Bob took me to the Burlington dump this morning to see what we could see. At first all we saw were gulls. Beyond the dump there’s a wide flat plain bounded on one side by the Beltline. In the distance Bob pointed out the steeples of one of the Catholic churches in Winooski. (Burlington is behind us; Winooski and Colchester are in front of us.) Bob pointed out “The Cobble,” which is in Colchester (or Milton?). He also pointed out the Thibaults’ and Sennesacs’ silos. There are three 300-foot tall red and white radio towers beyond Colchester high school, and the patch of evergreens growing on a hill are on the McCrea Farm. We can see the new houses just above the Ethan Allen Farm, and the Ethan Allen barn is just visible through the trees. Saw a COMMON (formerly Wilson’s) SNIPE in flight, making occasional sounds. Beyod the dump we could see a cattail field with with channels of water running through it. Bob says in spring the whole area is usually flooded and looks more like a lake than a field. He says when it’s flooded it’s full of ducks and geese. Right now it’s as low as it usually is in summer. There’s RED OSIER growing along the railroad tracks. The tracks are a spur from the main line of the Canadian Railroad (the one that goes through Essex Junction) to the Rutland Railroad (that now ends in Burlington and goes south toward Troy, NY). When Burlington built the Beltline, they drew fill from Pine Island in Colchester, and the bank where they dug it is still visible across the Intervale. Behind us we can see how the original bank here sloped down to the Intervale. Then they built the railroad, then the dump road, then the dump. Then they scooped fill from where we’re standing to cover the dump. Down in the Intervale itself, sandy soil has been deposited year after year by the river.

On Intervale Avenue Bob saw the FIRST FLICKER OF THE YEAR. We drove a ways and then hiked down a farm road not far from the dump. When we came to the river we saw signs that said: “Danger. Do not Anchor or Dredge. Gas Pipeline Crossing. Vermont Gas Systems.” Saw a FLICKER looking for a nest hole in a dead elm along the bank of the river. Walked to a point across the river from Tom Fitzgerald’s barn. Saw MOURNING CLOAKS out in the fields. Wildlife of the Intervale: DUCKS and GEESE in spring (they stay quite late), COMMON SNIPE, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, RING-BILLED GULLS, FLICKERS, KINGFISHERS, SORA AND VIRGINIA RAILS, GREAT HORNED OWLS, CROWS, MOURNING DOVES, RACCOONS, MUSKRATS, BEAVERS, (OTTER and MINK possible), and MOURNING CLOAKS. Pine Island was once covered by a pine forest. Bob says there’s still quite a pine woods on the Douglas Farm.

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