Leaving on my walk at 5:40 a.m. It’s 32 degrees out this morning. Across from the house I heard a TUFTED TITMOUSE, PHOEBE, CHICKADEE, and ROBIN. As I wandered down the road I added an OVENBIRD, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER,  WINTER WREN (across from Blood’s), BLACK-THROATED GREEN, NASHVILLE WARBLER (I think), BLACK-THROATED BLUE, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, GEESE (honking overhead), RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (from a distance). Got to the Nature Center at 6:05 a.m. and heard a GOLDFINCH and BROWN CREEPER. Got to the Lookout at 6:20 a.m. I feel slow and heavy this morning — as if I’m dragging myself on this walk. My ears aren’t sure of what they’re hearing. It’s cold out, I’m cold, and I’m not having as much fun as I usually do on my early morning walks. Camels Hump is bold and clear, and the sun is above the ridgeline. Will my spirits rise before I get home? The high-pitched singer along the steep bank section of the Hires Trail is sounding more like a BLACKBURNIAN than a BLACK-AND-WHITE this morning. The mystery triller is sounding more like a CHIPPING SPARROW than a JUNCO. A BLUE JAY just flew over, and I think I just heard a GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER — first of season. More GEESE flew over. I tried hard to see the triller but couldn’t. Heard a RED-EYED VIREO Got to Lichen Rock at 6:55 a.m. The WINTER WREN sang only part of its song for me — loud but incomplete. It just sang again, and I think it got through its whole song this time. When I turned in my 360 degree circle, I could hear water. Almost home at 7:15 a.m. Heard the WOOD THRUSH from the road near my house. It was in the Audubon woods across the road from my side boundary.

LATER: I went on a NATURE CONSERVANCY Science and Stewardship Committee Field Trip to the Monkton part of the new Raven Ridge Preserve that extends clear up to Ed Everts’ and Raven Davis’ property in Charlotte. We parked near the ToDo Institute’s driveway. It’s a Buddhist Retreat, and they have given TNC a right-of way up the lower end of their driveway. Saw SWALLOWS flying over the cattail marsh across from where we parked, but I couldn’t tell what kind.  Also GEESE. I heard a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and YELLOW WARBLER, and when we started into the woods a CHICKADEE, OVENBIRD,  GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, and GRAY TREE FROG.  Putting the Raven Ridge Preserve together was a $1.2 million project involving 362.1 acres in three towns. Now I’m hearing a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and BLUE JAY. We saw WHITE TRILLIUM in bloom and a big BUTTERNUT TREE growing on the edge of the old apple orchard. Heard a WOOD THRUSH, RAVEN, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, and HERMIT THRUSH. Warren King heard a SCARLET TANAGER.

LATER STILL: Science and Stewardship Meeting at Hinesburg Town Hall

Bill Keeton, who teaches Forestry and Forest Ecology at UVM was a guest speaker. He and his students found BIG BURR OAKS on the northern part of the Raven Ridge property, but they aren’t regenerating themselves and HEMLOCKS are moving in.

Later discussion: Federal Funds came to protect BAT HABITAT, including  SHAGBARK HICKORY. Dogs are not allowed on TNC preserves.