For the eighth consecutive year Rutland County Audubon has exceeded its goal of 100 species in Rutland County during its annual Century Count. This year's count, the seventeenth, totaled 110 species by 13 participants! Our record was 114 in 2010.
Although no rarities were observed, there was a good representation of the species to be found in Rutland County in May. By comparison this a little more than twice the number of species tallied during the annual Christmas Bird Count.
Prairie Warblers were in full song along the Pleasant Street power line in West Rutland and, as we left, the Eastern Towhees were tuning up. Both Blue-winged and Golden-winged warblers were heard.
West Rutland Marsh produced the expected species - American Bittern, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren - as well as a Green Heron. A Canada Warbler, heard along Whipple Hollow Road during last week's marsh monitoring walk, is still singing. A Northern Waterthrush and Yellow-billed Cuckoo were also heard.
Many of us are now calling what used to be known as the Golden-winged Warbler pull-off (the rest area on Route 4), the Tick pull-off, no pun intended. No Golden-winged or Blue-winged warblers were heard, but the ticks are plentiful. Use caution when visiting! Five Wood Thrush were heard as well as one Mourning Warbler, a Black-billed Cuckoo and the first of many Eastern Wood-pewees of the day.
Castleton State College has a nice, easy-to-walk trail behind the athletic center. It produced Winter Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper and Louisiana Waterthrush.
At the Kehoe Fishing Access on the west side of Lake Bomoseen, we could see an adult Bald Eagle sitting on a tree on Neshobe Island. An Osprey was also observed flying down the lake.
During the heat of mid-afternoon the grassland species were still singing - Savannah Sparrow at Fair Haven Municipal Airport, Bobolinks at several locations in West Haven and Benson, and Brown Thrasher and Eastern Meadowlark in Benson.
Unbelievably the only Red-tailed Hawk sighting of the day came at 7 p.m. in Brandon.
Common Loon and Spotted Sandpiper were observed at both Chittenden Reservoir and Kent Pond. The single Hermit Thrush of the day was heard at Chittenden Reservoir as well.
The day ended with the evening song of a Swainson's Thrush at Kent Pond in Killington and at Lefferts Pond in Chittenden "peent" of American Woodcock, the "oong-ka-choonk" of American Bittern, the White-throated Sparrow's "old Sam Peabody."
Two new species were added to the annual Century Count list: Carolina Wren at West Rutland Marsh and American Wigeon, a pair, at Lefferts Pond.
As an added bonus several Giant Swallowtail butterflies were observed during the day at various locations.
The day's list:
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
o Black-billed Cuckoo
Great Crested Flycatcher
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler