I gave a little lecture on Project FeederWatch and backyard birds at the Community College on Wednesday. Gary was there… he’s quite the birder. He told me about “Swamp Road” in Randolph NY. Since I had Thursday off, I decided to go.
Swamp Road is a dirt road, and it has been a hard winter and spring. There was a “Road Closed” sign. I drove around it, of course, and managed to make it to a designated parking area which had all kinds of signs with rules and regulations about how to use, and not abuse the property which is owned and managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
On the west side of the road, I found the sign pictured above and behind that was a platform for an osprey nest. I walked out as close as I could. It was close enough to hear mama’s twittering sounds, and to startle her up and off the nest. It wasn’t close enough to get a really good picture, so this will have to do. (Yes, I’m still whining about not having a longer lens… soon… soon…)
While watching the ospreys, I also saw Canada Geese, some ducks too far away to identify, and muskrats. I could hear spring peepers and leopard frogs singing even though it was midday.
When I turned to return to the dirt road, I spotted a silhouette that could only be a mink. Oh if I only had a longer lens. I hurried to the road, hoping to spot it again when I was a little closer. By the time I got there, the mink was swimming away from me. I snapped the best shot I could, and then cropped it to get this. Look closely. There’s a little brown head in the middle of the frame.
I turned north and walked up the road to discover the reason for the “Road Closed” sign. The road was pretty torn up and damaged from the winter and spring weather. Not far, on the right I found a “trail”. It was gated, I think to keep vehicles off. The water was high, and there were several places where the water ran right over the trail. In the mud was this footprint, which I’m hoping confirms that it was indeed a mink I saw.
It was just a gorgeous day. I continued north until the road curved, then turned and came back. Along the way I saw Colt’s Foot blooming and skunk cabbage. I heard many birds – chickadee, cardinal, mourning doves, woodducks, mallards, and even a snipe. The sun ducked in and out from behind the clouds creating the perfect light for making gorgeous reflections in the standing water. I took plenty of photos. You can check them out at my Flickr site:
If you live in the area, or will be travelling through, you should visit this place. It’s cool. It’s very accessible, too. Get off Route 86 (Southern Tier Expressway) in Randolph. Turn toward town. Turn left at Washington Street, left at Route 394, then right onto Swamp Road. Here is the topo map with coordinates:
P.S. to Jeremy: We should check this place for Dragons!