This weekend was perfect for hiking around the mountain. The temperature was comfortable, the humidity low. I decided to wander around a few areas of the mountain that I don’t regularly haunt. My reasons for not visiting certain areas vary.
Sometimes they are dense areas where bushwhacking through the brush is difficult. Sometimes the area is simply not much different than another that’s a little closer. But I haven’t had rain for some time now, the brush is withering, and it was time to take a look at a few spots that I haven’t looked at for a while.
If I think that places change from day to day, not looking at a place since spring brings more changes than I can count. Brush was both more dense than ever or non-existent. Normally wetter spots are now dry as a bone. I ended up telling myself I really have to get to some of these spots more often.
I ventured over to the east side of the mountain this weekend. Normally, I range around the west and southern sides of Roundtop, also sometimes going on the north side. Reaching the east side means I have to cross the ski resort’s parking lots to reach my destination and there’s not much to see in a parking lot. Once past the parking lots, there’s lots of nice open habitat, ranging from forest to long grass, with a small pond and a stream or two.
My photo today is of a honey bee on a thistle. I saw a good many bees, so I know they’re not all gone yet. I was really hoping to find a few more species of birds to put on my now-foundering July list. I specifically sought out spots where I was hoping to find a few more species of sparrows but didn’t have any luck in that department. I did find virtually every species of bird I’d already seen in July in one small area, but have no new species new to report.
Several of the missing species are surprises. Why am I not seeing any black vultures? Or catbirds? Heaven knows, mockingbirds are as thick as ticks this year. And where are the hummingbirds? My feeders have been empty all summer. Frankly, I thought last year’s July list was kind of thin, so I fully expected to top it in 2007. Instead, I am 4 species short of the 2006 list, with now little expectation that I will even reach last year’s dismal total.
So the results of my weekend ramblings were kind of mixed, the mission unfulfilled, even though the setting was outstanding and the weather exquisite for late July.