April 12, 2015.
After waking up ridiculously early and driving to Canaan with binoculars in tow, we decided to head to Canaan Loop Road and check out the birding opportunities. It was still pretty early in the birding season, but we had high hopes. First, we pulled off into a field that’s blocked off by a forest service gate…..and didn’t see a single sign of any wildlife. We continued on to a wetland and walked out into the crunchy, frost-covered mosses. Here, we found a single junco. We decided to give up on the road and head to Table Rock. Here, the trout lilies were beginning to pop up- though none were blooming yet. We were given heart attacks as we made our way through this trail by a few grouse who made their signature helicopter noise to scare us away. We found their footprints in the mud of the trail, as well. And in case you were wondering, this is what the swampy area looks like:
The good news is that these areas are really easy to navigate if you just use the rocks, sticks, and tree roots around all of the edges of the swampy areas. These areas don’t dry out, so expect to run into them in at least 3 spots on the trail. Of course once we got to the rocks, I took my signature edge-of-the-rock photo….It’s become tradition by this point.
After we finished with the Table Rock Trail, we decided to head to Freeland Road in hopes of finding some sort of birds along the trail. The trail is a nice, handicap accessible boardwalk that goes over a wetland and a creek. It’s very easy to find, has its own parking area, and is right off of Freeland Road. The area is also well known for its birding possibilities. We ran into a barn swallow and a sparrow, but the real prize came when we walked up to this pond:
Over near the fallen tree, a pair of wood ducks were swimming around the pond. Of course they bolted behind the tree when they saw us, but we got a nice view of them before they disappeared.