Ever since returning from Texas, I’ve been hoping to get up to the Northeast Kingdom and look for a few birds up there that I’ve never seen. Weather and commitments have held me back but I know that black fly season is coming on, so I took the long drive up to Island Pond today to do a little wet weather birding. Penny, the Vizsla, came along for the ride but waited in the truck.
It wasn’t a Vermont Life day: soggy with low clouds and still early spring. We stopped north of Lyndonville for some exercise and departing the turnoff area, nearly hit a dark, wet moose. From Island Pond, it’s about ten miles, down past the grass airport at which I’ve landed many times, to the Moose Bog trail in the Town of Ferdinand.
My target bird was the Spruce Grouse although I was hoping for a Grey Jay or Boreal Chickadee as well. I heard a number of winter wrens (saw one) and many yellow-rumps but after an hour or so, thought I’d be skunked. I was walking the quiet trail in a light mist when up ahead, right on the path, I saw movement in a little spruce tree. A big Spruce Grouse was standing there, eating away. I had time to wipe off my camera lens, and get pretty close for shots. I watched for some time and then turned around and left the bird to its meal. I was surprised at how accomodating it was — much different from a Ruffed Grouse.
It made the long drive worthwhile and gave me an incentive to get back up there later this year and look for the other birds.