My late start proves to be fortuitous and I am blessed with the sightings of a bevy of beautiful birds. When I reach the Tufa Terrace the Autumn Leaves are glorious shades of orange, red and rust. I love the transition between the summer green and the bold colors of Autumn. As I head toward the Peak Trail I see one of the “Brats” foraging for breakfast. I call the juvenile Blue Jays the “Brats as often they will follow me through the forest. Some days they just watch other days they announce my position to all the creatures so I am unable to take any photographs of birds or small mammals. I rarely see one out in the open and this is a wonderful treat.
Further along a Tufted Titmouse lands on a branch while below a male Cardinal vocalizes his discontent. In a Tree ahead of me a female Cardinal lands and watches the interaction between the Blue Jay, Titmouse and male Cardinal. It appears to be a game of “King of the Bush” with the Blue Jay having a definite size advantage.
I head up the mountain on the Dead Chief and Short Cut Trails. There is great joy in watching a Squirrel leaping about in the changing canopy. Looking up is a feast for the eyes, so many beautiful colors decorate the Trees. My journey to the top of Hot Springs Mountain is a soul inspiring journey through the golden Forest.
When I reach the top I notice one of drinking fountains has it’s drain blocked providing the birds with a watering hole. The first to arrive is for a sip is a sweet little Black-Capped Chickadee. It land takes a quick drink they flies away. A few moments later a lovely Red-Breasted Nuthatch lands and pokes it’s beak in the fountain. It is the first one of these striking birds I have seen in the park, it’s breast is the color of the Autumn Leaves.
Along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail it is a divine symphony of sounds, crunching leaves and bird song combine into Forest fusion. The sunlight through the leaves creates a light show of colorful rays that transform all they touch. A Robin lands near me as a flock of adult and juvenile Downy Woodpeckers appear in the surrounding Trees. Their delicate pecking sound add to the chorus of the Forest.
I am bathed in a golden glow from the Trees along the Upper and Lower Dogwood Trails as I head across North Mountain. As I am leaving the park all goes silent and I look up just in time to see a large bird glide over Hot springs Mountain and out of sight.
Step outside and breath in the green, it will heal your soul.