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Blog Archive

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!


West Rutland Marsh - July 2019

Today marked 18 years of consecutive monthly monitoring at West Rutland Marsh! A slight breeze kept the 10 participants somewhat cool despite the sun and high humidity. We totaled 43 species, seven less than our average for July and quite a bit lower than the 64 species observed one year ago.

The bird of the day was veery with nine heard along the route, many of them singing It was a new bird song for several in the group. Wood thrush were also singing in two spots.

Marsh WrenDespite the high vegetation, we had good luck along the boardwalk. An American bittern flew as well as a green heron. We had great looks at several marsh wrens and swamp sparrows. The swamp sparrows were particularly vocal. 

Five warbler species were seen and/or heard. An American redstart was carrying food for young. Common yellowthroats are still singing enthusiastically. A northern waterthrush and three ovenbirds were heard along Whipple Hollow Road. 

Five empidonax species were seen, but only three, all alder flycatchers, could identified to species.

 Raptor numbers were low – one broad-winged hawk! Another raptor flew high over the marsh, but none of us could provide any clue as to its identity. 

The last addition to the list was a Wilson’s Snipe which flushed as we crossed the Water Street bridge.

The next marsh is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, 7 a.m.

Today's list:

Mourning Dove  10
Wilson's Snipe  1
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  5
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4
Alder Flycatcher  3
Empidonax sp.  2
Eastern Phoebe  2
Eastern Kingbird  5
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  11
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  4
Common Raven  1
Tree Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  8
Black-capped Chickadee  11
Tufted Titmouse  1
Marsh Wren  8
Veery  9
Wood Thrush  3
American Robin  9
Gray Catbird  13
European Starling  15
Cedar Waxwing  14
American Goldfinch  24
Chipping Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  15
Swamp Sparrow  23
Red-winged Blackbird  9
Common Grackle  2
Ovenbird  3
Northern Waterthrush  1
Common Yellowthroat  23
American Redstart  2
Yellow Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  4







Share Your Love of Nature with Local Students

The Four Winds Nature Program, community-based natural science education, is currently seeking volunteers who enjoy kids, nature, and have a sense of fun and curiosity to help deliver hands-on science lessons in Rutland County elementary schools.

Volunteers for the 2019-2020 school year are needed across all grade levels.

No science background or teaching experience is required -- and you don't need to be the parent of a student. Community volunteers are welcome!

Volunteers come to a monthly, 2-hour training, and then teach a ~1-hour workshop in the classroom at a later date. You can commit at a level that works for your schedule; participate every other month or a portion of the school year.

For more info please contact Elly Moriarty: elly@fwni.org or click here.