Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Take-A-Ticket" To Pittsburg New Hampshire

How do you know when you've reached "God's Country"? Just wait until you see the sign! I don't know exactly why I've always been so drawn to the north country. Year after year I find myself traveling beyond the 45th parallel into the northern regions of New England. It's almost as if I have an internal magnet that is pulling me towards the north pole-(maybe that's why my watches never work). I love the cool fresh air, clear flowing streams, scenic mountains, and the smell of the pine forests. There is also something appealing about the low population density and the acres of unspoiled land. Other people can have their beach resorts but I'll take the good old north woods every time. The top picture shows the entrance to the Indian Stream Valley which has a rather interesting history. The cabin we rented sat on the banks of a river surrounded by woods. It was surrounded by the sound of birds, especially Black-throated Green Warblers and Winter Wrens. The Belted Kingfishers and Common Mergansers could be seen as they traveled up and down the river. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers seem to be regular nesters in this yard . They squeaked and squawked their way up the trees near our porch. We couldn't help but be impressed by the dedication of the Eastern Phoebes as they hunted for food to bring to their nestlings all day long.
One day, I looked high up into a tree on the edge of the driveway and saw this hummingbird sitting on the edge of a branch. What are you looking at little hummingbird?
Red Squirrels may look cute but boy can the make a lot of noise! They would come on to the porch and rummage though all of our stuff. They might have had their eyes on the phoebe nest so I tried to keep them at a distance.
This was officially a fishing trip. I did enjoy plenty of trout fishing. I especially enjoyed following the tracks left behind by moose through tiny streams that twisted and turned through the dense woods. I remember staring into the eyes of an American Redstart that was perched on a branch just a few feet from my face. I can only imagine what that bird was thinking. As we traveled further up Route 3 to access different parts of the forest, we would often encounter moose in the boggy areas. They actually call a certain portion of Route 3 "Moose Alley". People drive up there every night at dusk to see how many moose they can find. You always have to be cautious when driving on the northern part of Route 3. Hitting a moose with your car would be a losing proposition for both the moose and the car, as well as the people inside.
While were were out in the East Inlet area, I spotted a Canada Goose with her young. I couldn't resist taking a picture. If they just travel 10 miles up the road, they'll actually be in Canada.
What can you say about scenes like this? I sat on the edge of the wooden bridge for a few minutes and finished my cup of coffee. As much as I enjoy birding, I realize that not everyone shares my passion. If you try to push this hobby onto someone else, you may come off the same way that an unwanted pushy salesman does. My cousin said he wanted to join me for a hike through East Inlet. I made it clear that I was going for the sole purpose of looking for birds. He decided to borrow a pair of my binoculars and came along. His best views were of a Common Yellowthroat, Gray Jay, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and an American Redstart. Not a bad start for a beginner. I thought it was a good sign when he wandered off by himself desperately trying to find a bird which was repeatedly singing its song. I knew it was a Red-eyed Vireo, but he wanted to find it for himself. Something tells me that my cousin Bob might be adding some more birds to his life list over the next few years. On another day, I arranged to be dropped off in the woods at 6am and be picked up at noon. I wish that I had said pick me up at dusk. Six hours of birding out here was just a tease. The sound of the Bay-breasted Warblers were a little reminiscent of a Black and White Warbler. Swainson's Thrush is a common species in this area and its song is often heard echoing from within the woods. The only warbler photos I was able to get were from underneath looking up. I did have great views of nesting Blackburnian and Black-throated Blue Warblers but the photos didn't match my views. The Kaufman Field Guide came in real handy in helping me to determine that the call I was hearing in the woods was that of a Broad-winged Hawk. I was later able to get a closer view of it. This Gray Jay had no problems posing for a photo. They'll literally eat out of your hand. Too bad I had finished eating all of my bread by the time this one showed up.
Noon time came too quick. Before we left, someone asked me what kind of bird was making that sound out in the woods. It had a very deliberate song that seemed so familiar" "took-a-ticket took-a-ticket took-a-ticket" it seemed to sing. It's song was bold and deliberate like a Carolina Wren or Common Yellowthroat but with a rhythm and song all its own. As we headed back to the cabin I thumbed through a field guide. Then the light bulb went off- Connecticut Warbler! Kaufman's Guide noted that they are found in northern bogs which would fit. I know that is what I heard but, unfortunately, I didn't follow up on it. Not good enough to make a life list. If only I had taken the time to at least record its song I would have felt better. Sometimes we miss out on opportunities that are right under our noses. Oh well, there's always next year.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I'm with you Larry when it comes to the north woods.
I think that hummer is wondering what YOU'RE looking at!
Moose are so impressive to see in the wild. There's a loong stretch of road in the Arrowhead region of northern Minnesota where people go for the moose watching. Art and I went one night and nearly hit one in the rain and dark. He was driving his full size pick-up and I still had to look up to see it's face.
Your coffee bridge has a perfect view. Too bad about the Connecticut Warbler. That's a nemisis bird for a lot of serious birders. Next year!

