Tuesday, June 5, 2018

LHHT - Birds and Wildflowers and Salamanders - Oh, My!

One of the great things about hiking the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in May was all of the birds and wildflowers, and also some salamanders.  When I hike, I try to observe wildlife to the extent possible.  During this hike, I noted each type of bird that I heard or saw.  Here is my list:

Oven bird, hooded warbler, common yellowthroat, black and white warbler, black-throated green warbler, black-throated blue warbler, yellow-billed cuckoo, Acadian flycatcher, eastern wood pewee, great crested flycatcher, wood thrush, veery, American robin, scarlet tanager, red-eyed vireo, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadee, eastern towhee, ruffed grouse, common raven, red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, whippoorwill, barred owl, turkey vulture, barn swallow, blue jay, blue-gray gnatcatcher, red-breasted nuthatch, and field sparrow.

There was a woodpecker that I couldn't identify, and one other bird that I heard but could not place, and I may have missed a few others.  Most of these were identified by their call.  I didn't have binoculars with me, and only saw a few birds that I could identify without them.

As to wildflowers, these were pretty spectacular.  Here are some photos:


Red trillium

Yellow lady slipper - only seen once during the whole 76 miles of hiking

Pink lady slipper

Wild geranium


White trillium

Pink trillium

Yellow star grass (ID by my friend, Dick Dreselly):

May apple

As to salamanders, we saw two kinds.  The red eft, a juvenile and terrestrial stage of the eastern newt (which is aquatic as an adult), was very common, especially during the first three days of the hike, which were fairly wet.  We saw them many times.

Best as I can figure, this is a northern slimy salamander, out and about in the trail because of the wet weather on the final day of the hike.

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