In a very cold winter like the one we have been experiencing when Lake Champlain completely freezes over, finding waterfowl in Addison County can be very difficult. But along the Otter Creek, the waterfalls that had the power to draw colonists to our area, also have the energy to keep water open, and these spots can entice ducks and geese to stay over winter. One such flock of geese and ducks in Middlebury tickled my curiosity enough that I recently talked my friend Ian Worley into joining me in visiting all these falls along the creek from Vergennes to Rutland County. We found that almost every one of these spots had open water and hosted some waterfowl. There were Canada Goose, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers and a Hooded Merganser, at places like Twin Bridges, Belden Falls, Lower Falls in Weybridge, and the Falls in the village of Middlebury. Belden Falls, which had extensive open water due to the rapids below it, was the mother lode with over fifty Common Goldeneye and other assorted ducks.

Other OCAS board members inspired by our trip also visited local waterfalls and brought cameras to take the nice pictures seen in this post. The beautiful male Bufflehead Gary and Kathy Starr photographed at the Lower Falls in Weybridge was a good find. Also, Craig Zondag took multiple trips and over 50 pictures of a Canada Goose at Middlebury Falls that was wearing a leg band to get enough information to read the number off it. After submitting the number to the proper group, he learned that this Goose was banded in Stanley Park near New Britain, Hartford Co, Connecticut on June 25, 2007.

– Ron Payne