Winooski River Portrait 2022

Yesterday I participated in the annual Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey. My route was the Winooski River, from Waterbury to Lake Champlain. I have surveyed this route several years now. While I did not see even one eagle, I did get to see the river in winter.

Last year the day was warm and there was much less ice. Yesterday I started with single-digit temperatures. By the time I was finished in the early afternoon the temperature was considering hitting 20, but had not yet decided.

Here is my portrait of the Winooski River for January 2022.

Close to shore, Duxbury
Under the Waterbury Winooski Street Bridge
Looking west from DeForge Hydroelectric Dam, Duxbury
Near Long Trail, Richmond
Long Trail footbridge, Richmond
From Jonesville Bridge
At Warren and Ruth Beeken Rivershore Preserve
Volunteers Green, Richmond
From Bridge near Fontaine Canoe Access, Williston
Overlook Park, Williston
Woodside Park, Essex
Bike path bridge where Winooski River ends at Lake Champlain

Winooski River Portrait 2019

I took part in the mid-winter Bald Eagle survey today. Yesterday was the target day, but I have been out of commission with a cold for a week. I tried to go into work on Wednesday, but I left early. I felt like garbage. I stayed out the next two days. Today, finally, I felt OK. Yesterday I was on the mend but I am glad I rested.

I saw zero Bald Eagles. There were not a lot of birds out in general. The day started at -6º Fahrenheit. It got as low as -9º. It was 11:00 before I saw the thermometer rise into positive territory. Our high was 13º. I guess the eagles were not interested in the cold. As I have the past two years, I took photos along the way. Here is my Winooski River portrait for this cold day.

Mist over the river just after sunrise in Duxbury
Looking north from the Winooski Street bridge in Waterbury
Ice on the Deforge hydroelectric dam
Green Mountains from Deforge hydroelectric dam
Open water under the Long Trail foot bridge
Looking north from the Jonesville bridge
River ice in shadow at Warren and Ruth Beeken Rivershore Preserve
Richmond Town Park
Snow on ice in Williston
Ice flowers in Colchester
Eddy at Winooski Falls
Pancake ice at the Winooski River mouth in Colchester

Winooski River Portrait 2018

Yesterday I participated in the Winter Bald Eagle Survey. My route was the Winooski River, from Waterbury to Lake Champlain. While I did not see any eagles, I got to see the river in its winter splendor. It was cold. The day started at 3 below zero and got all the way up to 6 degrees. Here is the Winooski River as I saw it yesterday.


Just after sunrise in Waterbury


Winooski Street Bridge, Waterbury


Deforge Hyrdoelectric Dam. Note the ice after high water earlier in the week.


From the Long Trail access point, Duxbury


Long Trail footbridge


From Jonesville bridge


Warren and Ruth Beeken Rivershore Preserve


Town park, Richmond


Near Fontaine Canoe Access, Williston


Overlook Park, Williston


Woodside Park, Colchester. The river is under all that ice.


Winooski River Walk, Winooski


Winooski, Vermont


Flooded fields at Ethan Allen Homestead


From the bike path bridge as the Winooski River ends at Lake Champlain

Winooski River Portrait 2

Yesterday I volunteered for the second time for the Mid-Winter Eagle Survey. My route was the Winooski River, from Waterbury to Lake Champlain. I stopped at several spots along the river, crisscrossing and paralleling as I went. Unlike last year, this year I did see one Bald Eagle, perched overlooking the mouth of the river. Like last year, I took photos as I went. Here is my January 2017 Winooski River Portrait:


River’s edge, Waterbury, Vermont


Winooski Street Bridge, Waterbury, Vermont


Bolton/Duxbury Dam


Duxbury, from Long Trail next to Winooski River


View of Winooski River from Long Trail Bridge


Pancake ice


Common Merganser, seen from Jonesville Bridge


From Warren and Ruth Beeken Rivershore Preserve


Looking west from Volunteers Green in Richmond, Vermont


Discarded television, Williston, Vermont


View of Winooski River from Woodside Park, Colchester, Vermont


Winooski, Vermont


Ice at Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, Vermont


Bald Eagle looking out over Winooski River and Lake Champlain

Winooski River Portrait

I recently volunteered for the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey. The target date was today so I headed out early to look for our national bird. My route was the Winooski River, from Waterbury to Lake Champlain. This is a pretty long route and it meant lots of planning to figure out which spots I could stop along to river to try to find eagles. I ended up stopping at 14 points along the river. I saw no eagles. I did, however, get to see a lot of the river.

