[CT Birds] Nehantic SF info Pt2 - Long!

Jhseed at aol.com Jhseed at aol.com
Mon May 14 18:55:28 EDT 2012

This link is to the DEP map of Nehantic SF for those of us that like  maps
In a message dated 5/14/2012 2:52:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
david.f.provencher at dom.com writes:

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 

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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