Mike from 10,000 Birds and I birded Garret Mountain this morning. Garret has become somewhat of a legendary migration trap on the east coast. Its geographic location along a ridge whose northern end drops off into the city of Paterson helps concentrate migrants. It's also heavily birded which helps in finding birds.
Mike and I met bright and early to start our birding adventure. The place was crawling with White-throated Sparrows, with about 1 per square yard. We quickly found two lovely male Baltimore Orioles singing from the treetops and several Ruby-crowned Kinglets practicing their bubbly songs. Barbour Pond hosted a group of Northern Rough-winged Swallows that Mike tried to photograph. Those buggers are fast and I'm not sure how successful he was. My first Spotted Sandpiper of 2007 was there too.
Warbler-wise the day started slow. A tip on an Orange-crowned Warbler and Nashville Warbler didn't work out for us, but the spot held many Hermit Thrushes and several Brown Thrashers. We made our way towards the upper areas of Garret to the old "castle" where we could look down into the canopy of trees. Here we found a nice group of birds: Blue-headed Vireo, Black-throated Blue, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, and Yellow-Rumped.
We worked our way back towards the parking lot. We paused for a moment and scanned the trees. I noticed a big blob in a tree that turned out to be a young Great-horned Owl! Cool! Here's my cruddy picture of it. Check Mike's blog for a better picture of it (if he posts it).
Our approach down the trail scared up the Pileated subspecies of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. :) One of us must have smelled like peanuts because we managed to attract the world's friendliest White-breasted Nuthatch. He landed on a tree within 5 feet of us and "ank-ank"-ed at us while posing for some close-up photos. We walked down the trail and for the next 50 yards or so the nuthatch kept following us and landing very nearby. Here's a pic of Mike photographing the nuthatch. This is probably the furthest it got from us.
We visited nearby Rifle Camp Park, but the birding was pretty slow there. A Cooper's Hawk and a Hairy Woodpecker are the only birds of note that I really remember seeing there. We ended another great morning of birding with 5 species of Woodpecker, 3 raptors, 7 warblers, and 59 total species (according to my list). Check over to 10,000 Birds. Mike will put up his own report with much better pictures.