Monday, October 13, 2008

Camping At Granville State Forest In Massachusetts

As I was driving across the Massachusetts border , I marveled at the crystal blue skies and vibrantly colored foliage. With daytime temperatures reaching the low 70's and cool nights just right for a campfire, I couldn't have picked a better weekend to go camping. I passed through a beautiful stretch of country road along Route 57 on my way to The Granville Forest Campground. I stopped at this little farm stand to buy a couple of apples. One was a variety called Crispin and the other was a Cortland (25 cents a piece). Apples aren't my favorite fruit, but these were so big and juicy that I couldn't help but be impressed. Realizing that there wouldn't be any stores close to the campground, I stopped at the next farm to buy Swiss Chard and a dozen eggs. Modern Grocery Superstores carry an unbelievable variety of foods, but there's still something to be said about purchasing food directly from our local farmers.
video
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After settling in at my campsite, I sat back and watched the sun go down. After finishing dinner, I sat back in my chair and watched the sun go down. The air had become chilly but the sun shone through the tall pines to warm my face. As darkness settled in, I gazed into the fire and listened to the music. It's moments like these that make camping such a special experience.
I was up early the next morning anxious to explore the area in search of birds. I went for a walk along the Hubbard River which might have been about a mile from my campsite. I immediately found both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets fluttering and ringing in the treetops . I came across several large flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos, too. Common Ravens made their presence known by croaking loudly from somewhere deep in the woods. I could hear their wings flapping as they passed overhead. I did not see a large variety of species of birds in the Hubbard River area. I'm sure that it would be much more suitable for birding during the Spring migration or nesting season.
I hope no one was in this outhouse when that tree came down. I could think of several captions for this photo but I'll leave that up to you.
One of the places listed in a book called: Bird Finding Guide To Western Massachusetts , was Miller Road. It was here that I came face to face with a Barred Owl! Usually they fly off before I can get a photo, so I was happy to not only get a photo, but also some video footage.
After finding the owl, I tried birding for a while longer but breakfast was calling for me. After seeing this mushroom, I had a sudden urge for pancakes.
video
click to play
Here's the video of the Barred Owl. I was trying to keep my hands still but it's not every day that I get a chance to videotape an owl in the wild. (note-date should read 10/11/08 not 8/11/08)
Before heading back home from my camping trip, I visited a Hawkwatch Site called Blueberry Hill. The manager of the site is John Weeks. He keeps detailed data, including wind direction and air temperature, as well as the number, age, and sex of each raptor (whenever possible). He was very helpful in passing information along to me as well as other visitors at the site. There were a number of other skilled watchers assisting him. Some of the raptors I saw included: two Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, American kestrel, male and female Northern Harriers during the short time I was there. I was able to pick up a few tips and had fun helping to spot hawks. Other birds in the area included American Pipits , White-crowned Sparrow, Ruby-crowned kinglets (one was singing), and Yellow-rumped Warblers. We also counted at least 400 Pine Siskins that were flying by in flocks of 15-60 birds at a time, pretty amazing to me!

I followed a trail of Palm Warblers along the path that led me back to my truck. It was the perfect ending to my weekend.

20 comments:

Lynne said...

What a neat weekend you had Larry!
Your owl photo and video are terrific!

Lynne said...

I just went back and clicked on the Palm Warbler. The lighting is great and it's a perfectly sharp picture. Great job.

Jayne said...

That warbler photo is something else Larry! And to come race to face with the Bard Owl! Lucky you!

Owlman said...

Awesome trip in a great area. The Palm warbler photo really is magnificent, especially consierding how tough these guys are to get into focus....

Barred owl is fantastic. Did you flush it out or did you just see it in the trees like that?

Larry said...

Lynne-Thank you! I just love it when birds cooperate with me.-it doesn't happen that often.

Jayne-I got lucky this time around.-I would love to get a closer look at other owls in the wild too.

Owlman-True-I have a hard time getting decent warbler shots-especially with my point and shoot auto focus which more often focuses on trees instead of the bird.-
I did not flush the owl-I went to n area where I had heard Barred Owls hooting the night before-and luckily just came across one that stayed for a minute.

Ruth said...

I would be so excited to see an owl of any kind in the wild! Fall camping sounds more appealing than summer camping as the mosquitoes are gone(for the most part). Great pictures and another impressive birding list. No one captioned your outhouse picture. It is a different kind of "treehouse".

Larry D said...

Super photo of the Palm Warbler, fall camping and a hawk watch location sounds like an excellent memorable trip.

Larry said...

Ruth-I did not encounter any mosquitoes! I never put the whole list in unless specified.-A different kind of treehouse indeed-thanks for the caption.

Larry d-I'm glad that you have a d after your name.I'd hate to think that there was more than one of me-although I could get a lot done if that were true.-Thanks-good warbler photos are few and far between for me.

Crafty Green Poet said...

sounsd like a great birdwatching adventure, I love the idea of a hawkwatch area, with so many species around. I love the owl photo and video. And you're right too about buying food directly from local farmers, definitely a good idea...

Tera Rose said...

you must walk very quietly to see that owl. I have found pellets in my woods, but no owl.

don't they sleep during the day?

those photos are amazing!

RuthieJ said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend Larry! I was excited to see that Barred Owl too and I'm glad it was cooperative enough to have its picture taken.
Thanks for taking us along.

liZZie said...

Really enjoyed your video of the Barred Owl, that is special. I heard on bbc radio 2 something about Led Zep touring or new cd release, forget which. About that mushroom - no idea, however, PG on allaroundus.blogspot.com might know! She's currently blogging about her forages in the woods...

dguzman said...

Wow wow wow, Larry! I've got tears in my eyes, just imagining the joy of your experience. Wow.

Larry said...

Crafty green poet-Thank for stopping by-Glad you liked what you saw/heard.

tera rose-Barred owls do show themselves during the day some times.-This was pretty early.The Owl just didn't see me at first and then I wasn't moving.-Just the right circumstances I guess.

ruthiej-Glad you enjoyed the owl-I did have a great weekend.-thanks

Lizzie-Glad you liked the Owl video-I heard they were touring without Plant-another singer-so not really Zep.

dzugman-Thanks-It sounds like you might want to do some camping of your own.-Maybe you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Kathiesbirds said...

Larry, what a rewarding camping trip, from the calmness of the camp fire to all the birds you saw. That barred owl is amazing! Wow! Wow! Wow! I have never seen one! I can't believe it let you get that close!

Christine said...

It seems like you went to a nice place. I am guessing that it's in western Mass?

Larry said...

Kathiebirds-I guess the Owl was a good judge of character._It was a nice trip-thanks.

Larry said...

Christine--That's correct-just over the Connecticut border.

Lana Gramlich said...

How cool to see the barred owl! Seeing them in the wild is such a rare & wonderful treat. Glad you got another camping trip in. Looks like it was a great time.

Larry said...

lana-It was a great time.-I really need to go camping more often.-I hope some Snowy Owls make their way down to Connecticut some time so I can have a chance to see one.