This morning brought a memorable birding surprise.  On Kendall Station 
Road in Norwich, I was startled to hear and then moments later observe 
at close range an adult male Red-headed Woodpecker. The bird called 
persistently during >10 minutes that I watched it, flying between a 
large silver maple on the river and a stand of poplars across the road. 
   At one point, it was joined by a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, then 
moments later by a flicker.  The bird appeared agitated or restless, 
being both very vocal and physically active, moving constantly.  I know 
it stayed in the area for at least an hour, as others were able to see 
it as well, although it was not found in late morning.  Quite a thrill, 
needless to say.

Across Route 5 at the Ompompanoosuc River flats were at least 51 
Short-billed Dowitchers roosting tightly on small vegetated islands 
among the flooded mud flats, bills tucked into their back feathers.

In Norwich village was a singing N. Mockingbird, the first I've ever 
encountered in >25 years there.

With the late morning discovery of a Northern Wheatear at the VA 
Hospital in White River Jct (I was en route to DE by the time it became 
known, so missed it) and yesterday's find of a singing Yellow-breasted 
Chat in Bethel, the Upper Valley is serving notice to the big, bad 
Champlain Valley that we're gunning to become Vermont's rarity mecca!


Chris Rimmer
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
P.O. Box 420
Norwich, VT 05055
802-649-1431 ext. 1