Kent Pond, Gifford Woods State Park, and the Appalachian Trail in Killington afford plenty of birding opportunities. Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, this area offers a variety of birds in a beautiful setting.
Common Merganser, Mallard, Common Loon and Spotted Sandpiper are often present on Kent Pond. Sometimes Osprey are seen and, on more rare occasions, Bald Eagle. Spotted Sandpipers nest here. In the summer of 2009 a pair of loons unsuccessfully attempted to nest on one of the islands in the pond; it is hoped they will succeed in future years.
The pond is a particularly good place to visit after stormy weather in spring or fall. On June 23, 2009 Roy Pilcher wrote about some of the unusual visitors that have been seen at the pond in the past. Click here for more details. On May 31, 2011, observers there to check on the nesting loons were startled to find an American White Pelican perched on one of the rocks near the loon nest.
The Appalachian Trail runs through Gifford Woods State Park west of Kent Pond and passes along the south side of the pond. The trail in either direction offers the opportunity to see a wide variety of warblers including Nashville, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Black-and-white, American Redstart, Ovenbird and Canada warblers. Brown Creepers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Winter Wrens are present in good numbers.
A pleasant hike is to take the Appalachian Trail south of the parking lot and continue east along Kent Pond and across Thundering Brook Road. This route will take you over a ridge to the bottom of Thundering Brook Road. You can then return the way you came or walk up Thundering Brook Road to the pond and then back along the trail to the fishing access parking lot.
Alternately you can turn east, cross Route 100 (traffic moves quickly so use caution) and take the Appalachian Trail through Gifford Woods State Park. Birding is best mid-May through summer and well into September. The pond is usually frozen in winter through mid-April.
DIRECTIONS:: Take Route 100 north from the intersection with Route 4 in Killington. The fishing access and parking lot are about ¼ mile on the right. To view the pond from the east side, take Thundering Brook Road north from Route 4 (the first road east of the intersection of Route 100).