Last week while visiting my family in Massachusetts I had a bonus day trip up to Vermont with my brother.  He was doing the final walk through at a house in the woods his family was buying and I tagged along to see Vermont for the first time in 25+ years. 

The weather was familiar, if not ideal, and we spent most of the day getting soaked.  Our first stop was a spot my brother wanted to show me, Quechee Gorge, Vermont's deepest gorge, along the Ottauquechee River. 

We followed the wide trail down to the river and poked around for a bit.

Tadpoles for dayz

We walked back up the trail the other direction to the dam where snapping turtles and birds began to distract us.

 Chestnut-sided Warbler!

Past the dam the trail turned grassy with Deweys Pond on one side and the dammed river on the other.  The birds loved this area. 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Warbling Vireo snacky

The highlight here was an empid that I was trying to track as it hopped around in dense leaves.  Finally it stopped and I realized it had settled down into a nest!  I'm still not sure what species it is.

So cute. 

 After the gorge we headed to Woodstock which is the largest town near my brother's new house.  It's as quaint as you might imagine a Vermont town to be with shops, covered bridges, and historic buildings. 

We walked around town for awhile ending up on a trail by a cemetery that lead into the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park.  It was raining harder by then so I didn't take many photos, but this little flower caught my eye:

It's a Jack-in-the-pulpit!  But at the time I thought it was a dried up trillium flower because the leaves near it all looked so trillium-y.  Wish I had realized what it was and spent a few more seconds getting more angles of it. 

Back in town we had lunch at the tasty Mon Vert Cafe where the bathroom wallpaper made me very happy.

After lunch it was time to head to my brother's new house for the walk-through.

Pretty sweet!  When the realtor left we headed into the woods behind the house to look for one of the property lines, but I got distracted by young Eastern newts.

There were several of them around, amazingly bright orange and adorably small. 

When I mentioned my current obsession with wildflowers my brother remembered he had heard of a bog nearby with some kind of orchids growing.  Um, yes please!

We were about a week or so early for the Showy lady's slippers that bloom all over the place here, but we found a few Yellow lady's slippers.

Cypripedium parviflorum

And more plants... 

 Water avens (Geum rivale)
 False hellebore (Veratrum viridi)

  Pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea)

A Red-eyed Vireo was perched over the bog:

When we were done getting rained on at the bog we headed for one last Vermont stop, Sugarbush Farm, for cheese and maple syrup tasting.  Deliciousness all around. 

That's it for Vermont!  My state list is up to 31 birds and I saw several new wildflowers.  Good times!!!


  1. Hella snapper, that is. If I had to guess your empid I would go with Acadian for no reason other than it seems like it should be one. Vermont looks cool!

    1. Vermont is most definitely cool- glad to know I'll be back sometime!

  2. Red efts! Jack-in-the-pulpit! <3 <3 <3 More Nu England posts please.

    I think the fly is a Least - drab, short bill, eyering. Doesnt look very yellow and YBFL are essentially a boreal forest bird (remember where we saw them in Mayne). The habitat in that area doesnt look good for WIFL or ALFL either.

    1. Least is absolutely possible, but what if I told you it *was* WIFL habitat?

      I had no idea they were called red efts until my brother told me.

    2. If you did tell me that, I would tell you that WIFL/ALFL are heavier-billed and broader-tailed, with LEFL having a bolder eyering.

      Where are the photos of the maple displays? Bummed.

    3. Yay Least! Boo maple displays!

  3. You know I'm good with your new wildflower focus. I saw that same Geum in Eastern Oregon, just last week. And orchids - so cool.

    1. Ooh, I'm excited to hear what you were doing in Eastern Oregon!

  4. Eastern Newts! I spent a summer working in the woods in NH and they were everywhere. What’s the deal wth the conspicuous coloration? Are they playing the “probably poisonous” card on the land as well as the water?

    That Snapper is a monster, in all the best ways. I didn’t realize they were that far north, just thought of them being a more southern-state denizen.

    So how often will your brother open the house up to loose internet acquaintances of his siblings..?

    1. Yeah, I am guessing it's a "probably poisonous" defense, though I don't know for sure. They seem much more common than our newts in the northwest.

      Loose internet acquaintances of siblings (LIAoS) will eventually be able to find this sweet house on Airbnb :)

  5. Those newts are awesome! So bright! And they look so soft and delicate, very cool.

    Thanks for sharing your Vermont adventures :)

  6. I love the lady slippers and that "jackalope" wall paper, that's vintage!


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