Not wanting to incur the wrath of the overtime gods at work, I left early on Friday and took a ride down to Presque Isle. I knew I might be getting out early so had all my gear with me: hiking shoes-check, trail clothes-check, binos-check-camera gear-check. I really didn’t expect to see much, but was just happy to be able to hit the trails and smell the loamy damp earth under the freshly fallen leaves. Fall is a treat for all the senses, isn’t it? I made a plan to hit a few of the “hot spots” on the park starting at my favorite, “Duck Pond-Canoe Portage” trail complex. I then planned to stop at the trail out to the lily pond near Long Pond Trail, wrapping up my excursion at Dead Pond Trail. Finally, I planned to stop at Presque Isle Gallery and Coffee Shop (PIG) where my niece was working until 6 p.m. I had to drop off her birthday gift and grab a cup of their delicious coffee while I was there. So, I had my plan and you know what they say about plans.
Not more than 5 feet onto Canoe Portage I encountered my first surprise of the day, several dark-eyed juncos hunting around in the grass on the middle of the trail.
Knowing my good friend, Toni Kelly, likes these little guys I sent her a text to let her know that her “buddies” were back. She texted back saying that she had some golden-crowned kinglets in her yard. I had heard them in my yard also but had not seen any yet this fall, but that was about to change. I headed a little further down the trail and started hearing the high-pitched three part whistle of the golden-crowned kinglet. Soon it seemed I was surrounded by them so I set up shop a little bit off the trail in a spot I thought had some decent perches, not that these cuties perch for any length of time.
After taking “a few” shots of the GC kinglets I headed further down the trail toward the marina and heard the local eastern towhee calling. I didn’t catch a glimpse of the towhee but did spy a common fall migrant, a yellow-rumped warbler.
Right about then I also heard another of the locals that I often hear on this trail peeping, a Carolina Wren. It perched for quite some time, curious what I was doing in his woods I think. [Correction: Thanks to France, who commented earlier, this is a Winter Wren and, therefore, not a local. Thanks France!]
Not much later another local popped up and looked around, the common yellow-throat. Actually, I’m not really sure if this is one of the locals or a migrant, but this is one bird that I consistently see and hear on this trail.
The next warbler I saw was almost definitely a migrant unless magnolia warblers have started nesting on PISP (wouldn’t that be nice!) This bird seemed to be traveling solo as it was the only of its species I saw.
The only bird more abundant than the golden-crowned kinglet on Friday was probably the white-throated sparrow that could be heard rustling around in the underbrush at every turn. Between them and the chipmunks it sounded like a herd of elephants running through a field of potato chips.
I had arrived at the first stop on my planned loop around the park at around noon and by now it was nearly 4:00 p.m. I decided to pack it in and headed back up the trail to my car. I wanted to make it to the coffee shop and visit with my niece for awhile. Of course, at the head of Canoe Portage Trail is a row of milkweed and as many of you know, milkweed plays host to quite a variety of little creatures….well, an hour and a half later I did make it to the PIG…but that’s for another post.