Hard on the heels of my disappointed over missing the World Series of Birding because of my delayed flight back from New Orleans; a friend and I spent some time yesterday on Clinton Road. Clinton Road is a 10-mile wooded wonderland that goes from Route 23 to 94. It snakes through the Newark watershed, has sparkling streams that fall over iron-laced boulders, is a cool delight in summer and breathtaking in autumn. It is also the nesting territory for many of the wood warblers. (should I mention that it is haunted?)
My friend arrived at my house proclaiming that it was a very birdy day. From the house I could hear Orioles, Titmice, Chipping Sparrows and the “Weeeep” of a Great Crested Flycatcher. We threw our gear in the car and headed out.
We rolled down the windows and cranked up the heat (yes, it is still cold up here) listening as we crept down the road. At one end of Clinton Road there is the lake. At this hour the Red-winged Blackbirds were frantically shoves their epaulets in our faces, the Yellow Warblers were chasing each other like sprayed drops of feathered sunshine.
When we got past the houses and into the wooded section, the woods erupted in the melodious songs of the warblers. I smiled and thought to myself, “welcome back”. The Black-throated Greens were murmuring in the trees, Ovenbirds teaching from the forest floor, Prairies ascending the heights, Parulas and Redstarts singing for all they were worth. We were awash in Chestnut-sided Warblers. It was amazing to hear it all. In the end we got 52 species in 4 hours.
Black-throated Blue, Prairie Warbler, Black-throated Green, Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Veery, Yellow Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Parula, Redstart, Pine Warbler, Black & White Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Baltimore Oriole, Goldfinch, Scarlet Tanager, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Mallard, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Turkey, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Broad-winged hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper Hawk, Mourning Dove, Cardinal, Robin, Blue Jay, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Phoebe, Great-crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed vireo, Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Catbird, Chipping Sparrow, House Sparrow, Cowbird.
Are you intrigued? Come to the highlands.