Putting the episode of the misidentified thrush behind me, I am returning to our trip to Mt Washington three days ago. Besides the Bicknell's Thrush we also saw a number of Blackpoll Warblers.
Interesting fact: According to BNA Online, the Blackpolls undertake the longest migration of any warbler. Part of their fall migratory route is over the Atlantic Ocean from the northeastern United States to Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, or northern South America. This route averages 3,000 km over water, necessitating a potentially nonstop flight of up to 88 hours.
A Yellow-rumped Warbler was stopping to drink from one of the refill stations for radiator water at a "brake stop" along the way.
Another familiar bird was the White-throated Sparrow, heard more than seen. It was startling to find this common winter backyard feeder dwell in this subalpine boreal forest. It gave me an altogether new three-dimensional view of this species.
After our return from the guided tour, which had turned around at midway, we (my husband and I) got into our Subaru Outback to drive to the very top of the mountain. The final 2000 feet or so of the 6000+ feet drive on the narrow auto route were hair-raising: sheer drop on the downhill side and deep ruts on the uphill one. I kept my eyes peeled to the center. Fortunately it was very early with no oncoming traffic, but we pictured this road on a weekend with bumper to bumper traffic both ways, imagining big SUV's shouldering smaller cars aside.... We were glad though to have escaped the clouds of black flies that had emerged at the lower level as the day warmed up.
Arriving at the top, I looked and listened for any birds in this rock-strewn wasteland and indeed heard one. I traced it to a Junco singing from one of the boulders lining the parking lot:
To find a Junco at this level with no tree in sight, just thin patchy low ground vegetation between the rocks, was a surprise. It was the only Junco though and no others responded to his song, nor did we see any other birds, no Ravens or Bald Eagles...
With still no oncoming traffic, driving down was a piece of cake, because of the much broader, long-distance view going downhill. We made our leisurely way along the scenic Kancamagus Highway home to Brattleboro, VT, glad that we had bought mosquito head nets that kept the black flies out, but frustrating too because it' s near impossible to use them with binoculars.
Cheers and Happy Birding!
Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment.
Not sure I could imagine an 88 hour flight without being able to put my feet down!ReplyDelete
Lovely scenic view from the top of the mountain.
After reading your wonderful blog post I have a new appreciation for Blackpoll Warblers. Nonstop flight for 88 hours ... wow! Your trip to the top of the mountain sounds rather scary -oh, but the view! Pretty Junco. Thank you for taking us along on your adventure!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comments, Frank and Julie. Blackpolls are amazing. They double their weight, laying down fat as fuel reserves before taking off on their cross-atlantic journey.ReplyDelete
Wow, the blackpolls do a lot of traveling. What an exciting drive on the mountain. The scenery and views must have been awesome. Love the birds and the photos. Have a great weekend and happy birding!ReplyDelete
Hi there - the flights that birds pull off are remarkable. We have waders down here in SE Australia that fly here from Alaska in one go!ReplyDelete
I was banding some of these birds earlier this year. Have a look at: http://payingreadyattention.blogspot.com/2011/02/long-distance-travel.html for some images and words.
Cheers Stewart M
Great views and great birds! I've been wondering how it is to bird with one of those head net things on!ReplyDelete
Wow...was my first response to your informative and hair raising adventure!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the advice on adding addition reflective material to the Styrofoam.
Nice scenics, Hilke. Love the new bannerReplyDelete
Great post and photos Hilke! 88 hours non-stop... makes me tired just thinking about it.ReplyDelete
Such an amazing journey, for such a small bird. hard to imagine what they must go through.ReplyDelete
Wow what a journey!! Boom & Gary of thwe Vermilon River, Canada.ReplyDelete
A Yellow-rumped Warbler is a beauty! Great journey:)ReplyDelete
An excellent piece of wilderness to explore eh? Glad you saw some new birds that Blackpoll would be new for me too!! WTG on that one! Beautiful place-ReplyDelete
That is a magnificent view from the top of the mountain but it sounds like a hair-raising drive to get there. Amazing to find a bird at that elevation. Great photos!ReplyDelete
One of the wonders of the bird world that fascinates me is how widely traveled are our "common" little backyard birds. Consider the Hummingbirds epic flights too!ReplyDelete
very informative post. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I love that variety of birds. What Beauties!ReplyDelete
And that view!!!
Many thanks for sharing.
Wow, what a trip! That shot of the rocky landscape looks like painting!ReplyDelete
What a great trip you had! Isn't it amazing how far those little birds can travel during migration?ReplyDelete
Wonderful post -- bird migration stories are always amazing to hear. Love to see the yellow-rumped too!ReplyDelete