After all of the birding excitement on Saturday, I decided to go for a walk Sunday morning to see if I could find any more unusual birds lurking around. With the leaves off the trees, our woods seems much more open and the way things are laid out I have practically no chance of getting lost for any length of time. There's the road to the west, swamp to the south and east, and creek to the north. If my feet get wet or meet road, it's time to turn around.
I started out in the tamaracks between the new house and the creek; some day I hope to have a trail from the back door to the creek. But I didn't see much there, except for fallen tamarack needles, so I went back through the yard up the driveway and started exploring some of the land south of the pond. This part of the land used to be a gravel pit; I don't know exactly when they stopped digging, but the pit shows up in a 1939 aerial photo. There are some mature trees in the pit area, so I'm guessing no gravel has been dug for at least thirty years. But whatever machinery was used to dig gravel left a nice ridge which is still a clear trail. It is one of my favorite places to walk on our land, but one I hardly ever get to. Imagine living on 40 acres and having my experience on mostly fifteen at the most. Pathetic, isn't it.
gravel pit trail
I found my way from the gravel pit ridge (which, if I ever won the lottery or procured my own backhoe I would proceed to make into a lakeshore, connecting with my existing pond) into the woods south of the house, eventually meeting up with the old barbed wire that roughly marks the south property line. From there it was an easy walk to the old railroad grade, which I have kept clear as a trail, and back to the house.
The only birds I saw were the three or so ruffed grouse I flushed during my ramblings. I actually had six flushes, but the first three may have been the same bird flushed three times. I later saw three grouse flush from the same area, so there are at least three grouse on our property.
I think the best place for birding on my land is right by the house. Chickadees were incredibly active Sunday; I sat on an old tree stump and watched them flit about the feeder for a long time. There were also goldfinches, red breasted and white breasted nuthatches, and an occasional downy or hairy woodpecker. I'm still hoping to see the gray jay or the black backed woodpecker again, just to prove I'm not crazy. Wait, I think it's too late for that. :)