My first stop along the way, was some farmland along Route 16. I've seen deer and Wild Turkey in the field numerous times over the years, and wondered if it would be a good birding spot. I pulled up my truck along the side of the road, and looked for an entrance. There was an open gate in the corner, and I no sign of trespassing signs-so in I went.
I spotted two areas that I wanted to concentrate on. The first was an area of overgrown weeds near a marshy area. There were a fair amount of birds here, mostly Song Sparrows. I also spotted a Blue-headed Vireo , which have recently been reported moving throughout the state.
I quickly moved on to the second area, which was a big old tree standing smack dab in the middle of the field. There were about 20+ Eastern Bluebirds flying back and forth from the tree to the grassy area beneath it. It seemed to me Bluebird populations decreased in our area over the last year (not very scientific). Finding all these Bluebirds was an encouraging sign. Not surprisingly, there was a pair of Red-tailed Hawks patrolling the field. I could hear the tiny ringing sound of kinglets in the woods at the edge of the field. I only spent about 20 minutes in this field and then headed back out on the road again. Thanks to the owners, whoever they are.
I started to drive along Route 207. There are plenty of undeveloped areas and farm fields in this part of the state, so finding suitable bird habitat should be easy-right? Only it didn't work that way. Many of these fields were lacking the food and water that birds find appealing. I ended up wasting gas because I couldn't find the type of habitat I was looking for. Being in a rural area doesn't guarantee that everywhere you stop will be haven for birds. You still have to find good habitat, and there are other factors that come in to play as well. In some ways, this can be easier to find in a more populated area, since there is less ground to cover. Looking at a map, I noticed that I was fairly close to The Franklin Swamp Wildlife Management Area. This is a place that I was always curious about. As an added bonus, it was Sunday, so my chances of being shot at would be greatly reduced.
By the time I reached The Wildlife Management Area, my level of enthusiasm had diminished just a little. I'm always fascinated by swamp habitat and I enjoyed getting a view of the area. There was a burst of bird activity just as I neared the swamp area that included: White-throated Sparrows,Black-capped Chickadees,Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Woodpeckers-(RB,NF,Hairy& Downy),and an Eastern Towhee. I took a quick tour around the swamp, but the rest of the area was not as productive.
The fall ride through the country was a visual treat, even though I didn't find the hot spot I was hoping for.
Here is a little assignment for those of you who are interested:
1) Find a small area that looks as though it would be good bird habitat.
2) Make sure it is an area that is not a known birding area and you have not visited before.
3) Record all bird species and interesting behavior that you observe in a 20 minute period.