Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Roan Balds, Tuesday, June 7.

If a place could have been any more windy than on the Roan I don’t want to go there. How brutal the winds were I can’t begin to describe other than it roared and buffeted each of us sometimes making it impossible to hold our binoculars steady. On top of that, when we started northbound on the AT from Carver’s Gap the trail disappeared into the fog.

While the wind never did die down --we retreated to Roan Mountain State Park to eat lunch-- the sun came out and the scene was its usual awesome view. Carver’s Gap should be on your itinerary.

Most of the few birds were we saw were heading downwind at about 90 mph.

On the way down, we stopped at Hummingbird Hill and lo and behold we had a ruby-throated hummingbird!

For the day’s looking on Jane Bald, Engine Gap, Carver’s Gap, Hummingbird Hill, and Roan Mountain State Park: Wild turkey, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk (wind pushed and here and gone in maybe one second, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Northern Flicker, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Raven, Crow, Blue Jay, Robin, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Junco, Towhee, Pine Siskin, and Goldfinch.

Left to right are Gil Derouen, Jim Anderson, and Roy Knispel. We're all leaning into the gale-force wind hoping a vesper sparrow will go by but not at 60 mph.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Friday, June 3, Washington County

Bird watching this time of year almost settles into routine. Like the dead of winter, the ones who should be here have arrived and the migrations have slowed or ended. Friday, Roy Knispel invited me along to tour the very far western end of the county down against the Greene County line.

Washington County is a beautiful part of the state with rolling hills, long views, great stands of old trees, and the mountains in the background. We had a clear, warm day with a threat of rain so the sky was this gorgeous blue with clouds building up fixing to rain later in the day.

It is important to remember that seeing the same birds day in and day out is not lesser birding. It is birding.

For the morning’s effort we did not see one confirmed hawk! We saw one just in time to see it dash for the trees and that was it! Gone!

We visited Bush Hog Pond, West View Pond, circled Philadelphia Cemetery a couple of times, and wove our way back and forth across the Nolichucky River until we ran out of county.

Wood Duck (and a dozen chicks), Wigeon, Bobwhite (calling), Cooper’s Hawk, Red-headed Woodpecker, Kestrel, Kingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Phoebe, Purple Martin, Warbling Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel, and Baltimore Oriole. Once we found the first dickcissel the others almost showed up to join the fun. The total count was 46 species and one missed hawk!

Let me recommend Old Pilot Hill General Store as a good place to take a break and have lunch: Wednesday-Saturday, 11:00 to 8:00. Bring cash!