I found an abandoned road with several collapsed structures , an old metal tank and a stairway leading to nowhere. I learned that it had been the old battery area for a Nike missile site which closed down in 1965. In the early 80's it became Camp Meshomasic where the Youth Conservation Corp performed much of the same type of work that the Civilian Conservation Corp did in the 1930's and 40's.
I found that this abandoned road provided a good viewing angle to see birds as it rose in elevation. I had a nice view of a Worm-eating Warbler on my way up but this particular photo of one was taken last summer in the Maromas section of Middletown.
Meshomasic was the first State Forest in New England and the second in the country. It is mostly second growth forest but does have a stand of large White pines that are over 100 years old. The word meshomasic is an Native American word meaning place of many snakes. It has a native population of Timber Rattlesnakes but I've only seen one on a couple of occasions.
I drove slowly along the dirt roads carefully searching the edge of the woods and along the stream beds. It can be difficult trying to see birds in the thicker parts of the forest but the woods are filled with singing birds this time of the year. I heard several species of warbler including Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Black and White, Northern Parula, and Pine. I also had good views of Magnolia, Ovenbird, Prairie, American Redstart, and Yellow Warblers. Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Veerys, and Wood Thrushes were plentiful.
There were a few flycatchers around including Eastern Wood-Peewe, Great-crested, Eastern Phoebe, and Eastern Kingbird. I like the clean cut appearance of the kingbird with its black back sharply contrasting with the white belly and white tipped tail.
The female Brown-headed Cowbird is a drab looking bird and it doesn't even have a brown head, only the male does. This female cowbird walked right up to me as I was sitting on a stump on the side of the road. I figured if I was ever going to take a photo of a female cowbird, it might as well be now.
Meshomasic Forest doesn't seem to get much attention from Connecticut birders. I'm looking forward to exploring it more thoroughly this summer since it's only a few miles from my house. Not only does it have good birding potential but it's also full of mystery and history.