Beth said...

It sounds like a wonderful visit to the north woods. It's always nice to see home through the eyes of others who appreciate it.

Jayne said...

Wow Larry... God's country for sure! What a great variety of birds you saw and to see the moose up close and personal like that must have been thrilling too. I'll bet you'll be back there before too long. ;c)

Lana Gramlich said...

1. The gray jay is just precious.
2. Moose are delicious.
3. Squirrels must die.
(Thanks for sharing your lovely photos!)

Ruth said...

I would have liked this fishing trip! You must have been close to Quebec or New Brunswick. I hope to be as lucky at finding birds when we go north "fishing" next month.

Marie Louise said...

I've just discovered your blog. I love to bird watch as well but don't get to venture much further than my own back yard. I've had 44 different birds there though. Keep track with Petersen's. This post inspires me to head North!

Larry said...

I actually responded already but my response seems to hhave dissapeared.

Lynne--I can tell by your posts that you are a North Woods Person-that is the essence of Hasty Brook.
-That is a nosy hummer that shoul mind its own business.
-Moose are big when you see them eye to eye.
I think its good to have a nemesis bird-It gives you something to work on.

beth-I sure do appreciate it.-It's one of my favorite things in life to head north.

Jayne-Some day I would like to have a place of my own up there.

ruth-yes ruth it does border Quebec.-I wonder what I'd do if I already lived in Canada like you.-I guess I'd have to head to the North Pole.

Marie Louise-thanks for stopping by-Glad to see you are getting into birding.-Like your blog and since you're in CT-I think I'll put you on my blog list.-It makes sense that you are into marketing.-You've managed to get a ton of responses in a short time.

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, it sounds like you had a great time! I didn't know gray jays came this far east. I saw my first one in Yellowstone NP many years ago. I love the north woods also if only the snow, gray and cold weren't so bad. But, I think that is what keeps it unspoiled. So, I guess we should all be thankful for that. Great post. Loved all the pics.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

What a great posting this is, Larry. I love NH and ME, too. A lot of my family is there, so we go there often. I have gone "moose hunting" (in the photographic sense) more times than you can imagine and have never seen one! You saw so many great things!

Mary said...

Ahhh, Larry. You said, "What can you say about scenes like this?" I enlarged that photo of the stream of water. I could sit next to it for hours and watch and listen. Beautiful! All of your photos are wonderful - I enjoyed the Canada Goose with her babes.

Bob might have a new pastime, I think, thanks to you!

Years ago, I would have preferred the beach but now I'm a north woods woman. Trouble is, I'm living in urban sprawl!!!!

Great post, Larry. You keep getting better.

Hey, you asked about my Koi. I've had them for two years. They've grown from 4 inches to almost 12. Gluttens, they are. With pet personalities. Really :o)

Thank you for stopping by and rattling my cage. Blogging is sitting on a back burner lately.

troutbirder said...

Trout fishing and birding what a life! Enjoyed your pics and narrative. Fortunately we don't have to head north for all that

Anonymous said...

Love all your photos but without a doubt I am jealous of your Gray Jay shot! I would love to see one of these guys some day!

RuthieJ said...

Gosh Larry, I'm with you on the northwoods! It's nice to go somewhere with no other sounds except for birds and the smell of pines all around. I suppose you heard loons too? (sigh)

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

What a great place! Sign me up!