Sunday, June 3, 2012

Massawepie Marathon - the search for Spruce Grouse

During late May and early June I spent five days in the Adirondacks, largely in and around the Massawepie Area.  I spent part of each of May 22nd and 23rd and June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the area, at various times in the company of Joan Collins, Richard Fried, Benjamin VanDoren, and Mark Manske among others.  The main point of the vigil was to look for Spruce Grouse, in which I failed spectacularly (the Great Snark Hunt) but there were some great birds to be seen nevertheless.

Mourning Warbler
Breeding warblers are a highlight of any late Spring trip to the Adirondacks with 18 species breeding in the Massawepie area alone.  There are also a good range of other Northern breeders to be had, including Alder and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Brown Creepers, Winter Wrens, Golden-crowned Kinglets and Ruffed Grouse.

Alder Flycatcher
Among the specialty breeders, I was able to take side-trips to see Bicknell's Thrush at Whiteface Mountain and Northern Goshawk with young at a secret nest location.  Although I didn't target any of the boreal specialties I did bump into Boreal Chickadees and Gray Jays, while White-winged Crossbills, Pine Siskins and Purple Finches all popped up from time to time.

Gray Jay
Away from the birds, a close Coyote surprised on the trail was probably the highlight among mammals, while Wood Turtle was the clear star among the reptiles.

So much to see in this most remarkable of parks and, even though the Spruce Grouse didn't cooperate, time spent there is never wasted.

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