STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN! BIRDWATCHERS CAN STRIKE GOLD I

You don’t have to be a birdwatcher to love the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, but those who enjoy spotting beautiful birds will find treasure in this beautiful corner of Northwest Connecticut. The region offers a variety of colorful summer terrain–open fields, woods, lakes and ponds, riverbanks, and wetlands–a boon to both winged visitors and the footed friends who come to admire them against a backdrop of flaming foliage.

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Here are some of the most scenic spots to stop, look, and listen to the sweet songs of the birds:

White Memorial Foundation & Conservation Center, Rte. 202, Litchfield. 860-567-0857. The State’s largest reserve has great waterfowl viewing on Bantam Lake, a favorite for migrant ducks and geese, as well as abundant varieties of land birds. Last fall saw waves of warblers, as well as bluebirds, robins, blackbirds, and sparrows passing through on their migration south. Rarer species such as the Philadelphia Vireo, White-winged Crossbill, Hooded Warblers, and Evening Grosbeaks were also sighted.

The Sharon Audubon Center, Rte. 4, Sharon, 860-364-0520. Some 179 bird species from great blue herons to tiny wrens have been seen on this 800-acre property where eleven miles of trails are open daily dawn to dusk.

Railroad Ramble Nature Trail, maintained by the Salisbury Land Trust is an easy one-mile walk along an old railroad bed between Lakeville and Salisbury. This walk has been carefully preserved in its natural state by the Land Trust and is rich in plant and birdlife. One of the best spots for bird watchers is the pond where many varieties of eastern songbirds, as well as waterfowl, can be seen. More than 90 varieties of birds have been spotted along the trail. To reach the trail from Lakeville, take Route 44 north, turn right to the end of Walton Street and look for the trailhead on the left. The other end of the trail is at Salmon Kill Road just behind the village in Salisbury.

Twin Lakes, Salisbury, bounded by Twin Lakes Rd. and Taconic Rd, Between the Lakes Rd. runs between them and can be reached from Route 44 east of town. Here you will find great waterfowl viewing including many varieties of ducks from mergansers and ringnecks to ruddy ducks, canvasbacks, buffleheads, and horned grebes.

Kent River Road, a dirt road on the west side of the Housatonic River, is a good site to see a variety of winged beauties. On a good day, vireos, flycatchers, or swallows can be spotted as well as a host of waterfowl. At the end of the road is a trail leading from the parking area where the yellow-throated warbler is often found. The River Road is off Skiff Mountain Road, 1/2 mile north of Route 341, and 3/4 mile from the traffic light in Kent at the intersection of Route 7 and 341.

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