Monday, May 05, 2008

Roan Mountain in early May

The first weekend in May in east Tennessee (like many weekends here in May) is a celebration of Spring’s arrival. This weekend was no different. Although, earlier in the week we had our second late frost and a new record overnight low. Roan Mountain State Park and the Friends of Roan Mountain(FORM) have been sponsoring and hosting the Spring Naturalist Rally for over 30 years. This is partly a gathering of old friends who have come out of hibernation and a welcoming of new friends to the Roan Massif and some of the most interesting terrain in the east.

On the Saturday, there are 10 various hikes in the morning, a lunch, half-dozen hikes in the afternoon, a dinner, and star gazing and owl prowl (weather permitting, of course) at night. The star gazing is held in a remote part of the park, off limits, usually, to the public, where there are no nights below the horizon and only a glow above the horizon and an awful lot of stars. Trust me, it’s very dark. There is a speaker on Friday and a few more hikes on Sunday morning.

The birding was bit off this year. The spring count, held a couple of week ago, sighted at least 150 species. Today we got fify or sixty. Among the top views: Scarlet tanager; Indigo bunting; Canada warbler; Common raven; Chestnut sided warbler; Pine siskin;Red-breasted nuthatch.

The calendar might say May, but it's still March up on the Roan.