I started out my Saturday with a trip to the "Cat" to hike the Four Birds Trail. On my way up I-287 it was a steady downpour which was making me wonder if I would make it to the Bat Cave just to turn around, but on Exit 41B to 80 West everything cleared up.
|You can't miss this sign.|
Starting out at the Bat Cave Property I headed to the cave, haven't been there since my 37th birthday and there was a cold wind blowing out of the cave, that's something I forgot about. The trail was extra moist & slippery, but that didn't stop me.
|I missed this early on but saw it on the way back.|
|That's not Ectoplasm but a slight fog from the cave.|
From here I headed off to the Beaver Pond. The trail was very quite for the most part, a few birds calling & a slight drone of traffic from Green Pond Road. The sun was starting to break through the clouds & canopy but for the most part it was a dark trail, it was quite awesome. Even spotted a salamnder, looks like a Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens).
By the time I made it to Beaver Pond the Sun was getting stronger & I was getting sweaty, time for my first break. The pond was loaded with Water Lilies, I'm not well versed in Botany so I don't know the species. While leaning uneasily over the pond to get some pics, I heard some crashing through the brush, which cause a quick turn. I spotted a small rufous mammal darting in the wood line, I thought it was a fox, but it seemed a little to agile moving over downed trees & large rocks. After talking to Dave from National Moth Week, he said his companies trail cams have spotted Bobcat in the area, so maybe it was maybe it wasn't. I give myself a 10-15% chance that it was but most likely it was a fox.
After this I headed over to the Hawk Watch and with an eye out for a red brown mammal. I did see some young White-tailed Bucks with velvet antlers. They didn't stick around long enough for a photo session. The hike was enjoyable, cool & boggy but I was ready for another break by the time I hit the watch. Not many birds spotted while sitting on the rock ledge, but there was quite a few Turkey Vultures flying overhead.
|My tripod was level.|
|Waiting for lunch.|
After an hour break, back on trail I went. Graffiti Cliffs was my destination, but I got a little off track and wanderer around some of the unmarked trails and old roads. I ran into a couple who had somewhat of the same problem, but we sorted it out and went in different directions after 10 minutes of map & gps study. The biggest concern during this time frame was not been off trail but the tree top that crashed through the canopy, my first thought was "Bear". I did make some noise on trail after that, just incase.
|No help here|
|This didn't help either.|
Back on Four Birds after some sidetracking, I made it to the Hibernia Cemetery. I have to say is this would be a great project for the local Boy Scouts. It was in a pretty bad state since the last visit I made, but it did make for interesting picture taking.
After spending about 6 hours wandering around Wildcat Ridge WMA, I decided to head home but not without taking a stop at the Hibernia Diner!