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Campbell Flats Road

Birding in Vermont

Campbell Flats Road
Norwich, Vermont 05055

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Windsor County

Campbell Flats Rd.
Coordinates: 43.7681138, -72.2433633
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About Campbell Flats Road
Entirely under private ownership, mostly by the extended Sargent family of Norwich, Campbell Flats Road offers varied habitats in a relatively small area, excellent avian diversity, and easy walking terrain. The Sargents welcome birders and graciously maintain mowed trails that greatly enhance the area’s accessibility. Parking is a bit limited along the gravel road itself, as shoulders are narrow, and the best location is alongside a split rail fence just beyond (west of) Peterson Road, where there is room for 3-4 cars on the left (south) side of the road. Be mindful not to block the opening along the fence. From here, walk west along Campbell Flats Road and down a short hill with a small private home and cow pasture with a barn on the right. At the bottom of this hill is the flats itself, just beyond a small stream that flows under the road through a culvert and dumps into the Ompompanoosuc River, which parallels the road.

There are a couple of options for birding Campbell Flats Road. One can simply stay on the road itself and check the wet areas on either side before reaching the agricultural fields (corn on the left/south, late-mowed fields on the right/north). Beaver activity at the terminus of the small creek that flows into the Ompompanoosuc River greatly influences the amount of water in the wet meadows, which can be a good location for wading birds (herons, bitterns, egrets, yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpipers, occasionally rails). Just before the ag fields as you walk west on the road is a mowed path to the left (south), which usually has a wire “gate” to exclude non-farm vehicles, but is open to foot traffic. This leads to the river ~100 meters away and begins a very nice walking loop that circumnavigates the cornfield, first along the river itself, then looping back to Campbell Flats Road at the field’s south end. This can be an excellent route to intercept migrant songbirds and can be chock full of sparrows in autumn. Walking back (east) along the road can be productive for grassland birds: Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows nest in the unmowed fields, and meadowlarks are a possibility. The uncut corn attracts many blackbirds, Bobolinks, sparrows, and Indigo Buntings. During late summer, Common Nighthawks may be found foraging over the flats in the early evening, and a diversity of raptors are possible at any time of year. Vagrants at this site in recent years have included Little Blue Heron and Western Kingbird. Depending on the volume of birds and one’s pace of birding, the area can generally be comfortably covered in 60-90 minutes.
From Chris Rimmer