Dawn Chorus at Grout Pond

By josh • 251 Birds, Landscapes, Nature, Plants and Fungi, Wildlife • 20 Jun 2012

Stratton (Windham County)
Grout Pond
Town #37

Grout Pond is a fairly remote camping and recreation area in the Green Mountain National Forest.  It’s a 10 minute drive up the mountain from West Wardsboro (and Route 100) to the east.  Under normal circumstances you could also approach from East Arlington to the west, but the road was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene and is probably a low priority for reconstruction.

Grout Pond Map

I stayed in site #10, a very quiet and private spot that had two tent platforms, a firepit, and some nice rocks for sitting by the edge of the pond.

Grout Pond and Mt. Snow

Grout Pond and Mt. Snow at Dusk, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 39mm, f/13, 1/5s, ISO 100

This post won’t have many bird photos but I didn’t lack for birds (full list¹).  I went to sleep to a chorus of four thrush species and both barred and great-horned owls.  I awoke the next (very early) morning to this fellow directly above my tent:

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/6.3, 1/640s, ISO 400

Not a great photo, but the best I could get of any of the warblers I encountered that morning.  The vegetation is thick and damp around the pond, and at one point I was no more than 8 feet from a blackburnian for nearly 10 minutes but still could not get a clear shot.  I was likewise frustrated by a magnolia warbler that followed me around for much of the morning but never fully emerged from the shoreline clutter.  Still, I was grateful for the early awakening because the morning was perfect.

Grout Pond

Grout Pond, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 25mm, F/10, 1/100s, ISO 100, 2-stop ND filter

As you can see in the first photo above, there were many large rosebud azaleas² on the shore.  They were just past their peak but certainly produce amazing and prolific blooms.

Rosebud Azalea

Rosebud Azalea, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 100mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

I was playing hide-and-seek with the magnolia warbler a little further down the shore when I came upon a large number of pink lady’s slippers.  I find these orchids very bizarre, and photographing them feels like shooting portraits.

Pink Lady's Slipper

Pink Lady's Slipper, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 141mm, f/5.6, 1/20s, ISO 400

Pink Lady's Slippers

Pink Lady's Slippers, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 59mm, f/9, 1/8s, ISO 400

Pink Lady's Slipper

Pink Lady's Slipper, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 129mm, f/5.6, 1/30s, ISO 400

Pink Lady's Slippers

Pink Lady's Slippers, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 27mm, f/11, 1/5s, ISO 400

The serenity of this place (despite the noisy warblers) reminded me of why I love camping so much.  I’m not terribly nostalgic, but the look and feel of Grout Pond awakened the best memories from my childhood.  I can’t wait to take my son.

P Loves O

"P loves O", Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 55mm, f/5, 1/250s, ISO 400, +0.3 EV

 

 

 

¹     19 species

  • ruffed grouse (1)
  • great blue heron (1)
  • great horned owl (1)
  • barred owl (2)
  • eastern wood-pewee (1)
  • red-eyed vireo (1)
  • black-capped chickadee (1)
  • veery (3)
  • hermit thrush (5)
  • wood thrush (4)
  • American robin (9)
  • ovenbird (3)
  • common yellowthroat (2)
  • magnolia warbler (1)
  • blackburnian warbler (3)
  • black-throated blue warbler (2)
  • yellow-rumped warbler (5)
  • white-throated sparrow (2)
  • dark-eyed junco (3)

 

²Thanks, Dad, for the ID help.

 

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