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National Audubon

rcas annual meeting - june 24, 2015 

Roy Pilcher presents the annual reportRCAS directors and members gathered at the Proctor Library on June 24 to celebrate another successful year of Rutland County Audubon. The evening kicked off with a delicious potluck supper.

Roy Pilcher, who will be stepping down as RCAS co-president, presented the annual report from the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, our fiscal year.

Following the annual report and election of officers, participants enjoyed a member ‘slide show’ presented on a new drop-down screen donated by RCAS to the Proctor Library, the venue for many of our events, in lieu of a donation for use of their facility. One of the highlights of the show was Valerie Biebuyck’s photo and description of two herring gulls fighting over Cheese Nips that neither of them actually wanted.

We hope you will join us, either as an active volunteer or as a participant in our field trips and programs, in the coming year.

 2015-2016 Slate of Officers:


Marvin Elliott President
Mike Blust, Vice President
Kathleen Guinness, Secretary
Marian McDonald, Assistant Treasurer
Roy Pilcher, Treasurer

Marsha Booker
Nathan Dansereau
Ralph Nimtz
Susan Elliott
Renee Warren
Fred Bates
David Jenne
Mary Lou Webster
Sue Wetmore
Tim Abraham






west rutland marsh - june monitoring report

Mallard with youngWe probably say this every year, but nothing beats West Rutland Marsh in June for birding! Twelve participants on today’s monitoring walk, our 167th monthly walk, tallied 65 species. This is a bit more than our June average of 60 and a lot more than last year’s 57!

Herons were a highlight with American, Least, Great Blue and Green. An American Bittern flew across a hay field on the east side of Marble Street while later another flew overhead has we walked up Water Street.

The only raptor of the day was a single Red-tailed Hawk.

A good number of warblers were tallied: Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-White, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler and Chestnut-sided.

As expected there was plenty of evidence of the breeding season with a female Mallard sitting on a log with her young, a nest box filled with cheeping Tree Swallows, a Baltimore Oriole carrying food and several species agitated by our presence.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, July 9, at 7 a.m.

Today list:

Canada Goose  1
Mallard  9
American Bittern  2
Least Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  3
Turkey Vulture  3
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  1
Mourning Dove  6
Black-billed Cuckoo  1
Chimney Swift  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Belted Kingfisher  3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Alder Flycatcher  6
Willow Flycatcher  4
Least Flycatcher  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  2
Eastern Kingbird  6
Yellow-throated Vireo  2
Warbling Vireo  6
Red-eyed Vireo  13
Blue Jay  7
American Crow  7
Common Raven  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Tufted Titmouse  2
House Wren  2
Marsh Wren  6
Veery  7
Wood Thrush  1
American Robin  9
Gray Catbird  8
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  10
Cedar Waxwing  13
Ovenbird  9
Northern Waterthrush  1
Black-and-white Warbler  7
Common Yellowthroat  12
American Redstart  5
Yellow Warbler  11
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Chipping Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  8
Swamp Sparrow  11
Scarlet Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  7
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Common Grackle  13
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Baltimore Oriole  5
House Finch  3
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  12
House Sparrow  5


century count XX

Only three short of our goal (if you include a Blue-winged/Golden-winged Warbler hybrid), but, as they say, a good time was had by all for the 11 participants in this year’s Century Count XX. This is our annual attempt to tally 100 species in Rutland County.

The predicted thunderstorms never materialized despite the thick, warm weather. Even at the day’s end at 7:15 p.m., the temperature was still around 80.

The morning started at West Rutland Marsh and the nearby power line where a large percentage of the day’s species was tallied. A Virginia Rail was seen near a recently cleared area of the marsh while a Wilson’s Snipe flew up nearby. A Common Gallinule was spotted in the distance from the boardwalk. An American Bittern was heard several times.

The section along Whipple Hollow Road had several warbler species including a Northern Waterthrush. A Winter Wren was heard there as well.

The Prairie Warblers and Eastern Towhees were in full song on the power line while two Wood Thrushes sang from the adjacent woods. A ‘beez buzz’ alerted us to a possible Blue-winged Warbler, but it was a no-show and so went into the “don’t know winged warbler” category.

Braving the ticks, the group trudged up into the Blueberry Hill WMA behind the Route 4 rest area (new world record: 26 on one pair of pants). The Cerulean Warbler, reported and photographed several times this year, was heard in the distance. Two Ovenbird nests were discovered along the trail. One of the season's last migrants, a Blackpoll Warbler, was also heard.

A Barred Owl was photographed along Black Pond Road in Hubbardton. 

Everyone was glad of the lunch break at Bomoseen State Park. A Yellow-throated Vireo sang nearby and a Common Loon bobbed in the choppy water of the lake. Later a Bald Eagle was seen soaring over the campground area. A Bald Eagle was also seen on the tallest tree on Neshobe Island as viewed from the Kehoe Fishing Access.

A second loon, in basic plumage, was seen later in the day on Burr Pond in Sudbury. 

An afternoon trip through Fair Haven and Benson produced the grassland species: Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow.  A Green Heron was spotted in Mill Pond.

The recently restored wetland on Route 73 at the Brandon/Sudbury town line continues to be productive. Marsh Wrens and an American Bittern were still vocal despite the late afternoon heat. A Least Bittern popped up briefly. Both firsts for the day, a Belted Kingfisher and an Osprey flew by.

Winged warblers continued to confound with a Blue-winged x Golden-winged Warbler hybrid on Arnold District Road in Brandon. Nearby a male Baltimore Oriole took exception to the presence of a kestrel.

Our next to last stop at Pomainville WMA in Pittsford produced the fifth American Kestrel of the day. A Monarch butterfly was seen here as well.

Twenty-six eBird checklists were submitted for the day from various points throughout the county. Thank you to all who to participated and especially to Roy Pilcher for organizing the trip.



Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Virginia Rail
Common Gallinule
Wilson's Snipe
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Chmney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow 
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged/Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-wingedxGolden-winged hybrid
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cerulean Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow




rcas annual meeting: potluck supper and potluck pictures

Blue-winged WrblerThe annual meeting of Rutland County Audubon will be held on Wednesday June 24th at the Proctor Library. We are seeking bird photographers who are willing to showcase their efforts as part of our program for the evening. We would love to have you attend and provide up to ten photos of birds or other nature-related pictures. The images should be provided to me by June 23 at vtbirdhouses@yahoo.com.

We will show them and you can tell us about them. We have used this approach in the past and it is always fun.

At 6 p.m. we gather to share a potluck dinner. Bring a dish to share. We provide utensils, serving spoons and beverages. After dinner (and cleanup) we will briefly review our past year, talk about next year, elect officers and directors and then show our photos.



gmp-zetterstrom award to roy pilcher

On May 22 RCAS co-president Roy Pilcher received a great honor. He was awarded the Green Mountain Power-Zetterstrom Environmental Award. Named after Meeri Zetterstrom, who was instrumental in restoring ospreys to Vermont, the award recognizes people and organizations committed to improving the environment. And who is more deserving than RCAS's Roy Pilcher!

Over forty friends, RCAS members, friends and supporters, Roy’s family, former co-workers, fellow residents of The Gables, as well as representatives from Green Mountain Power, gathered near the boardwalk on a beautiful morning for the ceremony.

Fittingly, during a brief walk down Marble Street following, an Osprey was seen soaring overhead.

Congratulations, Roy, on this well-deserved award! You can read the Green Mountain Power press release here.