What You Can Do
National Audubon
Blog Archive
Thursday
May232019

West Rutland Marsh - May 2019

If you could choose one word to describe birding in Vermont this past week or so, it would have to be WOW!

That was certainly our reaction today. Twenty-one participants gathered to see what West Rutland Marsh had to offer on a beautiful spring day. The weather was sunny with a light breeze, perfect for birding. We recorded our highest number ever for May with 78 species seen and/or heard. This is 10 more than a year ago May and 10 more than our average for this month of the year.

It was a day for warblers! Twenty species were observed. The yellow warblers and common yellowthroats were busy as this is breeding habitat for them. Two female yellow warblers were seen building nests at different spots along the boardwalk.

Bay-breasted WarblerAlong Marble street, we saw the warbler species that have been thrilling Vermont birders all week – bay-breasted warbler and Cape May warbler. Tennessee warblers were tapping out their songs and several blackpoll warblers were seen and heard. Canada warbler and magnolia warblers were also counted among the warbler species here. A single female black-throated blue warbler was seen foraging among the trees.

The ‘bees buzz’ song of a blue-winged warbler that has been observed along Marble Street over the past couple weeks was heard and then briefly seen. A mourning warbler, a species we have observed only once before on our monthly marsh walks, was also along Marble Street. Perhaps the habitat in this area has grown more suitable for blue-winged warblers and mourning warblers.  

One Nashville warbler was heard singing and then seen along Whipple Hollow Road, where we also heard black-throated green warblers, Blackburnian warblers, and more Canada warblers.

Philadelphia VireoIn the midst of the many red-eyed vireos and warbling vireos, a Philadelphia vireo was spotted. Two yellow-throated vireos were heard. At first we thought one was a blue-headed vireo, but when seen it turned out to be one of the yellow-throated, singing an oddly sweet song.

Two yellow-billed cuckoos were heard at two different spots along Marble Street.

The flycatchers are all in. Both willow and alder flycatchers were heard at their usual spots throughout the walk. Eastern kingbirds are back, busy defending their territories. The ‘reep reep’ of the great crested flycatcher was heard as well as the ‘peeeo-weeee of the eastern wood-pewee. Eastern phoebes were present near the homes along Whipple Hollow Road. Our bonus flycatcher was a yellow-bellied flycatcher seen in some cedars along Marble Street.  

Oddly, many of the ‘marsh’ birds were absent from our list. Although both marsh wrens and swamp sparrows were very vocal, we neither saw nor heard any sign of American bittern, least bittern, sora or great blue heron. We did see a green heron fly over and a belted kingfisher rattled over.

What a morning!

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, at 7 a.m.

The list:

 

Canada Goose
Mallard
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Virginia Rail
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
White-crowned Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Bobolink
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
House Sparrow

 

 

 

Sunday
May192019

Trip Report: Century Count XXIV - May 18

Prairie WarblerBy all accounts, it was the best of all spring days in Vermont. The internet birding world was buzzing with reports of warblers and other migrants on Saturday night.

Eleven birders gathered at 6 a.m. in West Rutland, the weather chilly and clear, ready for the day’s offerings.

After a brief stop on Sheldon Avenue, near the marsh, we headed to the Pleasant Street power line. As we exited our cars, we could hear the rising song of the prairie warbler followed by the descending song of the field sparrow. Eastern towhees called and sang while the song of the wood thrush floated from the woods. A bay-breasted warbler was spotted in the flowering apple trees. We had good looks at both a blue-winged warbler, the more dominant of the winged warblers at this location, and a prairie warbler as it belted out its song.

Then on to West Rutland Marsh. One of the late-to-arrive this season flycatchers, an alder, was heard along Marble Street. A northern parula was also heard along this stretch. At the end of the boardwalk a sora called and a Virginia rail as well. We also heard a black-billed cuckoo along Marble Street. On Water Street two tree swallows were busy propagating the species.

Several warbler species were singing along Whipple Hollow Road including blackburnian, northern waterthrush and black-throated blue warblers, but the usual Canada warbler was a no-show. We all had good looks at a Swainson’s thrush.

Our first raptor of the day, an American kestrel was spotted along Route 4.

