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Lake Dunmore gets unusual weekend visitor - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lake Dunmore gets unusual weekend visitor

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BRANDON, Vt. - Out-of-state visitors flock to Vermont this time of year, but one visitor at Lake Dunmore was quite far from home.

It finally feels like summer in Vermont and everyone is doing their best to enjoy it.  The usual suspects are out at Lake Dunmore -- Vermonters seeing the sun for the first time in many months, the swallows flitting back and forth to their nests, and gulls gliding through the blue skies. But Sunday there was an unexpected visitor.

"I saw it, it was actually, it was flying and landed in between these two buoys here and just kind of hung out and enjoyed the day," said Lesley Porter, a Ranger at Branbury State Park.

Word soon got out there was a brown pelican on Dunmore, only the second to be reported ever in Vermont. The last and only other one was in October 2003 on Lake Champlain in Ferrisburgh.

Doug MacCallum heard about it at the store in Middlebury. "I heard from a friend of mine that they spotted one. He saw it nesting down at the other end of the lake. I haven't seen it, but I guess it's been recent and by a number of people," he said.

The pelican was seen off the beach at Branbury State Park.  Most, like Porter, couldn't believe what they were seeing. "A bird landed over here between the two buoys, and at first though, I said to myself, is that a heron? What is that? And I looked a little closer and I'm sitting here with my face scrunched up saying, what is that?" she said. "Our park volunteer, Pat, is from Florida and he said, 'That's a pelican,' And I said, 'Oh, come on, no. It's here on Lake Dunmore, it can't be a pelican.'  He said, 'I don't know what to tell you -- that's a pelican.' So we looked at it again and said, 'Yeah, that's a pelican. That's pretty strange."

More at home along the seashore from Florida through the Mid-Atlantic, the brown pelican has occasionally drifted as far North as New York, but inland? A freshwater lake in Vermont is hardly its natural habitat.

So far Monday, the pelican has not been seen again. Will this bird end up being a one day wonder, or will it turn up some place else in Vermont? You might want to keep your eyes open for a bird with a very, very, very long bill.
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