Monday, March 26, 2007

Woodcocks Near the Boardwalk

On NPR this past Wednesday, there was a moving radio essay about one of our harbingers of spring--the woodcock and its remarkable mating flights--so moving it motivated me to seek out an old field at dusk and sit waiting for the woodcocks to fly. Where in Princeton do woodcocks find a suitably open habitat for their amorous acrobatics?

My plan was to sit on the new boardwalk between Mountain Lakes and the Great Road, just up from Mountain Avenue, and wait for the magic hour. Seemed like every goose in Mercer County was heading across Coventry Farm on the way to the Mountain Lakes for the night, but finally I heard the nasal "peent" of three woodcocks, and saw one fly overhead.

To get to the boardwalk, park at the new Farmview Park and take the paved bikeway a few hundred feet down the Great Road to the opening in the gate where a grassy road heads eastward down the slope to the boardwalk. Or check out the low, grassy area next to the soccer field at Farmview Park. They might be there, too, and easier to get close to. The link for the NPR essay is below.

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