Of the 23 warbler species seen throughout the day, the Route 4 rest area/Blueberry Hill WMA, produced the greatest number including Cape May, magnolia, Tennessee warblers and another northern parula and three more bay-breasted warblers. A brilliant scarlet tanager was seen as well as a glow-in-the dark Baltimore oriole with its less flamboyant mate nearby.

birding is hard workAs the lunch time approached, we headed to Crystal Beach on Lake Bomoseen for a quick picnic. Bonaparte’s gulls had been spotted several times in April and May and two lingered for us to include on our Century Count. We also added solitary sandpiper and double-creasted cormorant at this spot.

Stops at Loves Marsh and the north end of Lake Bomoseen yielded wood ducks, a pair of ring-necked ducks, a pine warbler and a yellow-throated vireo.

We then swung around the north end of Lake Bomoseen and down Black Pond and Moscow roads. We had excellent looks at a pine warbler and finally spotted our first hummingbirds of the day.

A loon was seen at Glen Lake along with an osprey with fish ‘in hand’ and two Canada geese with young. An occupied osprey nest was spotted down the road.

Pine WarblerThe stop at Bomoseen State Park was worthwhile as we picked up a Canada warbler, had good looks at a magnolia warbler and saw one of the few raptors of the day, a broad-winged hawk. We also enjoyed looking at two northern watersnakes near the wetland boardwalk at the park.

There was quite a bit of warbler action at the upper lot of the Kehoe Fishing Access aka the Green Dump. We could hear a Louisiana waterthrush singing and a Tennessee warbler while we saw both a black-and-white warbler and northern parula. One of the most stunning sights of the day was the sun shining on a male Cape May warbler. We also saw two somewhat out of place field sparrows at this spot.

The next stop was the Fair Haven airport where we heard and saw several bobolinks.

The day ended in West Haven. We saw a pair of American kestrels on a wire along with an eastern meadowlark. A golden-winged warbler, true to form, although silent, was seen at its usual spot on Ghost Hollow Road. On Cogman Road we picked up some of the day’s misses – indigo bunting, killdeer and bald eagle. And the very last bird of the day was a handsome male orchard oriole, a perfect end to a perfect day of birding in Rutland County. The total for the day was 106 species!

The list:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Wild Turkey 
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Black-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Virginia Rail
Sora
Killdeer
American Woodcock
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Broad-winged Hawk
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpcker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Alder Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbler 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
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Bobolink
Eastern Meadowlark
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
House Sparrow
 
Sunday
May052019

West Rutland Marsh - April 2019

The morning of April 13 dawned warm and drizzly, when 23 birds of all generations, including visitors from Southern Adirondack Audubon Society, set out on our monthly monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh, the last one for the season to be held at 8 a.m. (on our May 23 walk, we will start at 7 a.m.).

The trip along the length of the boardwalk produced multiple Swamp Sparrows, new arrivals, legions of nosily cackling Canada geese, and the expected Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and Song Sparrows. A few members were lucky enough to hear an American Bittern and a Virginia Rail as well, but alas, this author did not.

Travel along Marble Street brought a surprise five-minute downpour, and then six Wild Turkeys, one make in full display, were sighted, creating lots of excitement for everyone and photo ops for the camera buffs.

A more dismaying event took place as well, five coyote carcasses were round in the ditches along the roadside. It would seem that trappers or hunters had thrown them there after their catch. While this was an unpleasant sight for adults, it was perhaps most horrifying for the children in our group.

Luckily, we spied a patch of spring’s first wildflowers, too, as if to counteract the ugliness. These were snowdrops and soooo lovely. The Pleasant Street bridge yielded our first Tree Swallows of the year (FOY, in birder’s terms), such a delight to watch them wheeling about, in pursuit of their next snack, whatever insect was flying.

On to Whipple Hollow Road we went where a Winter Wren sang loudly and sweetly, making it impossible to ignore its presence. At the walk’s end, many claimed this species to be the highlight of the walk for them.

But still other delights lay ahead. A Barred Owl sang out ‘who, who cooks for you?” as we passed by. Several Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned kinglets showed up too. The Ruby-crowned even sported his crown on this day.

Turning onto Water Street, all were listening for a Virginia Rail, often heard here. None appeared, but while observing the bluebird house near the end of the street, several sharp-eyed birders spied a Palm Warbler (FOY). And, on the bridge, we all watched a leucistic Canada Goose swim lazily around, keeping apart from the other geese.