The day was cloudy, just above freezing, with snow showers and rain showers and a mix falling briefly. Following is a January portrait of the Winooski River, or, at least, part of the Winooski River. It was beautiful. I was lucky to get to see so much of it in one day.

Waterbury, from River Road

Waterbury, from River Road

Waterbury, at Winooski Street Bridge

Waterbury, at Winooski Street Bridge

Bolton Dam

Bolton Dam

Long Trail Bridge, Duxbury to Bolton

Long Trail Bridge, Duxbury to Bolton



Richmond, from Beeken Rivershore Preserve

Richmond, from Beeken Rivershore Preserve



Williston, North Williston Road Bridge

Williston, North Williston Road Bridge

Essex, from Woodside Park

Essex, from Woodside Park

Colchester, from Burlington bike path

Colchester, from Burlington bike path

Winooski River flowing into Lake Champlain

Winooski River flowing into Lake Champlain

High Water and Warming Up


Gulls watch the roaring Winooski River up close

I took some time to walk briefly after work today. I walked along the river in Winooski. I thought I might see if I could find some spring migrating birds. The river was high. It roared. I could hardly hear any birds singing until I had walked far enough away. Lots of snow is melting. There was lots of snow this winter. It will be melting for a while.

I saw a few birds–Red-Winged Blackbirds, Hairy Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse. The usual types. I ducked off the trail at one point to listen and look. I saw some movement by a large puddle under the silver maples. I pointed my binoculars and saw a Rusty Blackbird. Boom! That is a fine bird to see. They are more and more uncommon and I had given up on seeing one this spring. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see one today. But there it was.

I like that about birding. I go out and just hope to see something. Sometimes one bird makes it all worthwhile. That happened today. It like to see whatever I see but most of the time there is some surprise. First White Throated Sparrow of the year, or a Catbird still around in December, or a Rusty Blackbird when I had not expected to see one. The unpredictability is a gift. Not being in control makes me feel more connected to the world. Being a spectator can take away the stress of modern life. It gives me a good sense of perspective.

Tomorrow morning I will rise early and go somewhere to look and listen again. I may see nothing new. But I am sure I will see something interesting. Hopefully I will be surprised. It should be a fairly warm morning. That alone will make me feel good.

Trying Something New and Snow Melting

I had to work today. I got to present a workshop, twice, on getting organized for the college admissions process. Each session had an audience of about 200 people. It was a lot. It was a little scary. That is why I did it.

If I am not doing something a little scary on a regular basis then I am not learning and growing. When I say “scary” I mean something that at least makes me uncomfortable, something that requires a risk, something that I have never done before. It always a little scary to present to a large group. If I totally miss the mark, then a large group of people will notice that, but when it works well it feels pretty good.

I don’t want to have too much routine in any area of my life. Routines are comforting and safe and it can be really nice to have that at times. If I get into too much of a routine, however, than I stop liking what I am doing. In my job, every day is different, every week is different, every year is different one to the next. That is not easy sometimes, but I certainly won’t get bored that way. If I can take risks often enough, then I will stay interested and I will keep developing as a professional and as a human being.

So I offered a workshop I had never offered before. I got some positive feedback, so at least for some participants it went well. Phew. Before I headed home I took a half hour to walk along the Winooski River, to calm my mind. The snow, 18 inches of it in Winooski, was quickly melting. The temperature got up to 45 degrees today. It wasn’t sunny but the snow slumped and melted. The river was starting to run high.

I watched ducks on the river. I saw three common goldeneye diving for mussels or whatever else they could find. One was hanging out under the Route 7 bridge in a hole in the ice. I saw a bufflehead, always cool to see. I watched a couple of mallards fly in and start dabbling on another open patch of water right below me. I saw my first cormorant of the year as well. I even got to hear a fish crow, which is hard to tell apart visually from your typical American crow but has a distinct nasal call. I watched the water flow around the ice and listened as the ice groaned–I think it is ready for spring.

Mallards on the Winooski River

Mallards on the Winooski River

I have realized that the reason I have enjoyed birding is that it is always new. Every time I go out I am surprised. I may see birds I expect and I may not, but there is always something I don’t expect. The weather may offer something curious, I may see a new species, I may just enjoy being in a new place. I always discover something. There is no bad birding experience. I always take the chance that I will be disappointed.  I never am.

The Winooski River is still in winter mode

The Winooski River is still in winter mode, but thawed a little today