Today was the first day above freezing we’ve had in several weeks and with all the melting, I figured that there might be some critters stirring, and perhaps I could see a Red-tailed or Cooper’s hawk. So, after a morning meeting, I took the truck for a little drive, looking for raptors. I also checked the Winooski to see if perhaps some areas had opened back up. I pulled into Lover’s Lane, a dirt road in Moretown where Mary and I had seen a couple of Hooded Mergansers a couple of weeks ago. Nothing doing, the river was ice-covered.
I turned the truck around in a series of backs and forwards, and pulling out, saw a Walmart bag on a branch across the meadow. No, that’s a hawk. I stopped the truck, cross-wise to the little road, and got the binoculars on it. A Barred Owl was staring right back at me. I rolled down the window and took a few photos as it sat perched there, watching the ground for lunch and every so often casting a glance my way. I was quite a distance out but got some decent shots of a neat bird. Pretty uncommon to see one in broad daylight but it’s the first good lunch day we’ve had in a while.
Back in December, I set some goals for a County Big Year. My species goal for January was an optimistic thirty-five. Well, the Barred Owl brings me to 34 with day to go. No big deal one way or the other, but it’s a nice start to the year’s count.