[CT Birds] Nehantic SF info Pt2 - Long!

Roy Harvey rmharvey at snet.net
Mon May 14 17:15:13 EDT 2012

Thanks Dave for a great review of where to bird in Nehantic!

For those who read CTBirds at birdingonthe.net you will find a few unreadable characters where distances given as fractions should be.  (I do, at any rate.)  Note that if you look in the official CTBirds archive these messages display (again, at least for me) correctly.  This is all an artifact of different character sets/fonts.

Roy Harvey
Beacon Falls, CT

--- On Mon, 5/14/12, David F Provencher <david.f.provencher at dom.com> wrote:

> From: David F Provencher <david.f.provencher at dom.com>
> Subject: [CT Birds] Nehantic SF info Pt2 - Long!
> To: "CTBirds" <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
> Date: Monday, May 14, 2012, 2:52 PM
> The Nehantic SF  forest track
> and Blue blazed trails from the gravel parking area at the
> eastern end of the forest's Keeny Road:
> This loop is about 4 miles but can be shortened (Why would
> you do That!). At the gravel parking area (Blue Corporals
> can be found here as well by the way) a forest track (old
> forest road) and Blue blazed trail offers profitable birding
> and hiking. Heading in along the old forest track (through
> the yellow gate) you will hear Blue-winged Warbler by day
> and Whippoorwill by night. Eastern Towhees will be very much
> in evidence as well as Great Crested Flycatcher. Very
> quickly you will come to an extensive beaver swamp on the
> left that empties across/under the gravel track and flows
> off to the right. This swamp may have migrant Olive-sided
> Flycatcher, Wilson's Warbler, and often other goodies such
> as Nashville Warbler. White-eyed Vireo used to be found here
> and may be again. Right after the swamp a large gravel pit
> is one the right. Pine Warblers and Chipping Sparrows can be
> found here and Woodcocks display here. The area is hunted by
> Barred Owls at night while a Chuckwillswidow spent two years
> in the area in the recent past.
> Staying on the track, which alternates between gravel and
> grass for a bit, you will pass a narrow open cut-over track
> on the left resembling a gasline cut. Prairie Warbler and
> Chestnut-sided Warbler are here, as well as Woodcocks.
> Continuing further you will for a while hear and see a
> stream on the left, Louisiana Waterthrush can be heard here.
> I once found a Kentucky Warbler along this stretch as well.
> At about ½ of a mile in you will find a large square-ish
> area on the left that was cut over about 5 or more years
> ago. It is reverting now. Another track heads off to the
> left. NOTE this spot: if you take a left here it is a short
> cut to the large beaver swamp complex I will mention later.
> This area once had Hooded Warblers on both sides, one of
> which sang a very atypical song. Now it has Blue-winged
> mainly (and a Prairie) but the reverting habitat is good for
> migrant Mourning Warbler and I just recently found a Singing
> Canada Warbler here even though the habitat is dry.
> Staying straight (NOT taking the left track/short cut I just
> mentioned that is) you will come to an area (mostly on the
> right) that slopes gently away and that was cut about 8 to
> 10 years ago. You should hear a Blue-winged Warbler doing a
> Golden-winged Warbler-like (not exactly though) song.
> Migrant Nashville Warbler can sometimes be found here. As
> you continue on the track starts to bear to the left. Listen
> for Hooded Warblers as you go. There are currently two
> territories along here. You may have to walk in after them
> as they are often not near the path. A very old track heads
> sharply to the left here (very easy to not notice it but you
> don't want to go that way anyway) and the way you want to go
> is to the right. The path will then (at about 1 mile in from
> the parking area) turn sharply left and ascend a hill/ridge
> line. Take this more dominant path left and head up, Do NOT
> go straight on the narrower little used path here (you can
> if you wish of course but it isn't part of this discussion).
> As the path heads up hill you will pass through an area that
> always has Ovenbirds, Wood Thrush, and Rose-breasted
> Grosbeak. You may have Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Great
> Crested Flycatchers as well but it is very mature forest
> (for CT) and has a limited number of species. Stay on this
> path (ignore the barely noticeable left hand fork) for
