Still Trying

Posted by Jane N on

Recently John and I were able to spend a beautiful Fall weekend at the cabin. The foliage was spectacular! John was very confident that he could find the Gray Jays for me so we set out on the hunt along the northern back roads of Pittsburg. Now I use the term “roads” loosely, these are narrow, bumpy dirt trails thru the woods. He took me to the places he and the other guys have seen the Gray Jays while hunting, in fact, one of the guys even had the birds land on his hand to take some food.

We set out along Magalloway Mountain Rd first, there were multiple reports of Gray Jays being seen in this area recently so we were encouraged I would finally get to see them. But no luck, we bounced along the side roads with our windows open listening for the Jays. We scanned every tree top and overhanging branch but to no avail. We gave up on this area and moved on.

We drove along the dirt roads to Scotts Bog & East Inlet still searching for the Gray Jays. We came to an intersection and stopped thinking about which way to turn. When suddenly a loud ruckus erupted from the woods along the road. I jumped out of the car and yup they were Gray Jays squawking and chattering in the trees!!!! BUT they were staying under cover, we could hear them but couldn't see them. I walked to the right following the loudest bird which seemed closest to the edge of the road and John walked straight towards more of the squawking birds.

Don't ya know I chose the wrong way? John calls out “Here they are! Come quick!” I ran back to the intersection and turned toward him but only caught a fleeting glance of two gray silhouettes as they flew across the path deeper into the woods. Darn! Missed them. I walked back and forth along the road holding out my hand with goodies for the Jays but they didn't come back. We thought maybe if we left and came back they would too, so we drove along further.

We stopped at Scotts Bog, saw nothing and decided to try driving the back road around to the other side of the bog. I was nervous this “road” was barely two tracks in the woods. The trees were brushing against the car on both sides and some branches were hanging low over the trail and we just made it underneath them. I suggested that maybe it was time to turn around, which wasn't an easy thing to do it was much more than a three-point turn. John was worried we may have to back up a mile or so to the intersection but luckily we were able to turn around.

As we were heading back towards Scotts Bog suddenly I see a blur of a Jay sized gray bird streak across the trail overhead. We stop and I jump out. I can hear the bird squawking in the tree but can't find it. I decide to walk off the road into the brush to find the bird. I step into the thick brush up to my waist only a few feet when I hear something growl! I can't see the creature but it sounded big! It growled and ran thru the brush with a whoosh! I in turn scream and run back to the car! I ask John “OMG did you hear that animal!” He say's “No, I heard you scream but I thought it was because you saw the Gray Jay.”

Needless to say, I had had enough for the day. It was time to get out of the woods. Technically I did hear the Gray Jays and I kinda sort of saw them. But it wasn't a good enough view for me. I'll be back north at the end of the month and I'll be still trying to see those Gray Jays! I'm not ready to give up yet.

Happy Birding, Jane

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