A Dunlin in Hinesburg

By josh • 251 Birds, Nature, Wildlife • 28 May 2013

Hinesburg (Chittenden County)
Lagoon Road
Town #43

Needless to say it’s been awhile since I posted, and even longer (six months!) since I added to the 251 Birds project.  Though we’re settling into a routine with the two boys, the new-ish house, and my new job, we’ve continued to find it difficult to carve out the large blocks of time that it takes for wildlife photography and serious birding.  Time with nature has become incidental for now- half an hour at lunch during the workweek, bird counts on the walk in to the office, or birding by ear on the walk to the playground past the horticultural farm.

But last week A and I had a little time to ourselves and decided to wander down to Hinesburg to see if we could find the dunlin that was visiting the water treatment lagoons west of the village.

Dunlin

Dunlin
Lagoon Road, Hinesburg
May, 2013

Success!  A and I walked up to the lagoon and spotted the dunlin and two least sandpipers immediately.  He was a bit intimidated by the giant holes dug by groundhogs beside the fence, but before I knew it he was sitting in the grass next to the holes and taking in the scene.

Dunlin

Dunlin
Lagoon Road, Hinesburg
May, 2013

The shorebirds were providing very nice looks.  I’ve only seen dunlin once before in Vermont, and this is the first time I’d seen one in Chittenden County.  While I was busy ogling, A was quietly listening and watching while he played with the tall grass in front of him.  A is still just two, and he doesn’t usually sit still for long.  The dunlin was still busily foraging though, so we decided to watch a bit longer before walking down the road to look at some cows.

Dunlin

Dunlin
Lagoon Road, Hinesburg
May, 2013

Dunlin

Dunlin
Lagoon Road, Hinesburg
May, 2013

All of a sudden A blurted, “it’s a Bird Day! This is a Bird Town!”  And he was right.  There were dozens of swallows swooping around, drinking from the surface of the lagoon and picking bugs out of the air.  Killdeer were nesting in the grass below us and meadowlarks and bobolinks were singing nearby.  I was so focused on the dunlin that I hadn’t noticed what an impression all of the sights and sounds were making on him.  He identified robins and crows by sight and mourning doves and red-winged blackbirds by sound and asked lots of questions about what the killdeer were doing down there.  I guess I should make an eBird account for him!

Dunlin

Dunlin
Lagoon Road, Hinesburg
May, 2013

A and I walked down the road (have you every tried to explain electricity to a two-year old? solar panels?), visited the cows, stalked some bobolinks, and then headed for a quick dinner at the Old Brick Store in Charlotte.  This kid is so much fun.  We need to find more time without distractions and other agendas to get out and enjoy things at his pace.

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