Cold Spring Access Neversink Gorge

Three of the seven Hummingbirds at the sapsucker tree.

Three of the seven Hummingbirds at the sapsucker tree.


Having enjoyed yesterday so much, I couldn’t resist a try at the Cold Spring Access for Neversink Gorge today. It was another great hike with some unexpected highlights. First, the number of Hooded Warblers was impressive. I had ten male and one female Hoodeds along the trail. That is my highest count ever for a single location in the county. There were many other warblers as well. Magnolia, Black and White, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green Warblers, Ovenbird, American Redstart and Common Yellowthroat were all seen in good numbers. Scarlet tanager, Veery, Hermit Thrush and Wood Thrush were all seen. All of these species were feeding young, some of the chicks easily seen. The second highlight was finding a sapsucker tree. I spotted the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker feeding on the tree and went to investigate. It was alive with activity. First, the sapsucker didn’t look right and I kept thinking “what is wrong with this bird”? It took me a minute to realize there was no red on the bird at all. Scott Baldinger had recently shared photos with many of us of Black-capped Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers taken by Gene McGary. I hadn’t even known that there was such a morph, and now I have found one myself. I’ve included a couple of shots of the bird. Secondly, the sapsucker was far from alone in feeding on the tree. SEVEN Hummingbirds were fighting over the feast of sap from the tree as well. I tried everything to get a shot of all seven of the hummers, but five at once was the best I could do. Besides the hummingbirds, they tree was being shared with Red-spotted Purple Butterflies, bees and flies! As I went further along the trail, enjoying all the activity, I saw movement up ahead in the trees. I moved slightly to my left, and sure enough, a yearling bear was foraging on the hillside. I watched him for about ten minutes, actively searching for food and couldn’t help but feel sorry for the little guy. He couldn’t have been more than sixty pounds, small for a yearling, and kicked out by his mother all on his own. Hopefully the little guy will make out all right. Another exciting morning in the Neversink Gorge!
Though not quite as good a shot, five of the seven hummingbirds can be seen here.

Though not quite as good a shot, five of the seven hummingbirds can be seen here.


The "Black-capped" Yellow-belied Sapsucker.

The “Black-capped” Yellow-belied Sapsucker.


I see a bear on this trail just about every other time I hike it.  Missed one last time, so this one was right on cue.

I see a bear on this trail just about every other time I hike it. Missed one last time, so this one was right on cue.

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