Alan and I headed out to to do some birding this morning and decided to make a stop at Bolton Flats so he could show me how to get to Farm Pond as it's obvious I failed completely last time I attempted it. We would be reminded of the heavy rains from yesterday as soon as we entered the driveway as it would be nothing but a huge puddle! On would come the old hip boots (which I double patched after the tear) and off we'd go. Water levels were so high the entire path to the T section would be flooded as evidenced in the photo above.
We'd make our way toward the T and I'd hear the Ring-necked Pheasant again so was convinced I was still cursed, but figured even if we struck out on any new birds, I'd at least know where the damn beaver lodge was! Alan would take a right before the T and right then and there I'd know where I went wrong the last time I attempted it as I went too far out much to my embarrassment as it would be a reminder I have no sense of direction. Still scarred from my mishap last time, I'd follow Alan tentatively as we made out way through the trenches that were at times fairly shallow and others pretty high due to the rains, but despite my fear, I followed as I really wanted the Common Gallinule.
And it would be here I'd finally be introduced to the infamous Frog Pond, I'd been hearing so much about but could never find it and I'd be very relieved to be on dry land after the tromp through the trenches. Our first stop would be where the Least Bittern often is so we'd scan the area with our bins but all that would be seen were the various blackbirds, a couple of Eastern Kingbirds and a Great Blue Heron flying overhead. After that it would be the beaver lodge which I was eager to see considering I spent over an hour in the swamp last time and couldn't find it.
It would also be here we'd see a Belted Kingfisher perched upon a dead snag in the middle of the pond and the bird would actually stay still as I managed a half way decent shot. This is saying a lot as this has always been one of my most challenging birds to photograph considering how skittish they are when approached by people.
After a while longer we'd finally make our way back to the flooded path in the main part of Bolton Flats. It would be here that Alan would tell me to stay still as something was swimming our way. I'd nervously look as a Northern Water Snake was headed directly toward Alan. I'd get out the camera for a record shot and then the little bugger would go into hiding in some brush as it must have seen us.
Alan would see another dart to the right on our way out so it appears as if the rains had flushed them into the path or something. After seeing them, I can't help but wonder if that was the bloke that ran into me when I was stuck in the swamp last time I was at Bolton Flats. ::SHUDDER::
We'd make one last stop before calling it a day and that would be in Oakham for the Nashville Warbler I still needed. After bush whacking our way through a now over grown path, we'd finally hear one and try and pish it into view. I had forgotten how hyper these birds are and right the minute I'd get my bins on it and in focus, off he'd fly to another location just so I'd have to do it all over again. Finally he'd pause long enough for both Alan and I to get a good look at it. Try as I may, I couldn't get a picture of the bird to save my life as it wasn't going to do me the honors of sitting still for a photo. Sigh, for such a plain bird, he certainly is a looker.
So all in all a very nice day with wonderful birds and great company with a lifer thrown in to boot! Can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday.
Take care all.