Friday, August 21, 2009

Mount Monadnock-NH

After spending the day by the ocean yesterday, it was only appropriate to spend the next day on land. My birding buddy Alan and I decided to head up to Mount Monadnock to try and escape some of the humidity and maybe if we were lucky enough, get a few birds that don't venture this far down south. You see it has become increasingly difficult to bird in the hot summer months, so you learn to do other things to get you outside as that is where I like being more than anywhere else.

The air was humid and oppressive making our way up White Dot trail and one had to stop frequently for water breaks and pray for a break in the humidity further on up the trail. The air was foggy with a light mist that would help compensate for some of the heat, but the air was still like it has been for the past week or so.

Birds were scarce, except for many of the regular woodland birds, but I was able to get a cool picture of a grasshopper who sat still on a rock almost to the top of the summit.

A Wood Frog posing perfectly for the camera before it hopped away into some leaf litter.

Wildflowers along the way. I have no idea what this is, but they are one of the prettiest mountain flowers I think I have ever seen.

Picture perfect

There were also berries everywhere as well as flocks of Cedar Waxwings taking advantage of nature's splendid bounty. Wild blueberries were numerous and frequent stops were made for samples. No store bought blueberry can compare to the ones on that mountain.

Various wildflowers including the one above contrasting vividly with the rocks and cliffs as many would be peeking out from them.

Finally the summit which continued to be very foggy so the views I yearned so much to see were hidden by mist and clouds. The wind was so strong that I had to take my hat off because it actually flew off my head once or twice. It was still wonderful to make it up there and I found the strong winds to be exhilarating and liberating after being suffocated by hot, muggy weather the past week.
After a while you could see the sun poking its head out trying to do battle with the clouds. The wind continued to blow hard and suddenly Common Ravens appeared to take advantage of the airwaves.
The ravens used the wind to their advantage never bothering to use their wings for they didn't need to, Mother Nature was doing all of the work for them.

So graceful and free. You couldn't help but envy them as they glided by so closely that you could see detail on these birds you would never see on lower land.



And playing in the wind. The birds seemed to enjoy every moment of it as this is probably one of their favorite things to do when the weather conditions are just right.

Somewhere during this a Turkey Vulture decided to take flight too and we were treated to an aerial show that left you breathless as you watched them all ride the skies. Such freedom they had at that moment I thought, with my own feet planted firmly on the ground trying to balance myself and my camera from strong, gusty winds that wanted to bring me down.

I stood there and watched as all of the thoughts that came with me when I arrived at the mountain were suddenly lifted. There were no more deadlines waiting for me at work, there were no bills waiting to be paid, and there were no dirty dishes soaking in the sink. I was there with the Common Ravens flying right along side them, if only for that short moment in time.

Take care all.


MaineBirder said...

Great post and photos Kim! I know the anxious felling you get when approaching a summit of a mountain. You keep hoping that the view will not be obstructed.

Our first time on the summit of Mt. Washington was like that... couldn't see a thing, including the hand in front of my face!

Anonymous said...

This is one of those inspirations. Flying with ravens. I would title it that. Wow.

I have the issue of "breast feeding" on my main blog today Pick a Peck of Pixels

Tina said...

It's nice you were able to get away from it all for a while, even if you met certainly deserve it. Sometimes just the peace and quiet is all we need..for some R & R. Great post about your hike up that mountain..and just love the pics of the ravens..we have ravens in our area..first time since 1976!!

NCmountainwoman said...

Just beautiful. It's so wonderful to see the birds using the thermals. What a great place to visit.

Chris said...

HI Kim,
The more I read you the more I realize you are getting the real birder behaviour... Gosh you are doing kilometres to see birds!! I'm more of the kind to stay at a place waiting for them to come :-) Guess you enjoy this tour.


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