Sunday, July 4, 2010

After VQF: Quest for a Life Bird

Once the festivities wrapped up at the Vermont Quilt Festival, it was time to explore. My friend Pat, herself a crazy birder type like yours truly, suggested we drive up Mt. Washington, in New Hampshire, as soon as they opened the road in the morning. The sign threatened a very scary drive. But . . .
It was stunning. Living all of my life in the West, I had not considered the size of the mountains in New England, which are just as high above ground level as most of our western peaks. We were on a quest for a particular bird, Bicknell's Thrush, that is found in a narrow range between 3,000-5,000 feet above sea level. We opted to climb Mt. Washington as it was the most accessible site to search for the elusive bird, listening to bird song tapes so as to ensure that we would know its song.
Friend, Pat, is a dedicated birder, even promoting birds on her license plate. We did indeed find the little fellow, singing his heart out at the exact location he was supposed to be. How often does that happen? We also got to see and hear a Swainson's Thrush, another lifer! What a day! But, there was more! Pat is an outstanding birding guide!
Back at Pat's place, we checked out her neighbor's property, heavily forested. It yielded, not only ancient equipment, but also a Black-throated Blue Warbler - yet another lifer. We were on a roll.
The view from Pat's front yard was spectacular and the birds in a back yard numerous, attracted by an over-sized pond filled with koi. Our evening entertainment was to sit on the porch and watch the kingfisher snagging baby goldfish over and over.
We even got close-up views of a few cooperative birds, like this Eastern Kingbird. I think Vermont is about as close to heaven as possible -- at least during the summer.

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