I finally managed to get a good shot of an American Kestrel! This guy was hunting in the fields along Shaker Mountain Road yesterday at midday as the snow fell. Usaully these small raptors will fly away before I’ve even gotten my camera out, but this one was more patient with me, allowing me to snap off several shots before flying off.
Bald eagles have made a dramatic recovery in Vermont over the past two decades. Here’s a discussion from the Audubon Vermont website:
“…15 Standard Survey Routes (SSR) were covered for the 2015 winter survey. A record fifty-one Bald Eagles (30 adult 20 immature, and 1 unknown age) were observed by designated observers on Vermont’s SSRs in 2015. This number is well above the record of 30 eagles reported in 2010. Bald Eagles were located on of the 14 SSRs surveyed including three routes along Lake Champlain, two along the Connecticut River, on the upper Winooski River, and on Lake Bomoseen. 2015 was the first year that an eagle was seen on the upper Winooski River route. The area between the Champlain Bridge and Shelburne Point on Lake Champlain supported the largest concentration of Bald Eagles (16 adults, 11 immatures) in the state. The overall numbers are well above totals of full surveys in recent years.”
I was standing at the back door overlooking Fargo Brook when I heard the unmistakeable call of robins. Grabbing my camera and long lens, I headed outside and found them over by the winterberry bush munching on a few remaining berries. They took to the willow over the pond as I approached and were nice enough to pose for a few shots.
My breakfast this morning was disturbed by the sound of bluejays screaming outside the windows by the feeders. Looking out, I saw them scatter as a fast moving shape slammed one of them to the ground. A sharp-shinned hawk had found its breakfast!
The hawk flew the still struggling jay over to underneath the apple trees near the brook to finish its prey off. I was able to get a few shots from the living room window before it flew off into the woods to finish its meal.
On a late afternoon paddle up an estuary, we came across a few sandpipers (I’m not very good with my shorebird identification…) This little fellow stuck around for quite a while allowing me to get in fairly close for some shots.