Monday, April 13, 2009

The Mysterious Goshen Swamp

Goshen Swamp. Just the name sounds a bit spooky. The locals talk about it as one of the last wild places around here. A place where you go when you don't want to be found....i.e.-a good place to drop off that body you have in your trunk. So, I'm thinking, what better place for an ivorybill? Goshen swamp is linear. It's maybe a mile wide, but it stretches on for miles. It's all bottomland hardwoods, with some logging taken place, but most appears intact. I'll know more after I get in the middle of the place. I'm getting in here late and the trees are in leaf-out, but this place seems to hold promise. My first foray was on Sunday, April 12. I put in on one of the multiple runs and paddled upstream in a 17' canoe. It didn't take long to find out that a canoe won't work in here. This place is just too thick for a canoe. I will be coming back with a kayak.

My trip was upstream until the first major logfall, only a 1/4 mile in. There, I sat and listened for over an hour. Observed were pileateds, red-shouldered hawks, snowy and great egrets, and a beautiful barred owl only 20 feet away who watched us the whole time. Heard but not seen were other pileateds, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and a very distinct kent call. The kent call was heard about 30 feet up in a tree appx 75 feet away upstream. There was no wind at all at that moment, since I hear squeeky noises in the trees when the wind blows sometimes. My partner in the canoe heard the exact same call. We both noted it. Later that evening, I played kent call from jays, nuthatches and ivorybills without telling her which was which. Every time she identified the ivorybill as the call she heard. Like I said, this place has promise. The trees are in full leaf out, so visual searches will be spotty at best, but I still can scout the area for Fall. The next time I go in there, I will be loaded for bear with cameras and recorders. Oh....and in a kayak packed with a pocket chainsaw.

1 comment:

Tucano said...

Thanks for the report. Looks like you got a good reason to go back. Appreciated the tip on the pocket chainsaw!