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Saturday
Aug192017

West Rutland Marsh - August 2017

Cedar WaxwingAn anniversary almost slipped by us – today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh marked the start of our 17th year of monitoring. That’s 193 trips around the marsh in all kinds of weather from subzero to blistering heat and a lot in between.

Today’s weather was delightful with an early morning fog followed by mostly sunny with a light breeze. Although the morning ended on a somewhat warm note, autumn is in the air. The foliage looks a bit tired, but the amount of fruit on the various shrubs and trees is promising for this winter’s birds.

Eighteen participants tallied 41 species today. While that may seem high for an August bird walk, past years have yielded as many as 58 (in 2015) with an average of 45. Other August numbers have been as low as 38.

Except for the short-circuit call note of the gray catbirds and a brief burst from a Baltimore oriole, bird sound was somewhat muted. We did hear one call note from a marsh wren and a couple songs from swamp sparrows. And, of course, the red-eyed vireos go on and on.

Birds of note included a small flock of warblers along Whipple Hollow Road. Along with black-and-white-warblers and American redstarts, there was a blue-winged warbler. A single savannah sparrow was on Pleasant Street.

Eleven ruby-throated hummingbirds were counted. It’s post-breeding season and migration is right around the corner. There was plenty of bee-balm and jewelweed for them.

American goldfinches and cedar waxwings were everywhere.

Our next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, September 28 at 8 a.m.

Today’s list: 

Mallard  1
American Black Duck  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Mourning Dove  12
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  11    
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  5
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Empidonax sp.  5
Eastern Phoebe  8
Eastern Kingbird  4
Warbling Vireo  3
Red-eyed Vireo  5
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  22
Common Raven  1
Tree Swallow  5
Barn Swallow  12
Black-capped Chickadee  14
Tufted Titmouse  1
Marsh Wren  1
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  17    
European Starling  13
Cedar Waxwing  19
Blue-winged Warbler  1    
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  5
American Redstart  9
Savannah Sparrow  1
Swamp Sparrow  6
Northern Cardinal  7
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Baltimore Oriole  1
Red-winged Blackbird  3
Common Grackle  7
American Goldfinch  42
House Sparrow  3

 

 

Thursday
Jul202017

West Rutland Marsh - July 2017

Marsh WrenIt was a beautiful day at West Rutland Marsh for our monitoring walk! Don’t we say that every month? Fifteen birders gathered to count 50 species. Our average for July is 51. The high was 57 in 2015.

We started the morning as we always do with a stroll down the boardwalk. Swamp sparrows and marsh wrens continue to sing away and a house wren is still chattering away near the kiosk. But the highlight here was an American bittern crouched next to the boardwalk. Several of us saw it before it crept away through the cattails. Amazingly, it was in the same spot when we returned over three hours later.

No great blue herons were seen today, but a green heron was seen in flight and a least bittern flew across the road just north of the boardwalk. This is one of the two spots it has been seen or heard on a fairly regular basis this season.

We all had a good look a two marsh wrens along Marble Street and they landed in front of us and pecked at an appealing (to them) tidbit.

Two warbling vireos were singing rather weakly, but the red-eye vireos are still going on and on.

There is plenty of evidence of breeding. Eastern kingbird young were begging for food and an adult female rose-breasted grosbeak was feeding a youngster.

American Black BearWarbler song was a bit muted today except for numerous common yellowthroats and five black-and-white warblers, who are still singing rather enthusiastically. Three American redstarts were heard as well as one ovenbird. Three yellow warblers were seen, but were not vocalizing.

Raptor numbers were low, but we did have a good look at a peregrine falcon as it flew by. A red-tailed hawk was being chased by crows (no sign of ravens today).

We also took a peek at butterflies today as the day was warm and sunny -  a viceroy was perched on Queen Anne’s lace and a Baltimore checkerspot seemed to be enjoying the poison parsnip. Tiger swallowtails were everywhere.

And, as wonderful as the birds and butterflies were this morning, they were upstaged by a mammal. A bear crossed Marble Street ahead of us!

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, August 19, at 7 a.m.

Today's List:

 

American Bittern  1    
Least Bittern  1    
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  13
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  8
Northern Flicker  3
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  3
Alder Flycatcher  7
Willow Flycatcher  2
Eastern Phoebe  4
Eastern Kingbird  6
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo  2
Red-eyed Vireo  10
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  6
Barn Swallow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  16
Tufted Titmouse  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
House Wren  5
Marsh Wren  8
Carolina Wren  1
Veery  12
American Robin  7
Gray Catbird  15
European Starling  24
Cedar Waxwing  23
Ovenbird  1
Black-and-white Warbler  5
Common Yellowthroat  16
American Redstart  3
Yellow Warbler  4
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  11
Northern Cardinal  5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  6
Red-winged Blackbird  12
Common Grackle  4
American Goldfinch  16
House Sparrow  2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jun132017

2017 Annual Meeting, Potluck & Program

Eastern BluebirdThe Annual Meeting of the Rutland County Audubon Society will be held on July 12, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Proctor Library Community Room, Proctor, Vermont.

