Commuting with Spring Migrants Along the Connecticut River Flyway

April 16, 2013

As I was cycling home from work Monday night, I noted that the ice on the Connecticut River is now nearly gone. The only place I still noted remnants clinging to the banks of the river was at the confluence of Grant Brook and the CT River in Lyme, NH. Just a week ago, as hard as it is to believe, this place was still mostly frozen, with only the swift water in the middle of the brook running freely.


Pictured: Canada geese (bottom left) and common mergansers (top right). Click on image for larger view!

With all the rivers now free of ice, the migrating spring birds are making their way back to the Upper Valley in larger and larger numbers. The Connecticut River is a major flyway for these migrating birds; think of it as the equivalent of an interstate highway for our avian friends. They “drive” along the river, and “pull off” at the “rest areas” along the way to refuel and get some rest before they continue their long journey. So if you want to get a glimpse of which of our feathered friends have made their way back to the Upper Valley, the CT River is a great place to go!

If you have noticed all of these migrating waterfowl floating on the river lately, but like me, you can’t tell a ring-necked duck from a lesser scaup, consider coming along with us on April 20th. UVLT will co-host a spring migrant watch with Hanover Conservancy and the Mascoma chapter of NH Audubon. George Clark and Art Mudge of Mascoma Audubon will lead the trip, and assist us with identifying what we see. We’ll follow the CT River northward from Dartmouth Printing in Hanover to Grant Brook in Lyme, and we’ll look to see which of our seasonal feathered neighbors have returned. For folks who are interested, we may also take a walk up to Lyme Hill from Grant Brook and see if any of our woodland bird neighbors have returned. To find out more about this birding event check our calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!

Jason Berard, Stewardship Coordinator