Sunday, May 20, 2012

A long weekend in New England, Monday 14 May

Monday morning dawned wet, very wet.  We decided to head out anyway, to make the most of our time in New England.  First we headed to Taconic State Park where it did eventually stop raining.  We found this another odd park, accessible only by foot from isolated car parks so we didn't hang around.  This was the river down from the waterfall:

It was around this time the GPS function in my iPhone finally expired too, leaving us high and dry, luckily however I had my laptop and wireless internet so we were able to build directions and follow them accordingly, eventually finding our way to the Hollenbeck Grassland Preserve managed by the Nature Conservancy.  It was a largeish field.  At least there's no hunting on this preserve, though there wasn't much to see anyway, though we did see a female Common Yellowthroat:

and singing Song Sparrow:

We headed on then to the Sharon Audubon Sanctuary (which wasn't listed in the State preserves because it is managed by the national society - looks political).  Anyway it was well worth a visit. We saw more Common Grackles:

Baltimore Oriole:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher:

This Eastern Bluebird was funny - every time the Tree Swallows approached the nest box it flew in territorially to protect/defend it.  We presumed it's mate was on eggs inside:

An unexpected first (we should have seen one long before) was this House Wren:

From this footpath we spotted lots of snakes and frogs, to Helen's delight! We also like the band of orange foliage on the opposite back of the lake:

Our final new species of the day, was this Veery (thanks again to Mark, we'd originally identified this as a Swainson's Thrush):

Next-up we headed to the White Memorial Foundation, a place we really appreciated and would visit again.    We finished our birding mid-afternoon and headed to the hotel for dinner an early night as the rain closed in.


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