The entrance to the park is at the end of a dead end road. There are three giant cement blocks that barricades a bridge leading to an abandoned road. Once you cross that bridge everything changes.
The road follows a stream that flows thirty feet below the road. Walls of rock surround you on both sides. Large trees converge overhead to create a tunnel effect. I could feel the temperature drop significantly as I continued further down the rapidly declining hill. Something else happened too. I started to hear the sound of silence. All I can hear now is a babbling brook and birds singing. The effect this has on me is sudden and powerful. My breathing slows down and gets deeper. My mind is free and clear.
I was hearing some familiar songs around me: Baltimore Oriole, Black-throated Green Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Scarlett Tanager, Eastern Wood-pewee. and Wood Thrush.
Suddenly I heard a powerful sound echoing through the woods. It was the sound of an owl-but which kind. I've rarely seen or heard any owls while birding other than the Great horned Owl. I started to remember that the Barred Owl has a "Who Cooks for you?" call that seemed to fit what I was hearing. It was very close, and I loved hearing the sound of this owl's call echoing through the woods. I climbed the side of a large rock and entered a little further in to the woods until I saw a pair of big eyes staring at me.I took a couple of pictures, knowing that my camera does not take good pictures in poor lighting. I filmed the owl as well, but seeing the finished product would give you motion sickness. I spent about half an hour watching the owl. Several times it was mobbed by Jays and other birds.
I thought about calling it a day. I figured that nothing could top my excitement of seeing the owl but I continued on as it was still very early. I exited the woods and entered the portion of the park which is comprised of fields and swamp bordering the Connecticut river. A seemingly distressed Great Blue Heron passed overhead making very loud squawking sounds. Two immature Bald Eagles landed in a tree at the far end of the field. That's good to see-not all the eagles are adults.
I came to a point where the grass was high and wet.That meant I would have to get wet if I wanted to continue through the fields.-Is it worth it?-I thought to myself. probably not, but what if there is a rare bird at the other end of the field? So I continued on.
Tree Swallows,Yellow-billed Cuckoo-nothing rare. Now the bugs were starting to get hungry, even willing to eat through deet. I was getting a bit agitated. Sometimes when bugs are bothering me, I write an imaginary letter-so I started one:
Deer Flies, Please get off of me. What have I ever done to you?
After stopping for breakfast (Texas French Toast with strawberries and bananas)-I went back to the spot where I thought that I heard a Kentucky Warbler yesterday. It wasn't there.
I did see the above flowers growing in the middle of a farm field. Does anyone know what it is?
So today, the magic moments came as I traveled though the silent tunnel. Once I got to where I was going, I turned around and went back. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.-Don't you think?