What a fantastic spring day: warm, sunny, blue skies; mud rutted back
roads; sap buckets hangng; and birds beginning to do what they do at
this time of year. Today I hit several spots mostly on the VT side of
the river between Springfield and Vernon.
First stop, 0915: Springweather Nature Area in Weathersfield. My
expectation was possibly seeing Bald Eagle activity at the nest that
has been used off and on over the past years but has yet to produce
any fledgling eagles. Well this is looking to be not their
year...again. Sitting on the nest was an incubating Great Horned Owl.
Stop 2, 0950: The south end of Skitchewaug Mountain in Springfield
viewed from Route 5. Upon getting out of the car I heard a wailing
Peregrine Falcon. A few minutes later it was spotted perched on a
rock ledge under a cliff face overhanging preening. No mate was seen,
so I'm assuming this is the earlier arriving male. Two Common Ravens
flew overhead but elicited no response from the falcon.
Driving south along Route 5 long stretches of the Connecticut River
are now free of ice or breaking up.
Stop 3, 1030: Bald Eagle nest near end of Upper Meadow Road (TH 23) in
Rockingham. One of the adult eagles was sitting on the nest. Another
adult eagle was spotted at a distance to the south perched in a tree
in the vicinity of Roundies Cove. Let's hope they are success parents
this year. Several Canada Geese were heard but not seen.
Stop 4, 1100: Mill Street in Bellows Falls which provides views of the
Connecticut River below the hydropower station.
--Mourning Dove 1
--Blue Jay 5
--American Crow 2
--Black-capped Chickadee 1
--White-breasted Nuthatch 1
--Carolina Wren 1
--American Robin 45+ a very conservative count
--European Starling 6
--Northern Cardinal 1
--Common Grackle 1
--House Finch 1
--House Sparrow 2, one carrying nesting material
--No waterfowl seen on river.
Stop 5, 1215: Vernon pool from canoe portage immediately upstream of
dam. Some open water but only 7 Canada Geese resting on partially
From here I crossed the river into Northfield, MA and traveled north
to Hinsdale, NH to checkout Wantastiquet Lake, the large setback off
the Connecticut River on the NH side (Stop 6, 1315). There was alot
of open water in the setback as well as on the river extending
upstream from Vermont Yankee. But the only waterfowl I saw was 3
Common Mergansers. If the male Barrow's Goldeneye was there it was
out of sight from my vantage points. Otherwise, 14 Ring-billed Gulls,
3 Herring Gulls and 4 Great Black-backed Gulls were on the ice.
South Reading, VT