Upon arriving at the refuge the first bird we saw was a Red-tailed Hawk. We took this as a good sign we would see some raptors today.
We found the area, parked and packed to hike in. After a little more than 1/2 mile, we realized we took the wrong path, All was not lost though. There were a couple of young Merlin that were desperately trying to catch some prey. Their hunting skills were definitely lacking and repeated swoop downs on large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds that were feeding on seed heads in the field yielded to results. One young one that was nearby unfortunately was sitting in the shadows. We had to jack the ISO up to 2000 to even get a shot light enough to get any detail.
Finally moving on to try and find the correct area, we soon realized we were looking at another 1 1/2 mile hike to get to the location and back. With limited time and shorter days, we decided we would come back another day before the area was closed. On the way back out we spotted an Osprey sitting in a tree doing some serious grooming.
Back to the front side of the refuge, we hit the back area. We were quite surprised to find one area that was still warbler rich. In one small area we found a Black-and-white, American Redstart, Northern Parula and still a few Prothonotary Warblers.
The day was getting late and we decided to make one last run down Wildlife Drive. We spotted a Kestrel hunting and stopped to watch it for a while. They are such pretty birds.
One last stop going over the lake and an eagle popped out of a small island of trees and starting flying across the lake. A nice bird to end the day with.