November Gold

The colors have vanished with the fallen leaves, the birds have moved south, and the cold is here. It’s so easy to stay inside watching Netflix all day during this seemingly¬†dull time of year. Fortunately I’ve had enough motivation to bundle up and do some exploring during November. After successfully chasing Maryland’s first sighting of Couch’s Kingbird, I traveled down several Huntingdon dirt roads, leading me to some golden moments.

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A winding road south of the Mason Dixon Line
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The rare Couch’s Kingbird from Texas was seen for several days along the banks of this pond in Allegany County, Maryland

Since nearly all migrant birds have passed through, November is a good month for studying common species that stick around through the winter. Several chickadees and sparrows landed within 4 feet of me.

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A curious Black-capped Chickadee

Yellow-rumped Warblers (Top Left) are some of the last warblers to frequent Pennsylvania in the fall. The colorful Fox Sparrow (Top Right) is always exciting to see as they arrive during November. Several duck species can be found in November, including the aptly named Northern Shoveler pictured below.

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Most of the valley in Huntingdon County is a dead zone for cell service. Without my iPhone for navigation, I often venture down random roads in search of my destination. One of these “wrong turns” lead me to this scene below.

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Did I say that the colors are gone? November is full of Gold!
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This Red-tailed Hawk put on a show for me

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After a good hike on the Mid State Trail, a couple friends and I made a spontaneous decision to spend the night in a cave we found. We arrived just in time to build a fire before a soft rain serenaded us to sleep. With two hammocks hung and a warm fire, the cave quickly felt like home. The excitement of the wild came to a halt early in the morning when we traded our camping gear for books and schoolwork.

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The fire was a warm welcome to any weary traveler, caveman or black bear
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The s’mortilla. A wonderful camping dessert

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I wish everyone a Happy (white?) Thanksgiving! There’s golden moments in every month so get outside and enjoy this beautiful creation!