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A rare sighting: a female black-backed woodpecker in the boreal forest


I had an inspiring birding trip last week. Kate and I were invited to join some dear friends in a four-hour exploration in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

We were led by the bird diva, Bridget Butler. I can’t recommend Bridget’s guiding highly enough. She struck that perfect balance between pointing out birds and really listening to questions from the group. I’ve heard her on Vermont Public on many occasions, and I’m always impressed by how closely she listens to everyone’s story—amplifying their point of view, and often celebrating what she is leaning from them.

Sure, we kept a list for the session, and it was quite a good one, with 18 species identified during our four hour walk. (We had some great views of palm warblers.) But the morning was more about immersion in the sights, sounds and smells of that wild place, the boreal forest and bog.

I was also able to gather some great reference photos for my paintings from the session—including quite a rare sighting for me—the female black-backed woodpecker that you see above.


More paintings are coming soon, I promise, including a singing eastern meadowlark from the fields of Consider Bardwell Farm on our beloved West Pawlet rail trail.

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