Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hiking Wachusett Meadows to Wachusett Mountain

I decided to hike one of my favorite trail ranges nearby which is Wachusett Meadows to Wachusett Moutain and back.  I'd spend a little time at the meadows before hand and do a little light birding so headed to the snags in hopes for a raptor or heron but neither would be around.  I'd then head toward the Chapman trail and notice quite a few things looked different since the last time I was at the meadows.

Including the solar panels and this nifty vegetable garden.

And the beautiful perennial flowers that bordered the area.

The sun would be too much to bear though with the high temps and a slight hangover (let's just say Little Sumpin was so good I went over my allocation and had four), so headed to the trails and into the shade.

I'd make my way to one of my favorite parts of the Chapman Trail and be in my element as bird song was surprisingly high for the first day of July.  There'd be the regular Ovenbirds and Red-eyed Vireos, but also both Black-throated Blue and Green, a Blue-headed Vireo and Hermit Thrush.  I'd pish the Hermit knowing it was close by and it would fly down to lower cover  and after looking for it for a bit I was able to get a really good look at it with the bins and  a record picture too.  I know I say this about every bird, but I really love this one.  So cute!

 I'd finally get to the boundry between the meadows and mountain and stop for a water and potato chip break as I was craving salt something fierce (wonder why).  It would be then that I'd hear a bird call that I knew but for the life of me couldn't identify.  This would of course drive me crazy so I'd put away my chips and try pishing.  The bird was easily pishable and the bird would turn out to be.

Why a Yellow-rumped Warbler of course.  Little buggers still get me everytime.  I didn't mind much because it was a treat to see them as it wasn't expected.

There'd be plenty of warbler activity on the Harrington Trail as well including two Black-throated Blue Warblers going after one another like they were in a bar room brawl.  I've seen other birds fight like this, but never warblers.

I'd get toward the wind mills and hear a bird that sounded a lot like and Indigo Bunting but dismissed it due to habitat.  The closer I got though the more I was convinced so spent a couple of minutes pishing it to confirm.

Funny thing is I could hear a Prairie Warbler somewhere in the distance here so guessing there's open land near the wind mills that I couldn't see and I didn't feel like hiking up there to find out.

Making my way closer to the summit.  The picture above is why the Harrington Trail is one of my favorites.  Plus it's not as traveled as the others which makes it peaceful.

It would be around here that I'd hear a chip note I couldn't ID and it too would make me crazy so I'd do more pishing to find out what it is.

And this is what would land close by.

This Black-and-white Warlber landed so close to me I could have touched it.  Love these little birds and it was nice to learn a call they made vs. the regular squeaky wheel.

I'd finally make it to the summit and the breeze I wince over in the winter there felt so good  as it was nice and cool.

I'd be starving at this point and really thirsty so sat down to have myself some breakfast!

Which would be the rest of my chips and an Apple Pie Lara Bar-the breakfast of champions!

Sigh, you all know my feeling of the summit of Mount Wachusett so I won't get  into it, but just say the journey is more important than the destination.

It does look as though they are making some improvements though.

I'd head back and get to around here and be reminded of one of my main purposes of heading to Mount Wachusett in the first place and that would be to hear the Dark-eyed Juncos.  I was doing some serious geeking out this past May when I went and got the Worm-eating Warbler and downloaded all of the New England birds with trill like songs into one file so I could study and learn them so wanted to see if I could still pick it up and could very easily.  I remember a couple of years ago during one of Rodney's trips that I thought it sounded a lot like a Pine Warbler but can now pick up the bell like trill the Junco has.

Sibley's done a great job of demonstrating this on his blog if you want more info. Trilled Songs of Eastern Birds

The hike back was a lot quicker than the hike up (it always is), and didn't stop for much but was happy to pick up one new bird to add to the list which was a Hairy Woodpecker.

I did stop to check out and take a picture of this feather though.  At some point this week I'll try and figure out what it is.

And figured I'd share my list from today.  Not that great for number of species but this has been my best warbler day since May which was very nice for both the ears and eyes.

Wachusett Meadows to Wachusett Mountain, Worcester, US-MA
Jul 1, 2012 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
9.0 mile(s)
44 species

Mourning Dove  4
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  3
Eastern Phoebe  1
Yellow-throated Vireo  1
Blue-headed Vireo  4
Red-eyed Vireo  6
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  2
Tree Swallow  5
Barn Swallow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  6
Tufted Titmouse  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Brown Creeper  4
Eastern Bluebird  1
Veery  3
Hermit Thrush  4
American Robin  2
Gray Catbird  1
Cedar Waxwing  7
Ovenbird  6
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  1
American Redstart  2
Black-throated Blue Warbler  7
Pine Warbler  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Prairie Warbler  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  5
Eastern Towhee  1
Chipping Sparrow  2
Field Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  2
Scarlet Tanager  3
Northern Cardinal  2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Indigo Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  10
Common Grackle  12
Baltimore Oriole  1
American Goldfinch  2

Take care all.

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