By Edith Tatum
Overview: Eno River State Park is located in Durham and Orange Counties. The park consists of nearly 2700 acres of land which provides a green space for a rapidly growing area. There are over 18 miles of hiking trails that lead you through hardwood forests and by the softly murmuring river. Camping, backpacking, canoeing, fishing are just a few of the things you can do in the park. Bird watching is my favorite pastime at the Eno. Of the 450+ species seen in North Carolina, 152 have been recorded in the park and 62 of these are known to have nested there.
Getting there:From I-85 South to Durham, take the Cole Mill exit, turn Right, after 5 miles the road will enter the park. From I-85 North, take Exit 170 between Hillsborough and Durham. Make a U-turn after coming off the exit ramp, go under the interstate a quarter mile, turn right on Pleasant Green Road, then turn left at the intersection with Cole Mill Road.
Coordinates for Google Earth/Maps: 36 04 26 N, 79 00 22 W
Where to go:
My favorite birding area in the park is at the main park at the extreme end of Cole Mill Road. At the last parking lot I follow the service road by the old field habitat. This is where the Eastern Red Cedars are kept busy in every season. Prairie Warblers, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeaks advertise territory during the spring. Brown Thrashers and Mockingbirds are there all summer. Cedar waxwings swoop down in huge flocks to feed on the cedar berries in the winter.
The service road takes me to a meadow habitat where I find Bluebirds, Phoebes and Cardinals. There are hedges around the meadow that is perfect for White-throated Sparrows and Juncos. Pecan trees here are a good place to look for Scarlet Tanagers in season.
There is an opening at the back between the old house and storage shed that takes you to a forest trail. I call this Kinglet Alley. It's where the Kinglets hang out in the winter time and a beautiful walk in any season. Look for Ovenbirds and Hooded Warblers in the spring and summer and Hermit Thrushes in the winter.
The end of the forest trail empties into the power line clearing, forest clearing habitat. Enter quietly as hawks and vultures sometimes use the towers as a roost. There is a wet and shrubby area here that is great for Swamp and Song sparrows. We are now in Raptor Alley. Look for Red-tailed Hawks. The wet area in the middle of the trail I call Eno Lake. Look for salamander eggs in the winter and the larvae in earliest spring. Look for Indigo Buntings in the spring and summer.
Follow the river to the right on a fisherman's trail. Woodpeckers including Pileated are here. So are warblers in spring starting with the Yellow-throated Warbler that appears after the tent caterpillars and before the leaves come out. Follow the river until you get to the first right hand trail and continue with all right turns until you come out on the back side of the meadow. A perfect 1½ mile birding with 5 habitats(old field, meadow, forest trail, forest clearing, and river forest).
Facilities: Details taken from the park's web site at http://ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/enri/main.php. Cole Mill Access has a handicapped-accessible picnic shelter, picnic tables, restrooms and water fountain. Pathway from parking lot to park office is accessible as well as the entrances and the restrooms and water fountain. The picnic area at Cole Mill Access and the park office have parking spaces provided for persons with disabilities. Park Hours: November-February 8am-6pm; March, October 8am-7pm; April, May, September 8am-8pm; June-August 8am-9pm. Cole Mill access area opens at 9am and closes 30 minutes earlier than the park. Pleasant Green Access opens at 8:30am and closes 30 minutes earlier than the park. Park office hours: 8am-4:30pm Monday through Friday. Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day. No entrance fee. Telephone: Park office (919) 383-1686.
Revised 12/13/2008 email@example.com
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