Hike review, May 10, 2015

On this Mother’s Day date, we went to a new location for our group.  Mossy Bank Park is located on a hill south of Bath.  Randy Weidner, and his wife, Cathy, a retired physician and amateur naturalist and one of the park’s directors, were our hosts.  The day was partly cloudy and in 80s.

After a few minutes to tour the nature center, we began our hike on the overlook road.  When we arrived at the shed overlooking the Cohocton River and Village of Bath, Randy explained what we were able to see.  From there, we proceeded to what is now, the park’s big attraction.

In the valley west of the park, for the past 7 years, a pair of bald eagles have built a nest in a tall oak tree. Eagles primarily eat fish and can apparently get plenty from the nearby Cohocton River.  From an overlook ledge, visitors can view the nest from above.  Randy set up a spotting scope, to give us a close up view.  On this day, 2 chicks had recently hatched and were still in the fuzzy downy stage.  One of them raised his head up.  One of the parents was nearby, with dark body and white head and tail, giving us a good view that our national emblem is recovering and doing well.

After this, Randy led the main group along some of the new trails for a steep and lengthy hike.  I led a few on the established trails to the northeast corner, and back to the nature center.  Many dead branches were observed on some of the hemlock trees, probably due to infestation of invasive woolly adelgids, which were discovered earlier.  The diagnostic white ovisacs are not visible this time of the year.  Our after hike social was held inside the nature center.

I know all of you join me in expressing our gratitude to Randy and Cathy for their gracious hospitality.  We’ll probably see Randy again on September 6, at Katherine’s tree farm, where we will do a combination hike and mushroom hunt, and Randy will identify the mushrooms that we find.

Mossy Bank Park is open between May and October.  In the comment section below, express your thoughts about this park and hike and let us know if you think we should plan a return hike there on a future date.  If you couldn’t go to this hike and would like to go and see the eagles, of if you did, and would like to go again to see the chicks develop, you can let me know and, if I can, I’ll go with you.

Please note that there are still 4 open dates on the summer hike schedule, in July and August.  If you’re not listed to lead a hike, and would like to take us to one of your favorite hiking trails, we would love to go with you.  Remember that, if we don’t get a hike leader, no hike will be held on that date.

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