Note: The CCC Road is now open from Shrewsbury to Plymouth after repairs for damage from Tropical Storm Irene. It is closed in winter and may not open until after Memorial Day.
The CCC Road, which includes Coolidge State Forest, Tinker Brook Natural Area, Shrewsbury Peak and Plymsbury Wildlife Management Area, can provide a full day of great birding. The road, running between Plymouth and Rutland in Windsor and Rutland counties, respectively, offers opportunities to see some higher elevation species.
Although you can stop anywhere along the road and pull off, there are several places you can get out to walk and explore. Taking the road from Rte 100 in Plymouth the first stop at one mile is Tinker Brook State Natural Area. Access is on the south side at a curve in the road (there is no sign, only a small pull off for parking). A short walk in takes you to the hiking shelter and the fifteen acres that make up the spruce-fir/hardwoods area along a steep ravine. This is a reliable spot for Blackpoll Warbler. Blackburnian, Canada, and Black-throated Green warblers as well as Blue-headed Vireo.
At 2.0 miles (one mile east of Tinker Brook) is the east access to Shrewsbury Peak. Blackpoll Warbler is easily observed along the trail up and Swainson’s Thrush can also be seen and heard.
At 2.9 miles (1.9 miles east of the east Shrewsbury Peak access) is a gated access on the north side of the road. This leads to the remains of a stone house, which served as the CCC-era ranger’s cabin when the area was Coolidge State Park. Blue-headed Vireo, Winter Wren, and Magnolia Warbler are frequently heard here. Numerous small trails lead off from this area. Swainson’s Thrush is a confirmed nester in this area as is Golden-crowned Kinglet.
On the south side of the road is a small pull-off and access into the Plymouth Wildlife Management Area. Numerous warblers are present as well as raptors such as Sharps-shinned, Broad-winged and Red-tailed hawks along with Northern Goshawk and Barred Owls. Wild Turkey and Ruffed Grouse are abundant.
At 3.9 miles is a brushy area on the south side of the road. Clearcut in the 1990s, the now brushy area hosts Chestnut-sided, Mourning and Common Yellowthroat warblers as well as Indigo Bunting although it may not be too long until this particular area becomes too grown up for them.
Birding is best May through early July. The area is used during the hunting season and most of the CCC Road is closed in winter. Its reopening in the spring is subject to road conditions.