Historic Bethabara Park

One of the best things about moving to North Carolina has been the abundance of walking trails, greenways, and parks. While the in-laws were visiting we traveled up to Winston Salem and went to Historic Bethabara Park. This is one of more than fifty city parks and greenways operated by the city of Winston Salem and maintained by the Department of Recreation and Parks. Historic Bethabara Park is the site of the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina founded in 1753 and encompasses 115 acres of walking trails, historical buildings, and natural areas.

The photo above is of the Gemeinhaus (1788) just outside a reconstruction of the French and Indian War Fort. Directly behind this palisade is a set of two trails, the first is part of the Bethabara Greenway while the second is connected to Historic Bethabara Park. The Bethabara Greenway trail is paved and spans 2.7 miles stretching across Bethabara Park and Historic Bethabara Park mainly following Mill Creek and Monarcas Creek. We briefly walked this trail doing a bit of bird watching. In fact, this was the first official birding trip for my father-in-law. As part of Historic Bethabara Park the second trail (Woodland Loop) follows along Monarcas Creek and is connected to a series of trails circling around a forest. This great dirt path follows along a riparian zone eventually veering into the woods.

Lately I have been focusing most of my interest in birds looking to the canopy and understory, but I decided this time to do some investigating around the creek bed. Having been warm for weeks I was curious what might be hiding under these rocks. The first rock I flipped proved to be a success!! Although, I lost the salamander in silt and surrounding rocks. Not wanting to give up I flipped the next rock……and sure enough, there was another individual with a special treat!

 

This is a Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) with some eggs. This beautiful salamander is a lifer for me!!! After some reading I found that females lay eggs under rocks in streams and usually stay around guarding their egg clutch. After which the larvae stay in the stream for a year or two until metamorphosis and then become a semi-terrestrial amphibian.

I was able to get a few good pictures at which time I decided that it was a good idea to return her back to the eggs she was guarding. I am definitely interested in going back to this park to do some further investigating and to check out the rest of the trails around this area. Here is the list of birds we spotted, small but still had a fun time.

Song Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

American Robin

Eastern Towhee

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Common Grackle

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Turkey Vulture

Mourning Dove

References:

Historic Bethabara Park
http://www.cityofws.org/Home/Departments/RecreationAndParks/BethabaraPark
Map of Winston Salem Parks and Greenways
http://www.cityofws.org/Home/Departments/RecreationAndParks/ParksAndGreenways/Articles/ParksAndGreenways
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
http://www.uga.edu/srelherp/salamanders/eurcir.htm
Herps of North Carolina – Salamanders
http://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_nc/salamanders/salamanders.html
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~ by npvbroek on 04/12/2011.

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