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2019 Warbler Talks and Walks

I had several goals in mind when I first proposed to do the Spring Warbler talk and the bird (and wildflowers!) walks last May. I wanted to share with others my love of birds and their habitats. Birding with others also improves my own sight and sound identification skills. Finally, I wanted to foster links between Rutland County Audubon and Slate Valley Trails—to get birders and bikers and hikers together to appreciate the shared recreational resources of the Poultney area. The Spring events were well received, so we scheduled a Fall Warbler talk and another series of walks.

On all counts the talks and walks were a great success. Thirty-seven people attended the spring talk at the Poultney Public Library, and sixteen came to the Fall talk. The walks covered all 7 of the SVT trails (counting Fairgrounds East and West as two separate areas). The number of participants for each walk ranged from 4 to 11 (total 53, 25 individuals) in the spring, and 1 to 10 (total 33, 18 individuals) in the fall; many of the participants were new to SVT and Audubon. We observed 91 bird species (891 individual birds) in the spring, and 55 species (523 individuals) in the fall, as well as red efts, dragonflies, and Monarch butterflies galore. Everyone shared their knowledge of wildflowers, insects, and trees, as well as the history of the various trails.

I’d like to thank Slate Valley Trails and Rutland County Audubon for enthusiastically promoting these events, and all the participants for sharing their love of birds and their habitats with me. See you on the trails!

To see what we saw on the Fairgrounds West and Fairgrounds East Trail, click here.


West Rutland Marsh - September 2019

It was a spectacular day at West Rutland Marsh with bright sunshine, warm temperatures and foliage turning on the hillsides. Fourteen observers turned out for the walk. Forty-one species were tallied, quite a bit more than last year’s 28 and our average of 36 for the month of September.

Waterfowl species included Canada goose, mallard and wood duck.

A few raptor species were seen with the highlight being an immature bald eagle soaring over the ridge accompanied by turkey vultures. An American kestrel and a broad-winged hawk were also observed.

exploring the new trailNine northern flickers were seen with several on the road on Marble Street. Other woodpecker species included hairy and downy and one yellow-bellied sapsucker.

Gray catbirds were numerous and two brown thrashers were a treat along Marble Street.

Warblers were scattered here and there and included common yellowthroat, magnolia chestnut-sided, palm, yellow-rumped, and black-throated green warblers. 

A Lincoln's sparrow was seen as well as several swamp sparrows and four song sparrows.  A lone purple finch was singing atop a tree on Pleasant Street.

Another highlight was the opportunity to explore Phase I of the new trail off of Whipple Hollow Road. 

The next walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, at 8 a.m.

The list: 

Canada Goose  13
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  5
Wild Turkey  5
Mourning Dove  2
Turkey Vulture  4
Bald Eagle  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  4
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  9
American Kestrel  2
Eastern Phoebe  7
Blue Jay  10
American Crow  11
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  19
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
Marsh Wren  2
Carolina Wren  1
European Starling  1
Gray Catbird  14
Brown Thrasher  2
American Robin  1
Cedar Waxwing  15
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  12
Song Sparrow  4
Swamp Sparrow  8
Red-winged Blackbird  13
Common Yellowthroat  7
Magnolia Warbler  3
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  4
Northern Cardinal  4



West Rutland Marsh - August 2019

Thirteen birders, including visitors from Oregon and California, set out on RCAS’s monthly walk around West Rutland Marsh this morning. Today’s walk marks the beginning of our 19th year of monthly monitoring!

Forty-eight species were observed plus several alder/willow flycatchers whose true identities were unknown as they were all silent, not surprising at this time of year.  Our average for August is 45 species with our high being 58 in 2015. Last year at this time we saw or heard 45.

Most of the ‘marsh birds’ have gone silent. A few swamp sparrows were seen and one sang briefly. Two yellow warblers, also silent, were seen. One adult male common yellowthroat was still feeding a youngster.

Ruby-throated HummingbirdWarblers included the above mentioned as well as a black-and-white warbler (singing), several American restarts and a chestnut-sided warbler.

A gray catbird was seen carrying food and a house wren was seen carrying food into a nesting cavity (a piece of equipment on a power pole).

Our only raptor was a northern harrier. No vultures were seen, but the morning was quite still and overcast.

Monarch caterpillarCedar waxwings and American goldfinches were everywhere. We also saw and/or heard eight ruby-throated hummingbirds. On past August walks, we have seen as many as 13. Red-eyed vireos were still singing in several spots and we saw one blue-headed vireo.

A black-billed cuckoo was heard in the distance.

On a non-avian note, several Monarch butterfly caterpillars were seen on milkweed. This is shaping up to be a good Monarch year.

Part of the walk was on our new trail, which you can read about here.

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, at 8 a.m. (note time change!).

Today's List:

Wood Duck  1
Mallard  1
Wild Turkey  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  9
Black-billed Cuckoo  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  8
Northern Harrier  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2    1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1    1
Downy Woodpecker  6
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill's Flycatcher)  5
Least Flycatcher  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Eastern Kingbird  8
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  14
Blue Jay  7
American Crow  8
Common Raven  2
Black-capped Chickadee  9
Tufted Titmouse  2
Barn Swallow  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
House Wren  2
Carolina Wren  2
European Starling  6
Gray Catbird  10
Veery  1
American Robin  8
Cedar Waxwing  21
Purple Finch  3
American Goldfinch  27
Song Sparrow  10
Swamp Sparrow  5
Bobolink  2
Red-winged Blackbird  32
Common Grackle  3
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  8
American Redstart  7
Yellow Warbler  2
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3
Indigo Bunting  3




New Trail Underway in West Rutland

The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) has been working for the past week on a trail to get marsh walkers off of part of Whipple Hollow Road (the hill that overlooks the southern end of the marsh). They have built a bridge over a small stream, and laid some puncheon across a wet area leading to an overlook. We've also had great cooperation from the West Rutland town crew, who have mowed a path through a section of meadow.

When completed the trail will bypass a dangerous stretch of road for walkers, and allow us to get closer to a variety of habitats--hardwood and conifer forest, cedar swamp, and meadow. The VYCC crew should be working for another week or so, if you want to go out and have a look. If you park along Whipple Hollow Rd, please pull all the way off. The best parking is near the entrance to the former dump site, about a quarter mile north of the trail.

If you wish to contribute to this effort, you can make donations payable to Rutland County Audubon, PO Box 1813, Rutland, VT 05701, marked West Rutland Marsh trail.



Call to Artists: Art Inspired by Nature

by Ralph NimtzRutland County Audubon will be holding its own wildlife art show Art Inspired by Nature this coming September!

Visual artists, professional and non-professional, in any media, including photography, painting and sculpture, are invited to submit up to three works to be included in an open art show featuring nature and wildlife at Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill in Poultney, Vermont from September 9 through September 29 sponsored by RCAS. Solely scenic landscapes are excluded.

Works need not be for sale. Those offered for sale are subject to a 20% gallery commission to Stone Valley Arts or donated proceeds if sold (80% to RCAS and 20% to Stone Valley Arts). Delivery of works will be Saturday, September 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For details contact birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org (if the link to the address does not work, please copy and paste into your email send to line) or please come with your work on September 7, 1-4 PM.                 

Hours will be September 14-15, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., September 21-22, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and September 28 -29, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A reception will be held September 15, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The show will also be open during times that Stone Valley Arts is open for events/programs/classes. Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill is located at 145 E. Main Street, Poultney.

If you’re interested in showing your work, please contact us by Aug 17.  

Whether you are an artist or an art lover, we hope to see you at Stone Valley Arts this September!