Monday, August 17, 2009

Hiking & Birding Mount Wachusett

Yes you heard that right, Mount Wachusett. It seems as if a couple of people out there thought my assessment of Mount Wachusett was a little harsh yesterday. One was a high school friend who reads my blog and was confused because she and I skied Mount Wachusett every winter when we were younger (I want to point out I was not talking about the ski resort yesterday as those two are separate and I still think its great to have a place to ski so close to home even though I don't downhill ski anymore after breaking my ankle at Waterville Valley, but if I did, I would ski at Wachusett and love it ;o) ). Another came from my friend Alan who offered to show me a Mount Wachusett I had never seen before, so I took him up on his offer.
Anyhow, he showed me some of the back trails that are hidden away around the mountain as proof that you can find serenity along the paths if you know which ones to chose. Bird activity was actually active in some pockets of the trails and one of the first birds we saw along our journey to the summit on the Harrington Trail was this Black-throated Green Warbler which was a most welcome site as I hadn't seen one since Susan's Forbush trip which was a couple of months ago.

Giving me an adorable pose. Sigh, I have missed warblers so much so it was great to see this one so up close an personal. It makes me sad to see fall coming as quickly as it is because I know I will not see many of them again until next spring.

A butt shot for old times sake as those are most of the warbler pictures I get it seems.

We also saw a large pocket of birds at the Harrington/Semuhenna Trail intersection including this Wood Thrush who actually came pretty close to us, but the sun made in impossible for a clear pictures.
A Winter Wren who was part the flock too and I saw this one perched on a log and was happy to get it sitting still as it so rarely does it.
And then this!!!! Yup, my first Dark-eyed Junco sighting in Central Mass since mid to late spring! I didn't expect to see this bird as I had no idea they bred at Wachusett so it was a treat to see to say the least. Hmmmmmmmm.........I am really starting to like Mount Wachusett now, especially the birds!

But Alan wasn't done yet. Nosireee.......He had over 5 miles of trails he had mapped out for us to venture to and I was glad I brought 4 waters as the temps were getting downright steamy with each step we took closer to the summit. Here is Alan being the trooper that he is in his effort to help sway my opinion some. As you can see Alan takes his job as my birding mentor very seriously and will stop at nothing to do what he does best which is teach as he was a teacher once. I don't think he ever had to resort to this in class though!

We finally make it so a section called "The Vista" which was very nice and nothing like the summit which I still don't care for because of all of the congestion and lousy views due to all of the towers. It's also tough for me to see over all of the overgrowth as I am kind of short so seeing much of anything there is quite the challenge for me. This is a much better view in my opinion.

I also used this opportunity to practice my micro-photography some to take pictures of wildflowers and other forms of life.

Wild Wood Asters that seemed to be everywhere we went today.
And another wildflower found upon a wooded path. Not sure what kind this is, but it reminded me of wild Geranium which of course is past bloom now so I don't know what it is. NOTE: Beth M. just emailed me to let me know that the flower above is a Flowering Rasberry. Thanks for the ID on this gorgeous flower Beth!

I have developed an interest in fungi lately as it seems to be everywhere and they are interesting to look at. No idea what this is, but thought it was pretty.

Another cute little mushroom all by itself just begging to have its picture taken. Must get a fungi guide at some point so I can attempt to identify some of them.

And lastly, this groovy shroom that I like the most. Check out the detail, so cool!

So there you have it folks. I climbed Mount Wachusett and I survived!! I even got my picture taken on top of the summit and managed a smile. All in all it was a good day and yes my opinion of Wachusett has changed some since yesterday. See what happens when you keep an open mind. ;o).

We also went to Bolton Flats today which was great after my traumatic episode yesterday ;o), and I will have photos of that tomorrow, including a lifer!

Take care all!


Chris said...

Hi Kim,
Yep sometime we have to forgot our fears and thoughts about some areas and just jump on a trip like yours. it looks like you finally fully enjoyed it and you also got nice pictures... All in all, as you said a fine perfect day!

NCmountainwoman said...

That looks like an intensive hike. Lovely photographs of such a good day.

matthew houskeeper said...

Sometimes two different visits to a place can produce two completely different impressions.


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