We will start our day at Cowan’s Ford Waterfowl Refuge is a private refuge owned by Duke Energy Corporation and is an excellent place to view waterfowl in the winter. A covered viewing stand on top of a hill provides an excellent view of 2 small ponds and a large meadow. In addition to a resident flock of Canada Geese, a number of ducks may be found in the winter. These include Hooded, and sometimes, Common Mergansers, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Bufflehead, and American Black Duck. Wintering songbirds may also be found and may include Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and sparrows, such as Swamp, Savannah, Song, and White-throated. On our last visit we added several Le Conte’s Sparrows to the refuge checklist.
Our second stop of the day will be McDowell Nature Reserve on the shore of Lake Wylie. This quiet and undeveloped preserve has 7 miles of trails, streams and a Piedmont prairie restoration project. The Preserve is also well known for its diversity of spring ephemeral wild flowers and is among the best areas in Mecklenburg County to view Pileated Woodpeckers. The piedmont prairie restoration area of the preserve provides habitat for a federally endangered plant: Schweinitz's sunflower, a federal candidate species: Georgia aster, and one rare plant: prairie dock.
You can combine this trip with our second Charlotte area trip on February 9 and even our Lincoln County trip on February 10.