By Bryan on April 7, 2014
Spring migration is picking in the Capital City. On our rivers, through the woods and in our backyards, I’m encountering new arrivals nearly every day. Along our five-mile walking loop through the city on Sunday, Ruth and I noticed two pairs of Hooded Mergansers loitering by the bridge over the North Branch of the Winooski at the recreation field.
Meanwhile, my first Montpelier Song Sparrow of the year began singing last Friday in the big hedgerow (as he has for the past couple of years) behind Trinity United Methodist Church on Main Street. Although they’ve been around, American Robins burst into bigtime dawn chorus over the weekend. I’m also finding more Dark-eyed Juncos among them. And Northern Cardinal numbers seem to be up this spring; the city is lousy with them.
Our most unusual bird came this morning, a Red-bellied Woodpecker calling from the pocket park on Summer Street just after dawn. Two decades ago, this southerner would have been a fairly rare bird in Vermont. But red-bellies have been trickling in over the years, and now breed in scattered locations across the state. Remember, it’s tough to see the red belly on a Red-bellied Woodpecker, but easy to see its red crown and nape. And, finally (but really just part of the beginning), my first Eastern Phoebe was calling from the Spring Street bridge over the North Branch this morning. (Below this Red-bellied Woodpecker you’ll find a female Hooded Merganser).
Next edition of Montpelier Wild: April Fireworks.
P.S. The roads in Hubbard Park are muddy; so please walk rather than drive in. Thanks! And don’t forget your spikes for the icy trails.