There's something about the landscape and small towns in northern New England that I've always found appealing. The air seemed to get fresher and mind clearer as I took a 4 hour drive to the area of Vermont that is referred to as the Northeast Kingdom.
I stayed at a little campground in East Burke that was nearly empty during my stay as most of the camping there takes place after Memorial Day when the mountain biking season starts to get busier. I used a lean-to for the first time. I found it made for a convenient way to store gear and to protect a tent from rain. If it weren't for the bug factor I wouldn't have bothered with a tent.
I did most of my birding at a tiny town called Victory that I had visited the previous Fall. Victory has a population of less than a hundred and wasn't even hooked up to the electric grid until 1963.It has a dirt road running through the town which has access to some great birding habitat including the kind of half-dying spruce stands that Black-backed Woodpeckers like. That is the main reason that I camped in that area.
I saw a number of birds that are hard to find in Connecticut including the Swainson's Thrush seen in the photo above. They're tricky to identify but we had a pretty good view of it which helped.
Olive-sided Flycatcher was another pleasant surprise for me. Their song is supposed to sound like quick-three-beers! The "quick" part of the song is subtle but the 3 beers portion was loud and piercing even from a distance. We also had 2 yellow-bellied Flycatchers on the same day.
Purple Finches are plentiful up that way. Their raspberry color stands out even on cloudy days.
I saw 16 species of warblers including Blackburnian (above), Nashville, and Canada. Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, and Magnolias were so numerous that I could hear them singing wherever I walked. My only regret is that I didn't take more pictures (or at least better pictures). I was so wrapped up in the birding action that I didn't want to put my binoculars down to grab my camera. It was one of those trips where I was in the right place at the right time. I hope to return to the same place next May.
So did I find a Black-backed Woodpecker during my stay? I'll have an update on that in my next post.