As we departed for our cars, the Kulas’s excitedly reported having seen two Black-crowned Night-Herons fly overhead, ending our trip with a bang! Next month there will be nearly too many birds to count, but this month was wonderfully exciting.

The next walk is Thursday, May 23, at 7 a.m.

The list:

 

Canada Goose  26
Mallard  5
Hooded Merganser  2
Ruffed Grouse  3
Wild Turkey  6
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  5
American Bittern  1    heard
Great Blue Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2   
Turkey Vulture  4
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Barred Owl  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  7
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Eastern Phoebe  8
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  6
Common Raven  2
Tree Swallow  6
Black-capped Chickadee  10
Tufted Titmouse  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
Winter Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Eastern Bluebird  2
American Robin  9
European Starling  8
House Finch  3
American Goldfinch  6
American Tree Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  14
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  15
Swamp Sparrow  7
Red-winged Blackbird  18
Common Grackle  15
Northern Cardinal  3
House Sparrow  1

 

 

Thursday
May022019

West Rutland Marsh - March 2019

KONK-A-REE !
     The ringing tones of the first Red-winged Blackbirds of the year greeted us as we stepped out of our cars at the kiosk on Marble Street on March 16. Overhead, at the tops of bare trees, we could see their shiny black feathers gleaming in the early morning sunlight. And, soon after, we heard the raspy “chucks” of the Common Grackle, which had also just returned from its southern winter sojourn. But, even more surprising, the opening notes of the Song Sparrow pealed out as we headed off on our 3.7-mile trek. For sure, despite the ice and snow still covering the wetland plants and the sad lack of green in the reeds, spring had come to West Rutland Marsh once again. 
     Inspired by such an auspicious outset, eight of us tramped along the road, spying a Bald Eagle, two Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a Turkey Vulture, all soaring high in the clouds above the hills to the west of us. We also stole a quick glimpse of a Merlin, as he attempted to catch his breakfast at a bird-feeding station en route and were delighted by the rosiness of three House Finches hidden in the bushes at this same station.
     Up close and personal, five Wild Turkeys trotted across the road in front of us, giving us each a clear view of these magnificent American birds and their multi-colored feathers. The photographers among us were happy to have a good photo op while these grazed in the field they had reached. Of course, there were still the typical winter birds around and we catalogued twenty-seven species in all for the two and a half-hour jaunt. All in all, it was a glorious and very solid day of monitoring the marsh. 

 

The day's list (27 species):

Canada Goose  8
Wild Turkey  5
Mourning Dove  12
Turkey Vulture  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  2
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Merlin  1    
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  26
Common Raven  4
Black-capped Chickadee  23
Tufted Titmouse  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  6
Eastern Bluebird  1
American Robin  16
European Starling  17
House Finch  3
American Tree Sparrow  5
Dark-eyed Junco  4
Song Sparrow  3
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Common Grackle  13
Northern Cardinal  6
House Sparrow  1
Tuesday
Feb192019

Member Photo Show - Maclure Library

Green HeronThis spring Rutland County Audubon Society will be holding a photo exhibit featuring birds at the Maclure Library in Pittsford. Rutland County Audubon members are invited to submit up to three of their favorite photographs of birds. If you aren’t already a member of RCAS, we’d love to have you join us! The show will run from April 15 until the end of July so photos must be on loan for that period. Click here for the Maclure Library hours.

We are looking for your photos of birds taken anywhere in the world in frames up to 12” x 16” and suitable for hanging. You should include a separate informational item including your name, the name of the bird species, location, type of camera, and if appropriate, lens used, and a small fact about the bird, such as why it appealed to you, something of interest about that particular species, or its conservation status. We will prepare this information and display it next to the photo.  

Photographs can be for sale, but must remain up for the show. All photographers will be responsible for negotiating their fees with the buyer and a 15% commission to the library.

An opening reception with light refreshments for RCAS members, the photographers, and the general public, will be held on Monday, April 29, from 6 – 8 pm.

Also, look for programs and events to be held in connection with the exhibit!

Please respond to RCAS at birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org by March 30 if you are interested in submitting your photo(s). For information on becoming a member, click here