Spring Thaw: Bike Rides and Bird Spotting

Watching the ice on the main channel of the Connecticut River retreat (it amazes me that there IS still ice along the river!), and the migrant birds advance northward in recent weeks had me itching to take my first bike ride to work for 2013. Last week the forecast for Thursday looked good, so Wednesday night I got my bike in order for the first ride of the year, and set out the clothes I would need both for the ride in, and my work day. Cycling to work is almost like taking a little camping trip every day!

Grant Brook

Grant Brook on April 3, 2013.

What I enjoy about riding along the river the most is the pace. At the speed I ride, which, shall we say, is, um, leisurely, I am more able to observe the landscape around me, and identify what I see along the way. I liken it to the difference between being in a motor boat as opposed to being in a canoe or kayak.  So on Thursday, I hopped in the saddle and crossed over East Thetford Road, and turned south on River Road. Along the way to Route 10, I pass three tributaries to the CT River; Grant Brook, Hewes Brook and Slade Brook. At each confluence the returning ducks and geese, and even a killdeer, congregate at the edge of the ice as they rest on their way northward. Recent sightings include; greater and lesser scaup,  blue-winged teal, wood ducks, and common and hooded mergansers. Red-winged blackbirds also stand at their posts on cat tails along the river and sing about the return of longer (and warmer!) days.

I’m looking forward to seeing the ice recede and birds advance northward further up the valley in the coming weeks. On April 20th, UVLT will co-host a spring migrant watch with Hanover Conservancy and the Mascoma chapter of NH Audubon. We’ll follow the CT River northward from Hanover to Grant Brook in Lyme, and we’ll look to see which of our seasonal feathered neighbors has returned. To find out more about this birding event check our calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!


Jason Berard, Stewardship Coordinator