Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hiking (with a little birding in between)

For our student chapter of The Wildlife Society we go camera trapping every Sunday, which is basically hiking through the woods on a mountain all day.  It's an excellent opportunity to look for mountain-dwelling birds, unless your group walks too fast and leaves you in the dust.  I know there are a bunch of species of warblers that nest up there, but I have yet to see them.  Today, however, I saw an Eastern Wood Pewee, a few Turkey Vultures, heard a Hairy woodpecker, and I heard all of these tinny, high-pitched chippings that were so frustratingly hard to identify I almost went insane.  They were all over the woods, chirping back and forth to one another to warn each other of our trespassing.  I'll have to go back up there and find them once and for all.  Today they only gave me a glimpse of fleeting shadows through the leaves.  Someday...

It was, however, chipmunks galore up on the mountain.  I find it such a treat to watch these little rascals scamper through the woods.  We had a pair of them living in our yard in Virginia, but when we moved to Pennsylvania, I pretty much never saw another chipmunk ever again.  Being back in Virginia, it makes me appreciate these little devils in all their hyper glory.  Mountain Lake is a wonderful place for hiking, birding, and chipmunk watching, and it was the location for the set of Dirty Dancing.  What could be better than spending the day up there.

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