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Friday, June 01, 2012

Cerulean Death March

 Monday morning, while getting ready for a church picnic, I got word that a friend had found a singing Cerulean Warbler in Musconetcong Gorge, a county preserve 20 minutes from my home.  Since this is a very scarce bird in the county, and this was the first (and likely to be the only) one reported in the county this year, I decided to head over to see if I could find it.  My youngest was up for a hike, so we geared up and headed out.

Musconetcong Gorge is a beautiful forest, and we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Indigo Bunting, American Redstart, and dozens of other birds.  Highlight for us was probably catching several toads.

The princess and the toad
But after over an hour of listening, I didn't see the bird, and couldn't be 100% positive that what I thought I heard a couple times in the distance really was the Cerulean Warbler.  So we packed it in and hiked the mile back to the car.
Intrepid Hiker in the Gorge
The next morning, I wasn't able to get away until later in the day, and it was even hotter than ever!  The bird had been relocated earlier in the morning, and I had plenty of water, but it was past 11am and getting really hot by the time I got down to where I hopped to see it.

Male Scarlet Tanager, day two of the Musconetcong Gorge death march.
Long story short, while I got good looks at everything else I heard down along the river (including several beautiful Scarlet Tanagers), in two hours I heard the Cerulean Warbler a couple times, once quite closely, but never got a glimpse!  Sometimes you've gotta just take what you can get--especially when threatened by heat exhaustion!  So I look forward to actually seeing this bird at some point.  In the meantime, its good to know that this bad boy is hanging out in the gorge, keeping hopes for local breeding alive here in Hunterdon County.

1 comment:

Aviaries said...

The Scarlet is really an amazing reward for the long trek. Anyway your princess is really brave to hold a toad.

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