Hello! Welcome to everyone who’s visited, ‘liked’, and left comments! This should put me on my mettle to post more regularly.
Continuing my effort to become more familiar with the ‘Dacks, I joined a club trip up to the Minerva/Newcomb area. The weather not unpleasant for the north country in November, close to 50 and almost still. The rain held off in the overcast sky until we were leaving.
The Roosevelt Truck Trail is an old dirt road, now driveable only with DEC permission to reach two nominally handicapped-accessible campsites. Given that they’re just flat areas with picnic table, fire ring and an outhouse between them, I think they would only be suited for someone who’s still pretty mobile. In any case, it was obvious no one had driven through in a while.
The air was fragrant with evergreens — cedar, spruce, white pine and balsam fir. The fallen needles silenced our footfalls.
The trail rolled gently for 2 1/2 miles, then we turned and strolled back. Overhead a Common Raven rattled while Golden-crowned Kinglets see-see’d from every tree. Black-capped Chickadees were joined by their northern cousins, Boreal Chickadees, a brown-capped version with a wheezy, scratchy call. We never got a decent look at them despite their numbers, but they called their identity clearly enough. Life bird!
The other target bird for the day was the Black-backed Woodpecker, another boreal conifer-loving species. We didn’t find one, despite listening carefully for the soft tap of their bug hunting, but this tree showed they are present in the area. Their feeding technique is to strip the bark from dead trees to reach insect larvae under the surface. They prefer burned-out stands of trees, and after a few years move on to newly burnt territory. Their population is suffering due to forest fire supression.
On our way in we met a bear hunter. We didn’t see any bear, but did find a few piles of fresh-ish bear scat.
Just down the road, abandoned freight tracks ran north and south. We followed them for a while, past rock cuts, bogs and ponds.
The lake, mirror-still a few minutes before, dimpled with rain.
I’ll be returning in the spring. Goodbye and keep cold!