The author at Jay Peak. Photograph by Bob Stymeist.
Any given day of birding, like any activity, can be exhilarating, frustrating, joyous, slow, boring, intense, disappointing, awe-inspiring, surprising, exhausting, or calming. Many birding forays, although enjoyable, are not particularly memorable. But every once in a while, the stars align where not only the birds but everything about the moment combines to send your spirits soaring. Such was one morning in mid-June in 2020 on Jay Peak, a mountain located in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont just four miles south of the Canadian border.
My husband Bob, my guide dog Alvin, and I set out from an empty parking lot near the base lodge of the Jay Peak ski resort at 5:40 am. The day was clear and cool, perfect for a climb of about 2000 feet to the 3,858-foot Jay Peak summit. On our ascent, we barely stopped to listen to such species as Ovenbird, Hermit Thrush, Black-throated Green Warbler, or Blue-headed Vireo as we were focused on getting to the summit area as quickly as possible for our target bird, the Bicknell's Thrush.
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