See wildlife up close with experts

FERRISBURGH — This spring Vermont Fish & Wildlife will offer free guided excursions by fish and wildlife biologists. The excursions will continue throughout 2019.
“These events are a chance for Vermonters to get to know the state’s 98 wildlife management areas either in their own back yard or in a wild remote corner of the state,” said John Austin, lands and habitat program manager for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “Whether you’re watching trout jump up Willoughby Falls in the spring, looking to observe unique birds, or looking for moose among the colorful fall foliage, there are always great opportunities to view wildlife on Vermont’s wildlife management areas.”
The first seminar on offer in Addison County is the Spring Waterfowl Migration Bird-Watching Tour, Thursday, April 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Little Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area, in Ferrisburgh. Join state waterfowl biologist David Sausville to catch the spring migration of waterfowl in this naturally productive wild rice marsh. Sausville will lead participants on a brief walk along the shoreline to look for birds with binoculars. The group will also use a spotting scope to look at a nearby eagle nest. A backup date has been set for Friday, April 12.
“The group could easily see six to twelve different species of waterfowl, numerous wading birds, osprey, eagles, and possibly several wetland mammals including muskrat, beaver, otter, and mink,” said Sausville. “The sunsets can be amazing on the water from this location, with the Adirondacks in the background and birds flying and calling in most directions.”
All events in the series are free.  Space is limited and these events fill up
May will bring two more events to Addison County. The first is the Spring Wildflower Walk on Thursday, May 9, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison. Vermont Fish & Wildlife botanist Bob Popp will lead the group looking for spring wildflowers.  Dead Creek includes one of the largest remaining clay plain forests in the state, with many unique plant species found here as a result. The group will meet at the Visitor Center and go on an easy walk looking for flowers and other unique plants.
The second event is the Evening Bird-Watching Paddle, on Tuesday, May 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., also at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area. The group will set out in canoes and kayaks hoping to catch a glimpse of the many bird species that are present at Dead Creek during the spring bird migration, led by Fish & Wildlife’s Ali Thomas and Tom Rogers.
Dead Creek represents some of the finest birding opportunities in all of Vermont — an incredible 200 bird species can be found there, particularly ducks, shorebirds, and hawks. The spring bird migration represents a great time of year to see birds that might not be present at other times of year. Participants must bring their own canoe or kayak, paddles, and life jackets. A backup date has been set for the following day, May 29.
All seminars are free and participants are encouraged to bring snacks and water and to dress in footwear and clothing appropriate for the weather and season. Space is limited and these events fill up quickly, so sign up as early as possible at vtfishandwildlife.com.

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