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I didn't see a post from Rick so I thought I put one out here...

Thanks to Rick Renaud, I had a personal tour of the extensive series of 
orchards above Rick's house on Brigham Hill in Essex on a very beautiful 
Saturday morning.  

We went looking for warblers, and we found them:

--black and white
--nashville
--tennessee
--blackpoll (bazillions)
--mourning
--blackburnian (female)
--redstart
--chestnut-sided (with strange calls that kept fooling us...)
--black-throated blue
--common yellowthroat
--ovenbird
--black-throated green (heard, then later seen by Rick)
--yellow-rumped (reported later in the day, it was conspicuously absent earlier)

Also present and notable in the orchards:

--indigo buntings
--rose-breasted grosbeaks
--baltimore orioles
--winter wren

We noted an odd number of great looks at red-eyed vireos... and then in one 
field, while tracking down a mourning warbler, we came upon 3 red-
eyeds "playing" down low in the sumac... they were buzzing about and 
posing... neither I nor Rick had seen any vireo behavior like it.

We struck out on the cerulean, but the morning was really dominated by big 
birds.  On the hunt for wood-warblers, we caught sight of what turned out to 
be a huge barred owl... behaving very wierdly.  Rick's theory was that it was 
feigning injury -- first it flew at us and landed in a tree (50' away) to check us 
out...  then it proceeded to fly from tree to tree, perching awkwardly and 
flapping its wings.  It had no trouble flying.  There also seemed to me to be a 
hip thrust (reminding me a little of a woodcock).  I thought I heard what might 
have been its mate clucking nearby... perhaps it was protecting a nest?  
perhaps it was copulating?  Any ideas?

Finally, on the way back down to the house, we nearly squashed a bunch of 
turkey chicks... the mother bolted off leaving a dozen or so chicks, many of 
whom couldn't even right themselves in the grass.

With both the owl and the turkey, we skee-daddled in order to try to minimize 
stress on the birds.

And finally, on a whim, I stopped by Giprag's in Hinesburg this AM and 
happened upon a singing Blue-winged warbler -- such a beautiful bird -- Whoo-
hoo.  

Freebird!

--justin