June 2009


Nature Conservancy field trip to TNC’s new Butternut Hill Natural Area near Hazen Point not far from North Hero. Carpooled up with Carl Reidel (who I met for the first time) and Larry Hamilton. 11:15 a.m. Walking through the wet woods at Butternut Hill, I heard or saw a CHIPPING SPARROW, GOLDFINCH. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, and SCARLET TANAGER. We paused in an open-water wet area to look at the INVASIVE YELLOW IRIS. Heard a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, and RED-EYED VIREO. Talked to Steve Young of the School for Northern Studies on the after-lunch boat ride out to Hen Island. Dave Greenough was our local guide and boat captain–a very nice guy.

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4:20 p.m. Decided to take a quick walk before dinner. I thought it might be interesting to time a new loop along the Dogleg Boundary Trail to Blood’s Chute, across the brook there, up the back bank to my Retreat, and home from there. I figured it might take me half an hour. BUT when I got to Blood’s Chute, I ran into challenges…. The rocks were so slippery, I had to move across them very carefully. I crouched over and used both my hands and feet for support. Just as I was making an awkward move to get across the water rushing through the chute, my pocket notebook fell into the water, and I watched it tumble all the way down to the pool below, where it came to rest floating in the deepest part. I scrambled on across, maneuvered down the far bank to the pool, and tried to reach my floating notebook with a stick, but it was too far out. So I took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my pants, and waded in. Actually, the water and sandy bottom felt good, and I had to laugh at the whole situation as I rescued my totally soaked notebook. A quick check showed me that my ballpoint pen ink had survived the dunking, and I waded back to shore to put my shoes back on. I was just beginning to relax when the GOSHAWK started kekking at me from the bank behind me. I thought maybe I’d better take my shoes off again, wade across the pool, and hike back home by way of the steep bank up to the road, but by the time I had gotten myself across the brook, I had changed my mind. I wanted to see if I could be quiet and careful enough to sneak by the GOSHAWK to my Retreat and home by the route I had originally intended. Back across I went, hid behind a big tree while I was putting my shoes back on, and then walked upstream along the brook until I thought it would be OK to try bushwhacking up the bank to my Retreat. NO GOSHAWK! I heard a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH singing from the brook, so I dropped back down to my old stepping stones hoping I might catch a glimpse of it. No WATERTHRUSH, water too high and stepping stones too slippery to cross, so I took the White Trail and Bob’s bridge back home. Got there at 5:20 p.m.–an hour after I left for my quick before-dinner walk.

Heard a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH singing in my side yard this morning.

ORANGE HAWKWEEDS are blooming along the roadsides. In Winooski, the COTTONWOODS are shedding tons of COTTON!

3:20 p.m. Overcast. Decided to take a walk in my own woods to check on the RATTLESNAKE PLANTAIN. There’s a WOODCHUCK hanging around in my side yard. Heard a VEERY singing from the woods behind my house. No sign of flower stalks on the RATTLESNAKE PLANTAIN yet, but there’s a HERMIT THRUSH singing close by, which seems like a good omen. After visiting the Rattlesnake Plaintain Knoll, I decided to drop down and cross the brook to the Nature Center’s Brook Trail. It’s a fairly easy crossing here. From the Brook Trail I heard an OVENBIRD and a BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. 5:20 p.m. On my way home I heard a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER at Blood’s.

11:30 a.m. I’m in Winooski sitting by the Winooski River right beside the uppermost of the cascades. I do like moving water, and there’s lots of it between here and the Salmon Hole, so now I need to find the spots that feel best to me. Maybe I should just sit in different spots at different times for a while until I intuit the right place or places to be. My current theory is that it or they are down at the falls and/or just below the big water. I don’t think it’s here–at least not today. As I continued my walk, I heard or saw a GRACKLE, WARBLING VIREO, and CEDAR WAXWINGS. I think I’m watching a BIG OTTER swimming around in the Backwater Pond just beyond the end of the Riverwalk. At first I thought it was a beaver, but it doesn’t seem to be behaving like a beaver. I wish I could see the tail. In the woods beyond the backwater, I heard or saw a VEERY, ROBIN, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, CATBIRD, GOLDFINCH, TUFTED TITMOUSE, and HOUSE WREN. Watched a PILEATED WOODPECKER working really low in the trees near the trail sign. Heard or saw a DOWNY WOODPECKER, REDSTART, FLICKER, RED-EYED VIREO, and PEWEE. I like this off-the-beaten-track trail that winds around the backwater into the woods and joins up with the main trail a ways down.

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