Slide Mountain

The memorial to John Burrough's was my only photo op on a cold wet, windy morning.

The memorial to John Burrough’s was my only photo op on a cold wet, windy morning.

I had decided to hike Slide Mountain this morning as I thought it was going to be the best day this week. I started out fairly early, heading up the trail at 7:30 am. The location is an hour and fifteen minutes from my house and thought I could get there earlier, but it is what it is. That said, I headed up the trail in 50 degree temps and high winds. It was surprisingly birdy. Warbers included Ovenbird, Black-throated Blues and Greens and American Redstarts. A couple of Winter Wrens were heard. As I ascended the mountain, conditions grew worse. The skies had become dark, the mountain was socked in, covered in clouds. The wind blew relentlessly. Water flowed down the trail in most spots from all the recent rain. I was also feeling pretty out of shape. By the time I reached the spruce line, Dark-eyed Junco, Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Blackpoll Warblers were all being seen. At that point, heavy drizzle was coming sideways in the wind. Gusts would shake the trees and they would downpour on me. At that point I met a group of five young men who had come up earlier than I had. They assured me my target birds were calling regularly and easily tracked down if I follow the calls. They said they had heard no singing this morning. They also said it is “Freezing up there! ” They were right on all accounts. I began hearing the BICKNELL’S THRUSH calling shortly thereafter. Many Yellow-rumps and Juncos were singing and moving about, but I couldn’t spot a Bicknell’s. I kept following their calls ( I describe as reeee) and eventually with some high pitched spishing, a Bicknell’s finally popped up in an opening only briefly, but good enough. I spotted one other taking off that had apparently been right in front of me. I spent two hours on top in hopes of a photo op that never happened. I would have liked better looks, but had to settle for what I got. By now I was soaked through, with high winds and temps in the forties, so I headed down. I reached the bottom just after noon when the sun decided to come out.

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