Snow on the Green Mountains

I mentioned in my previous post how much of a fan I am of winter. Which is to say... not much of a fan at all. So naturally, in February of this year I made the only logical choice: I went north to Vermont, a place with even more winter weather. A very smart, normal thing to do. 
The truth is that I went to college in Vermont (I even have some blog posts from there, from back in the day when this was a photoblog instead of a birding blog), and I've been itching to go back since I returned to the US. I still know lots of people from back there, including my friend Clayton who's been living in Burlington since getting married last summer. And if I'm going to suffer through a winter, I might as well go somewhere that has real snow rather than lots of mud and varying shades of grey like DC. 
To my pleasant surprise, there turned out to be a train running directly from Washington DC to Burlington- who would have guessed. It was a 12-hour journey, which is longer than I prefer …

Winter Light

It's fair to say that I have... mixed feelings about winter time. On the one hand, I genuinely like snow (at least when I'm not driving in it), and the Michigander in me will always appreciate a bit of cold weather to even out a hot summer. On the other hand, around here in DC it also means a severe reduction in bird density and diversity, and essentially no insect life to speak of. Not to mention that fact that it just drags on. And on. And on. 
Okay, so I probably fall more into the "anti" camp for winter, but one thing I do appreciate is the light: the "golden hour" before sunset gets longer, and the sun falls at a more oblique angle, making everything look just a little cleaner and crisper than in the summer when the sun is directly overhead. As a bonus, the few birds that do remain are active throughout the day rather than only in the early morning, which is good news for a lazy birder like me who doesn't always appreciate having to wake at the cr…