I woke up my teenage son Andrew early (relatively) for a day of skiing at Mt. Snow. My brother lives in a New York town that borders Vermont. As we cruised along the “Bennington Bypass” on this gray, misty morning I pointed out the “Welcome to Vermont” sign to my son. I glanced back quickly at the “Welcome to New York” sign that was now in my rearview mirror. I noticed the huge sign had a lump on the top of it.
Could it be another owl, I thought. Probably just a hawk (not that hawks are uninteresting, but they are rather common along highways) I figured, but I wheeled the car around anyway. Sure enough, it became apparent as we closed the distance that the lump in question was another barred owl. Winter of the Barred Owl, indeed.
I parked in a pull-off spot conveniently located in front of the sign and grabbed a few photos before heading to the mountain.
The first owl on Wednesday was photographed in a New York town that borders New England. The second owl was even closer to the New England border and it may be argued it was half in Vermont. Either way, it was nice to join the barred owl party.
Then I took a trip on Wednesday to visit my brother in upstate New York near the Vermont border and joined the barred owl party. I was driving up Route 22 through Berlin, N.Y., when I noticed an owl perched on a wire going over the road.
I turned the car around to get another look, but the owl was no longer there, even though I had seen it about one minute before. I drove past the spot and turned onto the next side road to get turned around again. It looked as if the road would lead to a few farms. The largest flock of turkeys I’ve ever seen was gathered in a field alongside the road. The turkeys, about 40-50 of them, seemed fairly wary so I didn’t linger long.
I got back onto Route 22 and headed back toward my brother’s. The owl hadn’t returned to its spot on the wire over the road, but I did spot it on a wire that ran along the road. I pulled over onto the shoulder and grabbed a few shots. This wire was an even better spot as it was lower and made for a better photographic angle. The owl mostly focused on a field under the wire, but did take the occasional look over its shoulder. Again, I didn’t linger long but did get some good close-ups of this handsome bird.
I’ll post Part II of the story tomorrow. Berlin is border town with New England, near the point at which northwest Massachusetts meets southwest Vermont. Part II will bring us even closer to the New England border.
After my latest bird column published in The Keene Sentinel this week, I received a few additional photos of barred owls from readers in SW New Hampshire. Funny how they are showing up on feeding poles so often.