The evening will include a potluck dinner. Bring a dish to share. We will provide utensils and beverages.  A short business meeting will follow. It will include the election of Officers and Directors as well as an annual report of our finances and a summary of the year’s activities. Marv Elliott will act as the nominating committee chair and welcomes anyone who will assist with that effort. A slate of officers and directors will be presented; however, all director and officer positions are open to nominations from the floor.

The evening’s program for the meeting will be a member photo show with the theme of birding. Any member or prospective member may provide up to 10 photos to Marv Elliott on a flash drive a week in advance or email them to birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org. Presenters should give a brief explanation of their photos.

We look forward to seeing you!

Saturday
Jun102017

West Rutland Marsh - June 2017

Cedar WaxwingJust when you think you couldn’t possibly add new species for our monthly monitoring walks around West Rutland Marsh, now in our 16th year, two more show up!

Seventeen participants, on one of the all too few beautiful weather days this season, tallied 61 species. This equals our average for June, but is not the highest number recorded for this month of the year. That record stands at 66 species in both 2013 and 2015.

Except for the chatter of marsh wrens, the morning started somewhat quietly on the boardwalk. A single Virginia rail was heard (although two more were heard later in the morning). Both alder and willow flycatchers were nearby so it was a good opportunity to compare their vocalizations.

Ruby-throated HummingbirdA short distance down Marble Street, on the east side of the road, and before the power line crossing, the low chuckling of a least bittern was heard. No American bitterns were observed, but one green heron and one great blue heron were seen in flight as we returned to the boardwalk later in the morning.

The raptor count was low – one red-tailed hawk. Several common ravens were seen. No doubt the young are off the nest. A single turkey vulture was observed.

Cedar waxwings were found in several places along the route.

The warbler count was high – 12 species in all. Common yellowthroats and yellow warblers led the way of course with 19 and 16, respectively. Eleven American redstarts were counted. Canada warbler and northern waterthrush were each singing at their usual spots on Whipple Hollow Road. A golden-winged warbler/blue-winged warbler was heard, but not seen on the east side of Marble Street, with the song coming from suitable brushy habitat.

And the two, new species? Mourning warbler and Louisiana waterthrush! The first was heard on the west side of Whipple Hollow Road just after we turned the corner from Pleasant Street. The song of a Louisiana waterthrush was coming from a stream that runs behind a house further south on Whipple Hollow.

Our next walk is scheduled for Thursday, July 20, at 7 a.m.

Today’s list: 

Mallard  4
Least Bittern  1 
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  3
Mourning Dove  14
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Alder Flycatcher  5
Willow Flycatcher  6
Least Flycatcher  2
Eastern Phoebe  4
Eastern Kingbird  5
Warbling Vireo  2
Red-eyed Vireo  17
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  3
Common Raven  6
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  9
Black-capped Chickadee  9
House Wren  6
Marsh Wren  8
Veery  5
Wood Thrush  2
American Robin  5
Gray Catbird  8
European Starling  4
Cedar Waxwing  20
Ovenbird  5
Louisiana Waterthrush  1    
Northern Waterthrush  1
Golden-winged/Blue-winged Warbler  1    
Black-and-white Warbler  4
Mourning Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  19
American Redstart  11
Yellow Warbler  16
Chestnut-sided Warbler  3
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Canada Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  17
Northern Cardinal  4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  2
Indigo Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  17
Common Grackle  8
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Baltimore Oriole  3
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  9
House Sparrow  1

 

 

Monday
May292017

Our Natural World in Art

Rutland County Audubon's first-ever art show “Our Natural World in Art” opened with a reception last Friday night. We had a great turnout, with several of the artists in attendance, as well as Audubon members and art lovers. Many thanks to Stone Valley Arts and their talented volunteers who put together a beautiful and professional looking display.

Along with refreshments and wonderful classical music by guitarist Dave Burns, several items were sold in a silent auction to benefit RCAS.

Here is our favorite story of the evening: When the call for artists went out two months ago, we received a response from Erin Hanrahan. She had several pieces she offered for show, but they were not her own. Instead she wanted to display the art as a surprise to the artist, her mother-in-law, Sharon Hunt McCormick. Sharon had taken up painting at retirement and used her work for gifts and cards. Erin thought it was worthy of display (and so do we!).

Shortly after the show opened, Sharon arrived with her family. They made their way slowly around the gallery examining all the pieces done by other artists. As she turned the corner there on display was her own work. We don't know which delighted us more - Sharon's beautiful work or the surprised smile on her face when she discovered it!

It’s not too late to see Sharon's work or any of the other art at Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill at 145 E. Main Street, Poultney. The gallery will be open June 3-4 and June 10-11, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you were there Friday night, thank you for joining us. If you haven't seen the show yet, please stop by. And bring a friend!.