds were conspicuous; Mr. Simpson touted an active bluebird house near the pond.  I listed 16 summering bird species.

On November 1 I again "retreated" to Willow Pond, this time with Marvin Collins, where we added 16 fall bird species to the list which is now as follows:

Double-crested Cormorant                                     American Crow

Cattle Egret                                                               Carolina Wren

White Ibis                                                                  House Wren

Canada Goose                                                         Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Turkey Vulture                                                          Eastern Bluebird                                                                                                                                                                                  Hermit Thrush

Red-shouldered Hawk                                            American Robin

Wild Turkey (tracks)                                                 Gray Catbird

Mourning Dove                                                        Northern Mockingbird

Belted Kingfisher                                                     White-eyed Vireo

Red-headed Woodpecker                                      Yellow-rumped Warbler

Red Bellied Woodpecker                                        Pine Warbler

Northern Flicker                                                       Northern Cardinal

Pileated Woodpecker                                              Eastern Towhee

Eastern Phoebe                                                       Chipping Sparrow

Barn Swallow                                                           White-throated Sparrow

Blue Jay

                                                                        

I also plan to compile a plant species list at Willow Pond which incidentally hosts a Chinese Ginkgo tree but, thankfully, NO CHINESE TALLOW TREES.  It should prove interesting to compare flora there with that of other Big Bend counties.  Mr. Simpson wishes to promote the natural beauty of Jefferson County and I am more than glad to contribute to his wishes.

I look forward to future monthly trips to Willow Pond from where I plan to gather bird records and data in neglected Jefferson and Madison counties during return trips to Tallahassee.

Mr. Simpson requests that visitors call well ahead of time regarding brochures, fees and other matters regarding admittance to the retreat.  Telephone No. 850/222-4400.  

Gail E. Menk

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