Birdathon 2014: Final Report for the Pepperbox Wilderness

On May 16, 2014, I participated in the Audubon Society’s Birdathon, a challenge to observe as many bird species within a single 24-hour period as possible. This was my eighth year participating in the event, all of which took place wholly or in part in the Adirondack Park. For the fourth time in five years,

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Birdathon 2014: Departing the Pepperbox Wilderness via the Bowtie Beaver Meadow

The day after the Birdathon is often a letdown. All the excitement of the chase for new bird species is over, leaving just the responsibility of reporting the results, and the necessary frantic exit from the backcountry that goes along with it. The only redeeming part is the dream of doing better next year. This

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Birdathon 2014: The Case of the Missing Tent Stake at Sunshine Pond

Where to end my Birdathon bushwhack in the Pepperbox Wilderness always becomes a difficult decision. There is always the constant incentive to push on, hoping that the next destination will provide the big breakthrough of a plethora of bird species, producing the banner year I continue dreaming about during the weeks leading up to the

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Birdathon 2014: Birding Up Deer Pond Outlet to Sunshine Pond

Birds tend to be less active in the late afternoon; that is just a fact. The singing dies down, with many birds taking their siesta after feeding during the earlier morning hours. This phenomenon makes Birdathon afternoons a time of profound desperation, where the frantic search for any new species to add to a scant

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Birdathon 2014: Unproductive Bushwhack to Deer Pond Outlet

After exhausting the beaver ponds along the Cropsey Pond outlet during the early morning hours, an unproductive bushwhack over a couple of ridges, separated by a series of wetlands, are all that lies between me and the more bird diverse Deer Pond drainage. The afternoon hours, when most self-respecting birds are taking their siesta, is

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Birdathon 2014: Birding Along Cropsey Pond Outlet

The big day has finally arrived; the 2014 Birdathon is finally here. Not a moment too soon either! The excitement is palatable, waking me numerous times during the early morning hours before the sun makes even a faint appearance. Each time I do my best barred owl impression, trying to tempt one to respond. Greeting

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Birdathon 2014: A Wet Time at Cropsey Pond

With at least half of the way to Cropsey Pond to go, my 2014 Birdathon adventure has been a wet one so far. Although missing the worst of it by sitting it out in my car, the rain returned as soon as I was far enough from my vehicle to rule out a hasty retreat.

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Birdathon 2014: Climbing to View of Stillwater Reservoir

Heavy rain is not the ideal weather for the beginning of a bushwhacking trip.  Logs and fallen leaves become slippery, streams overflow their banks and mud becomes ubiquitous, especially during mid-spring in the Adirondacks. This is especially true during the Birdathon in the Pepperbox Wilderness.  Unfortunately, the predicted wet weather gave me little choice this

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Carpet Spruce Swamp: Retiring from Five Ponds Wilderness via South Ponds

Retiring is on my mind while departing from the remote western Five Ponds Wilderness after six days. Primarily, because I am rushing home in time to attend a co-worker’s retirement party, but also for what leaving the forest I love so much behind represents as well. Departing from the Adirondack backcountry has some similarities to

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Carpet Spruce Swamp: Losing My Way Bushwhacking to Middle South Pond

Waking up to a little depression on the last day of an Adirondack backcountry outing is pretty common. At least it is for me. My morning at Sitz Pond, after five days in a rarely visited part of the Park, even by the northwestern Adirondack standards, certainly is no different. The idyllic experience at Sitz

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