This morning, I had the pleasure of birding with friends Linda Gionti and Patti Haynes in Washington County. First we drove to Waterbury Center with hopes of seeing the winter resident Northern Hawk Owl. With its routine perches and hunting grounds well established, it didn’t take long to locate it on the edge of the field, about equi-distant from Blue Heron Cove Road and Gregg Hill. In addition to lovely looks, we enjoyed the company of visiting birders from New Hampshire as well as Virginia. Next, a mother and son, returning from a canceled ski racing event, stopped to ask what we were looking at and it didn’t take much convincing for them to park safely and join us. They were not disappointed.
Then, on to E.F. Knapp State Airport in Berlin in hopes of finding a Snowy Owl. We figured our chances would be good to find at least one since most of the snow was gone. We hadn’t stepped more than twenty feet from the car when we saw the whiter of the two Snowies fly to the fence edging the cemetery. A closer look revealed the other, more heavily barred owl perched above it on the fence. Like many other Vermont birders, I can now say with delight that we were seeing double, with both birds in the scope’s view. Several cars passing by stopped to ask what we were looking at and again it did not take much convincing to lure them from their cars. A woman in pajama’s and slippers shuffled to the scope and I loved seeing her animated expression when she focused on the bird.
At the southern end of the airstrip, we were also able to locate a Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk, and at least 50 Snow Buntings. Washington County is where it’s at!
LOVE winter birding!!