Thursday, June 07, 2007

Vermont mop-up, Western Mass, and into Connecticut

June 27, 2007

Since I was at the south end rather than the Boreal end of Vermont, just a short drive north, the birds were enough different to make five more species easy, like Eastern Kingbird and Indigo Bunting, Field Sparrow and House Wren. I wanted to explore some as long as I was there, so started checking out some of the Connecticut River Birding Trail map sites, and whatever I could get out of the book which hadn't been studied for this quadrant. One place that interested me was Jamaica State Park, northwest of Putney. But I never got there, since I found Townsend State Park. I had pulled into a lot near the Visitor's Center, a nice old CCC building. I was messing around in the truck when the lady who ran the place, maybe she was bored, came down and asked what's up. I told her my tale of a hundred species etc, and mentioned looking for a motel to get a shower etc, and she says, "Why don't you use the shower here?" I did, and insisted she collect a day use fee too, which she had been willing to ignore. Being clean made everything much better.

I wandered back east to the river, Herrick's Cove, which looked like a great migration place, but wasn't too active at mid=day in almost mid summer. From there I was back into Bellow's Falls where I'd started the loop, found more maps, found Wifi, and found a gear store. I love gear stores, always end up with some little gadget to play with. Best of all, after a couple of hours walking around Herrick's, which has a lot of habitat variety along with the backwater ponds and wetlands from the river, I found a cheap (and good) Chinese restaurant for lunch. What a treat. The day had gone from wallowing in a bad sleep head to well fed, well washed, and a dose of consuming. Birds too.

I headed back south on the Interstate and then west at Greenfield, Mass. The idea was to go to Mount Graylock, highest point in the state, and try for some Boreals. It was slow driving, and hot too, but clouds were building and some spits of rain had started as I got on the Graylock road. That didn't last long, the road that is. Just barely out of North Adams, and it was closed for repairs. Turned back, found a state Park north of town, Clarksburg SP, and got into the office just as a big thunderstorm let loose. It broke the heat and the nurse who was tending the office turned out to be very good conversation. We ended up on dying parents, a topic fresh for both and still worth of airing. Another unexpected blessing in a day filled with them. I camped there and it rained and thundered well into the night.

June 28, 2007

The storm broke the heat, but it was a drippy morning in the dark spruce woods around the campsite. Went the few miles into town for breakfast, and put some clothes in the laundromat, then returned to the park. There was a lake in the park, so I headed down there, a little more open, but still not very good. My records show mostly new warblers, Boreals, and sparrows, plus a Rose-breasted. Sort of makes sense, it was the highest and northernmost ground even without getting up Graylock. The state park seemed to have a bad resident goose problem, and there were barriers that must have suppressed other waterfowl as well. Back to town for dryer and folding, and then headed south down the western edge of Massachusetts.

I stopped at two Mass Audubon sanctuaries, Pleasant Valley and Bart's Cobble. Both were excellent places. Pleasant Valley had a lot of water, small creeks and ponds and pools, while Bart's Cobble was more flatland and meadows, and a woodland on some steep ground above a small river. Got a Spotted Sandpiper there, first of the trip I believe. At the Cobble I had left the truck in the parking lot, and when I got back one of the staff came out and said they'd noticed my collection of stickers and decals, and thought I should have one for the Mass Audubon land preservation organization. Nice addition to the collection. It actually ended up being a pretty successful day, adding 19 species, for a total of 122 when I left Mass and headed into the northwest corner of Connecticut. That was 31 for the state for the trip.


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