Our Annual Meeting

I hope that everyone who attended the first annual meeting of the Springwater Trails had a good time.  I am sure you all will agree that at least the food was good!

I want to thank the outgoing executive board for a job well done this year.  Pam, maybe you will have a few hours now to rest your knee and to figure out what you want to do when you grow up.  Pati plans to spend more time with more family, but we will see her around I am sure.  And Amy and Marty both are missed and we know they are waiting for the snow to melt before returning.

I also want to thank Joan, Katherine and Tom for stepping up and agreeing to serve on the executive board.  After a successful stint as Hike Coordinator, I know Joan will be taking good care of the hiking group as our new VP.  Tom, you will find that Pati is a hard act to follow, but we will be able to make that transition.  And finally, I want everyone to know that Katherine’s minutes from the annual meeting, provided one day after the meeting (a record for Springwater Trails), have definitely set the standard.  Thanks Katherine.

In addition to a continuing commitment to our hiking group and to the Springwater Trail, the executive board expects to complete the transition to a non-profit corporation this spring. Although the only change that members will notice is the addition of “Inc” to our name, I think this change will solidify our group.

Working together, let’s make 2013 another good year for Springwater Trails.

By the way, we were in Connecticut for Easter and peepers were out in force.

PS. We will be sending out a call for Hike Planners for our Summer series of hiking and boating. Are you ready to volunteer?


Warner Rd and Liddiard Rd to Sugarbush Hollow

DSC_4930Last Sunday, March 24, 2013, seventeen hikers climbed to the top of the hill from Dutch Hollow Rd and followed the snowmobile trail along the ridge to Coates Rd.  From there, we followed the Springwater Trail through Sugarbush Hollow to the Sugarhouse for the Annual Meeting of Springwater Trails.  Next year we hope this same hike will be along the official Springwater Trail route.

Top Of Warner Rd The five climbers started from Thorpe Rd and trudged through unbroken snow on the Buckley’s nature preserve to the top of Warner Rd (the Springwater end of Garlinghouse Rd).  From there, the hike was on snowmobile track which made it much easier.  The climbersDuffy led us along the field and down to Liddiard Rd.  We then climbed the east end of Liddiard to the trail where we found the tracks of the Tourists who had come up from the west end of Liddiard and reached the trail ahead of us. At Coates Rd, we left the main snowmobile trail, turning right to climb to the top of Coates where we joined the Springwater Trail, past the Coyote tree and returned to the Sugarhouse.

DSC_4931The Tourists started at the western end of Liddiard at Dutch Hollow.  After joining the snowmobile trail and then the Springwater Trail, the tourists stopped to learn the news from the guard at the top of the sugar-bush.

After loading up our plates with the great food provided by each of the hikers, we held the first annual meeting of the Springwater Trails.  GretchenGretchen Cicora from the Bath office of the DEC talked with us about maintain and creating trails in the Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, Chuck Winship presented the group with a check, and Dean announced the results of the election of officers.  I will be pleased to work this year with Joan, Katherine and Tom on the executive board.  Thank you for agreeing to be on the board.

PamFinally, the whole group thanked Pam and Pati for serving on the executive board this past year.  Both ladies have been on the leadership board since the initial meeting of the Parks and Trails Committee in 2010. The continuity they provided was much appreciated and is visible in the successful year that just finished.  Although you both have earned a chance to take time off from the leadership, I know neither of you will be resting this coming year.

Easter Sunday – No Hike

This Sunday, March 31, is Easter and therefore we do not have a hike planned.  I hope everyone is able to spend some time with friends or family and that you are planning your own hike or walk.

We will be back on schedule next Sunday with a hike at the Springwater Center. The Center is located on a scenic hillside above and to the west of the village of Springwater. There are a number of well marked trails that loop through open fields and forested areas. The trails through the fields are mowed and have wonderful views of the surrounding hills and the valley below. Two of the trails parallel a creek bed and gorge and one loops to another seasonal creek. There should be plenty of variety for all three hiking groups.

Enjoy the week off.  Drive carefully if you are travelling and we will see you next week.

Returning Birds

By the time we resume our Sunday hikes, after a week’s hiatus, it should be warm enough for our songbirds to return from their winter residences, and begin planning the production of another generation.

For most birds, both genders return together.  One notable exception is the redwinged blackbird, a common inhabitant of our wetlands.  The cock is one of the first birds to return.  We should be able to see, and hear them, in wet areas.  The hens return a few weeks later and, by then, the cocks have established a breeding territory, and are singing to notify the hens of their presence.  After she finds a cock who’se attractive to her, a brief courtship procedure seals the bond, and serious nest building begins.

Birds can be monomorphic (one form), where both genders look alike, or dimorphic (2 forms), where the genders have different plumage.  The redwinged blackbird is a good example of the latter.  The cock’s feathers are jet black, except for a red spot on his wing, with a yellow border, which gives this bird its name.  The hen is a mottled brown.

The redwinged blackbird, and many other birds, are always dimorphic.  Some, just during the breeding season.  As the cock molts his feathers during the summer, by fall, he looks just like the hen, as in some warblers.  Others may be very subtly dimorphic, the familiar robin being a good example.  The feathers, on the cock’s head, are a very slightly darker shade of grey, than those on his back.  The hen’s head featherss are the same as her back.  See if you can tell the difference, when you see them.

Because the cocks are decked out in their colorful breeding plumage, and are singing their unique songs to attract hens, the next 2 months are the best time to learn birds.  On the naturalist hikes, we will try to identify the birds we encounter, by sight and sound, and make a list for each hike.  While birds are less active in mid afternoon, we should still be able to find some.