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,
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
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
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
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.
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
This year’s Birdathon results from within the Pepperbox Wilderness of the Adirondack Park were less than stellar. With only 46 species, it was the second lowest count for the seven years in which I participated. A severe head cold, recent beaver dams, a black bear and lack of some common species contributed to the low turn-out.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Waking from a deep sleep, it takes me a few seconds to recognize the mechanical screech of my radio’s alarm. Scrambling in the dark, I find my GPS, my compass, my hat and about everything else other than the radio. My hand finally connects with the small radio and I switch off the alarm,
With the climbing from Raven Lake Road over, only the descent through regenerating blowdown remains on my bushwhack to Cropsey Pond. From Cropsey, my birding trek through the eastern Pepperbox Wilderness for the Birdathon on the following day should yield a vast array of bird species. Or so I am hoping.
For the first time in two years, I return to Cropsey Pond in the Pepperbox Wilderness for the Audubon Society’s Birdathon, a 24-hour long contest to observe as many bird species as possible. Despite a serious head cold, a long climb from Raven Lake Road over a small rise is the only thing standing between me and the small, remote pond.