I visited Glenhurst Meadows in Warren this morning, arriving just after dawn to the ultrasmooth parking lot (I kinda miss the old gravelly, rutted one), stocked with a couple of huge mounds of wood chips. Somerset County’s workers are going to need every shovelful of those wood chips to even attempt to provide a moderately walkable trail system at Glenhurst: the trail on the west side of Cory’s Brook is now a shallow lake, impassable unless one has chest waders or a coracle. The center trail and east trails are extremely muddy in places; shin-high boots are a must, and one must assure they’re firmly cinched!
The birding was thoroughly enjoyable once the squelching of boots and the roar of airplanes diminished. Residents (Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Blue-winged Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Field Sparrows, and at least 200 Gray Catbirds) were all singing away, perched up in trees or bushes to make their voices heard. Many migrants were also feeding eagerly and singing as well…onesies each of Pine, Palm, Nashville, Prairie, and Magnolia Warblers, several Northern Parulas, Redstarts, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and Black-and-White Warblers, and numerous loud Northern Waterthrushes. Yellow-throated Vireos are in and singing on the north side of the river. I saw four Least Flycatchers, which E-Bird’s filter seemed to think was an unusual number, but only one Kingbird and one Great Crested Flycatcher. The Red-headed Woodpeckers put on quite a show on the northwest side of the powerline, their big blocks of color…flash of red, flash of white!…stark against the deep green and dark brown of the open forest. Two Woodcocks burst out of the bushes when I stopped to look at something else. And, always a favorite experience, a hummingbird zipped by; I love seeing them away from feeders, a reminder that these tiny creatures flourish quite well without our help!
Not a bird, but notable: A Beaver slapped its tail VERY loudly in the river numerous times; the splashes sounded like someone had dropped a boulder from 100 feet up. That was unique.
After an out-and-back trip of about 3 miles walking over 2-1/4 hours, I logged 60 species, including four “FOY” species. Glenhurst is still a wonderful place, despite the slop. I do hope Somerset County’s public works team manages to cover over the worst parts with wood chips, though the effect will be temporary, at best.