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west rutland marsh - september monitoring report

A perfect fall day at West Rutland Marsh! Eight participants tallied 42 species, five more than last year at this time, but by no means our highest for September (51 was the count in 2008). Our average for this month is 36.

There is still a bit of marsh sound – both Swamp Sparrows and Marsh Wrens are singing bits of songs and a Virginia Rail was heard as well. But birds are definitely on the move. Many Blue Jays were observed, most in loose flocks, and a single Broad-winged Hawk was clearly on a mission. A Sharp-shined Hawk and a Red-tailed Hawk completed the raptor numbers.

Migrating warblers were represented by Blackpoll, Palm, Yellow-rumped and Black-throated Green warblers. Common Yellowthroats are hanging on to their usual spots, but are diminished in number.

a Meadowhawk dragonflyA single Indigo Bunting, with only remnants of blue, was observed.

As is typical of fall, sparrows are much in evidence. White-throated Sparrows have returned to the marsh. Lincoln’s Sparrows and Eastern Towhees were also counted.

Our next marsh walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 17.

Today’s list:

Canada Goose  6
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  7
Great Blue Heron  4
Turkey Vulture  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  1
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker  3
Eastern Phoebe  9
Blue Jay  63
American Crow  26
Common Raven  2
Black-capped Chickadee  12
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Marsh Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  13
Cedar Waxwing  13
Common Yellowthroat  3
Blackpoll Warbler  1
Palm Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  3
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
White-throated Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  4
Lincoln's Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  18
Eastern Towhee  3
Northern Cardinal  1
Indigo Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  24
Common Grackle  2
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  10
House Sparrow  10


adirondack birding festival

Bicknell's ThrushThis past June I, along with good birding friends, attended the 13th Annual Adirondack Birding Festival held at Paul Smith’ s College in New York. Why attend a birding festival you may ask?

These festivals offer opportunities to bird in unfamiliar territories and to socialize with birders from far and wide. Workshops are generally part of the experience and provide the opportunity to learn something new about birds. All skill levels of birding will be present in the field trips but that is part of the fun, witnessing a birder finding a life bird.

Our first field trip on Friday was an all-day excursion starting in the Adirondacks and ending on the western shores of Lake Champlain. A nice variety of birds was seen. Saturday we had a half-day trip to Bloomingdale Bog in search of boreal species. The birding was a little slow, but a nice selection of warblers was present. We were nearing the end of the tour when a group of juvenile Gray Jays descended near us. They are quite unafraid of people and were eating bird snacks from the hand of our leader. It was very exciting to observe this species up close.

That evening the keynote speaker was none other than the Vermont Center for Ecostudies’ Chris Rimmer. Of course his subject was the Bicknell's Thrush! We learned a great deal about this rare bird's ecology. The species faces threats here on its breeding grounds as well as on its wintering sites. One aspect of breeding was very interesting: The research that has been done in Vermont shows that the females will mate with several males who will in turn feed whatever chicks are in the nests!

Gray JayChris’s information only whetted our appetite for our trip up Whiteface Mountain the following day. A van picked us up early and we rode up the newly-paved access road up the mountain. Our first stop had a couple of Bick's calling. Finally I had a brief look at one, but it quickly flew into the thick trees. Frustrating!  A pair of Boreal Chickadees and a Blackpoll Warbler were more cooperative. We continued up where some of us took the elevator to the summit and walked back down to the lower lot. A lone Common Raven gave a couple of guttural comments as we passed by.

Our next stop on the way down found a photographer set up and he said Bick's were present. Shortly they returned and were nearly at our feet running on the ground. One then perched nearby and sang! To add to the thrill a Black-backed Woodpecker swooped in briefly and checked out a tree.

Our last stop was brief due to blackflies that swarmed when the wind died.

While the Adirondack Birding Festival is small compared to others it delivers some great birding and a good time with fellow birders. The easy access for those of us living nearby makes attending this something to consider for next summer.


celebration of birds - sept 19

On Saturday, September 19, birders from across Vermont will gather for Audubon Vermont's Celebration of Birds in Charlotte. The event, open and free for all, will be held from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Staige Hill Farm.

The event will include bird carving, music, live bird demonstrations, local birding experts and food (for purchase). Click here for more details and to RSVP. Rutland County Audubon will be there with our display.

Hope you plan on attending!


rutland county audubon at the fair

RCAS Director Kathleen Guinness and RCAS President Marv Elliott and prepare this year's displayIf you plan to visit the Vermont State Fair in Rutland this year, be sure to stop by the Forestry Building to see RCAS’s exhibit on forest birds. There are lots of great photos and fun facts about the birds that spend the breeding season in Vermont.

Once again we are raffling off a bag of bird seed – all that is needed is your name and contact information. 

The fair runs from September 5th through the 12th.


west rutland marsh - august monitoring report

No cake and ice cream, but today was a birthday celebration of sorts as Rutland County Audubon kicked off its 15th year of monitoring West Rutland Marsh. As drizzly skies gave way to sun (and more humidity), the birds responded. Fifty-eight species were tallied, our new August high! This is well above last year’s meager 40 and our average of 45.

Marsh birds were still evident, but certainly not as abundant as earlier in the season. Marsh Wrens were chipping loudly near the boardwalk and a few Swamp Sparrows were singing. A single Virginia Rail was noted. Silent flycatchers had to go on the list simply as ‘Empid.’

A small flock of frenzied warblers on Whipple Hollow Road reminded us that migration will soon be in full swing. They included Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pine Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler.

A Tennessee Warbler was seen early in the walk, not far from the boardwalk. Five Yellow Warblers were also seen during the morning, a high number for a species that seems to make itself scarce as breeding season ends.

BobolinkA Scarlet Tanager halfway between gaudy summer attire and drabber fall colors caused consternation until its identity became clear. A Green Heron perched high in a tree with its head held bittern-fashion also caught our attention.

Four Bobolinks, a species not often recorded on the marsh walk, were seen in a field on Pleasant Street.

Our next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, starting at 8 a.m.



Today’s list:

Canada Goose  1
Wood Duck  1
American Black Duck  1
Mallard  4
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  2
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Virginia Rail  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  20
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  8
Belted Kingfisher  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Empidonax sp.  2
Eastern Phoebe  6
Eastern Kingbird  5
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  8
Blue Jay  7
American Crow  1
Common Raven  3
Barn Swallow  10
Black-capped Chickadee  15
Tufted Titmouse  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Marsh Wren  4
Veery  4
American Robin  4
Gray Catbird  11
Cedar Waxwing  31
Black-and-white Warbler  3
Tennessee Warbler  1
Nashville Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  3
American Redstart  2
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  5
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Pine Warbler  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  6
Scarlet Tanager  1
Northern Cardinal  6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3
Bobolink  4
Red-winged Blackbird  14
Common Grackle  56
House Finch  1
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  26