June 17, 2009

Another Hike Through the Forest

Today I went hiking at the same state park I mentioned in a previous post. The only thing that changed is that it was a friend from boy scouts not my sister that was hiking with me. We are preparing for a high adventure trip through the mountains in New Mexico at a place called Philmont Scout Ranch this year. This scout ranch is the largest in the world and has a couple mountains reaching over 14,000 ft and of course some neat birds.

While hiking around the park in the humid weather we saw a number of birds including one that is fairly rare to our part of the state.

When we got to a place called Turtle Lake I heard the song of a Prothonotary Warbler! This is a pretty rare bird for our area. This past week a birdwatcher found a pair nesting about 45 minutes north from there on the IA-SD border. It is amazing that the area has has a couple sightings of this species in late June. I never did see the bird but maybe I will some other day when I'm out there. I also heard a Northern Parula which was the first one I saw at the park this year.

The valley that the lake is in has a small stream that had a few birds along it like a singing Louisiana Waterthrush and a Summer Tanager. We were able to see the tanager out in the open, which doesn't happen often.

After that we started to hike back. On the way I checked for the Cerulean Warbler that I heard a couple weeks beforehand but we could only find a Louisiana Waterthrush.

Other common forest birds that we saw or heard on the way back included Ovenbird and Scarlet Tanager but not much more.

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