Sunday, May 23, 2010

Birding Uxbridge and Prison Camp Road, Rutland

Alan and I did one more day of birding before I head back to work tomorrow and decided ONCE AGAIN to try for the elusive Worm-eating Warbler as we are now both determined to find this little bugger after spending so much time lost in the woods looking for it. Fran had told us to try Lookout Rock in the same general area as he has had success with them there in the past so off we went as we crossed our fingers because we seriously didn't want to have to enter those windy and confusing woods again.

We would get to the rock which offered some spectacular views from below as the sound of Ovenbirds, Baltimore Orioles, Black-capped Chickadees and a lone Wood Thrush could be heard which was a great way to greet the morning despite the gray skies. We stood there and drank it all in as we listened carefully for any sign of the warbler and its trill like call. I would finally hear a trill from rather far away and ask Alan to play the Worm-eating Warblers song again so I could distinguish it from the Chipping Sparrow as they sound very familiar.
Suddenly a tiny bird would appear and land on a small snag and stare at us as if to try and make out the situation as the song sounded an awful lot like his, but not quite right. We would take this is a good sign that the song was being heard and perhaps the warbler was not far behind.
A few minutes later, another bird would fly near us and give us the same curious stare as the Chipping Sparrow and who else would it be, but another triller the always adorable Pine Warbler. I had to laugh when I saw him as he couldn't hide the look of confusion he had on his face. Neither he nor the Chippy would sing back at us because it could never quite make out the sound it seemed so instead of getting into a singing match with a potential competitor, they just stood there and stared. We would turn off the IPod and sit there for a while hoping for the warbler but it would soon be apparent, this bird didn't feel like wishing us a good morning so off we went to the other place in the same woods hoping for luck there now that we had better directions on how to get there.
So once again we entered the "woods from hell", as I fondly refer to them as due to the fact that Alan and I have spent a lot of time in here lately wondering aimlessly through windy trail and no recognizable landmarks to make navigation easier. I would forget my navigation device at home but we didn't think much of it because surely we couldn't get lost again as heck, we should know these woods like the back of our hands by now.
The place we were looking for is an area within the Blackstone National Heritage Corridor called Lover's Leap and is a rock within the woods which according to legend, a tortured woman committed Suicide due to a romance gone bad. Now Alan and I would search these woods last week and always be on the lookout for a large rock with a dramatic drop where the woman would take her final breath, but the problem was we would never find a rock that dramatic but rather rocks where once could stub a toe or at worst, break and ankle if they leaped from them.
Bart told us yesterday that the rock is kind of hidden by trees and leaves and the dramatic drop we were looking for is hidden from view from the path, so we went there today looking at any kind of rock formation that might fit that bill. We would find plenty of rocks with that potential, but never find the drop so once again, we gave up and headed back down the path again because we didn't want to get lost like last week.
We would go down the windy paths and as the bird sang, including the Scarlett Tanager above, but it wouldn't take us long to realize we were lost again. I would be kicking myself for forgetting my navigation device as we swatted away mosquitoes and were taunted by chipping chipmunks with their chip and trill like call, almost taunting us in a way as they dashed about to escape our footsteps. We would finally come to a path leading to a street and decided to find our way back to the car through roads vs. woods as we just couldn't take being in there one more minute.
We would finally make our way to the junction where the car was and would come across the garage above which was rather fitting considering the situation we were in!
I think this would be the 1st time in a year where I was thrilled to see cars and people speeding by and welcomed the usual neighborhood birds like the Blue Jays, Gray Catbirds, Carolina Wrens and even a very helpful American Robin who was kind enough to give us directions to the car as you can see in the photo above! ;-)
We would also see quite a few other interesting birds along the way like the cute little owl above. So needless to say, we either have to settle for the fact that the warbler may not be in our cards this year or we will have to kidnap Bart on his way to the market one morning and not release him until be brings us to the exact location even if we don't get the warbler because at this point we just want to know where the dam rock is!! Just kidding of course..........Well......Kind of.... :-p
And speaking of owls, we decided to head to Prison Camp Road in Rutland after our trauma in Uxbridge as we found out from Dan and Deb, that this is a known breeding location for them and are known to respond to calls during the day so off we went as this would be yet another life bird for me. I would have had my coffee by now, so my eyes were sharper than before and I was thrilled to see this Broad-winged hawk perched on a tree as we made our way along the road.
And my caffeine induced eyes would also spot a tiny little hummingbird teed up on a tree and looking at the world which is one of my favorite ways to see hummingbirds as they always look so tiny and rather odd when I see them this way.

We would find our way to the gate we were referred to and knew right away that this was definitely Saw-whet Owl territory based on the habitat which is perfect for them to breed in.

As we made our way along the path, we would see and hear quite a few really good birds including the always photogenic Cedar Waxwing above. We would play the call a few times and patiently await a return call, but that call would never come. We would hear a very noisy Alder Flycatcher from across the water which is always welcome to the ears, but would have preferred the owl even more. They are definitely in there, but we will just have to find out when the best time to get there would be as it is obviously not mid morning.
As we left, we would see this very handsome and vocal Red-eyed Vireo above so I just had to take its picture. All in all, another great day of birding despite not getting our two target birds for the day because after all, birding is great when you get some lifers and FOY's but seeing the regulars can be just as rewarding as all birds are wonderful if you just take the time to notice and study them

Take care all.


Idaho Birder said...

Please send a Scarlet Tanager to Idaho!

Andy said...

Another enjoyable post.
The signs on the garage and the rare bird sighting - the "Rock Owl".


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