Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baldpate Mountain

On the first morning of a week's rainy spell I assuaged some restlessness by hiking up Baldpate Mountain through some good eastern hardwood forest habitat after the latest line of storms had come through, although there was still light drizzle and quite a lot of water dripping from the trees. I started at the parking lot off Fiddler's Creek Road and decided to walk uphill on the road rather than slip on wet rocks along the trail.

Yellow Warbler, Eastern Towhee and Eastern Wood-Pewee were around the parking lot. On the walk up Wood Thrush, Ovenbird sounded off. Much of the birding today was by ear since the viewing conditions were pretty bad. I heard a distant Veery in the forest. But overall it was quiet, and it being cool and wet you really can't blame the birds. Towards the top of the road as the forest started to thin I added more Wood-Pewees, then Indigo Bunting, Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow and Yellow-throated Vireo. Up at the grassy meadow behind the house complex (the alleged visitor center that is never open) there were more Field Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, Common Yellowthroats and a couple of unenthused Blue-winged Warblers.

Hiking an upper section of the Summit Trail before it drops off steeply downhill I could hear Worm-eating Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler (migrant), more Ovenbirds but no Hooded Warblers. Going back down the hill on the road again I added Rose-breasted Grosbeak (a singing mail), possibly another distant Worm-eating, and on getting back to the parking lot once more there was a Northern Parula. Parula's sometimes breed around here, but this one was just as likely to be a migrant.

Before I went home I decided to check on the entrance on the other side of Baldpate, at Pleasant Plains Road, however once I found the trail head at the powerline cut the drizzle had really cut down below tree-top level. This entrance is worth exploring more, particularly since the powerline cut might attract more warblers (like Blue-winged), although it's not really quite the right habitat for Golden-winged or Chestnut-sided.

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