Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom with the Connecticut Young Birders Club

Young Birders clowning around at the end of the boardwalk at Moose Bog.  (We all did quite a bit of clowning around on this fun trip.)

Young Birders clowning around at the end of the boardwalk at Moose Bog. (We all did quite a bit of clowning around on this fun trip.)

I accompanied the Young Birders to the very top of Vermont at the end of June and what a great time we had!  We camped out for two nights at friendly, welcoming Pond Island’s Brighton State Park while we explored the region’s birding hot spots, spending most of our time at Moose Bog.  We never saw a moose, but it was a beautiful bog and it was there that we got our birding “Boreal Grand Slam,” the Black-backed Woodpecker (life bird for me), Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay and Boreal Chickadee.  A birder has to travel north to see these birds.

Chris Rimmer and a Bicknell's Thrush.

Chris Rimmer and a Bicknell’s Thrush.

After our stay we moved south to Mount Mansfield, camping an additional night at Smuggler’s Notch State Park.  There we rode the Toll Road (ski trail in winter) to the top of Mount Mansfield where we visited with Chris Rimmer, Executive Director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) and his research assistant .  This is one of the areas in which he studies the rare Bicknell’s Thrush.  We accompanied them along the mist net routes as they extracted birds for examination and banding and were even allowed to assist by releasing the banded birds.  We helped with recording duties, learned a lot about the importance of preserving the entire migratory route, and about VCE’s work in Hispanola and Puerto Rico where Bicknell’s Thrush winter.

One of the Young Birders helps out with the recording process.

One of the Young Birders helps out with the recording process.

Bicknell’s Thrush nests only at the tree line, thus it is found on the highest mountain tops in New England, Southern Canada and the Northern Appalachians.  As the climate warms, the tree line climbs further up the mountain leaving the tiny Thrush an ever decreasing area in which to nest.  Thanks to the work of VCE, we have much more knowledge about this bird, its habitat requirements and threats to its existence.

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