> another ½ to ¾ of a mile (ascending and descending) and
> you will hit an area of very obvious logging that has
> occurred very recently. You will briefly leave the state
> land here. The logged area is private but not posted. The
> logged area is too fresh for new growth but offers an
> interesting break in the habitat. I had a number of Parulas
> singing here one day last week. No doubt Woodcock will be
> here next year and I bet Whippoorwill will sing here if they
> are out this way (I haven't checked). Stay on the freshly
> bulldozed road, though you can explore the logged area of
> course, I do.
> Visible below the logged area is a large wooded swamp with
> Tree and Barn Swallows as well as Phoebe etc. Walk down the
> road a bit towards the swamp (freshly muddied and churned
> from the logging) you will come to a sharp left (yellow
> gate) that takes you back into state lands along a lightly
> used grass road/path. Walk past/under the gate and you will
> gradually ascend with a stream gurgling off to the right.
> You will soon find a blue-green port-a-potty in the middle
> of the woods (what! A port-a-potty in the woods?). I have
> never looked in so I don't know if you can use it! At this
> rest facility (isn't the whole forest a rest facility?) a
> forest road will head off to the right crossing the stream,
> do NOT take it though. When you find the port-a-potty you
> will be right in the middle of an Acadian Flycatcher's
> territory. You will hear its "Peet-SA" call if you wait long
> enough. Continue past the port-a-potty and along the path
> (ignore the left fork that you shortly encounter) and you
> come to the beaver swamp complex that the stream empties
> from. All along this stream/swamp area you may here
> Louisiana Waterthrush. At the swamp you will find Eastern
> Kingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole,
> Pileated Woodpecker, four other Woodpecker species, Eastern
> Phoebe, Red-winged Blackbird, Grackle, Red-shouldered and
> Red-tailed Hawks, Tree Swallows, and others. I have found
> Red-headed Woodpecker here and it is superb habitat for
> stopover Olive-sided Flycatcher. As you walk along the road
> with the swamp on your right (Wood Ducks breed here) you
> will come to a tee intersection of old forest roads where
> the swamp finally ends. Turn right. NOTE: Here, the left
> fork (well pretty much straight ahead really) is the short
> cut I mentioned earlier. So if you go back in this
> description and TAKE that left/short cut I mentioned it will
> bring you here to the swamp area much faster than following
> the whole route.
> Continuing on the route I take will mean taking the right
> turn I just mentioned at this intersection. It swings around
> the head of the swamp, descending briefly to another outlet
> stream.  Cross this stream (There is a tiny foot bridge
> just a little upstream if you don't have waterproof hiking
> boots) and ascend up the wide but old forest road keeping
> the swamp on your right. Watch VERY carefully on the left
> (about 50 yards after the stream) for the Blue Blazed Trail
> heading into the forest. It is well worn but narrow and
> inconspicuous, so watch carefully. Follow the blue-blazed
> trail all the way back to the parking area by ALWAYS staying
> left at any trail forks (there are two or three I think,
> each with signs). This trail will take you through some
> varied habitat. As you go you will come across an east
> facing descending slope much bathed in sunlight and showing
> evidence of selective logging some years ago. Here you will
> hear another Hooded Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and
> Blue-winged Warblers. Keep trucking and winding until you
> pass the large glacial erratic on your right and you will be
> pretty much back at the car.
> This is a VERY cursory description forest and a limited list
> of the species you will encounter. The one thing you will
> notice in this forest is that it will seem the very center
> of the world's population of Worm-eating Warblers! You
> should hear Cuckoos (nearly all will be Yellow-billed),
> Orioles, Wood Thrush, Veery, an occasional Hermit Thrush,
> MANY red-eyed Vireos, a Yellow-throated Vireo or three, and
> many other forest denizens. If you see someone walking way
> too fast to be properly birding but with binoculars in hand,
> that will probably be me. Good Luck!
> David Provencher

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