Surprisingly Rutland County ended April with 139 species, nine short of what was recorded this time last year. What happened? The weather, mostly, with a north wind holding back many migrants at month-end. Click here for a full list of what was seen in April.
Waterfowl continued their strong showing through most of the month with many of the highlights being observed at the Lake Bomoseen/Hubbardton IBA. These included Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Ruddy Duck. Ring-necked Ducks, as many as 220, were also present for much of April at this spot. American Coots were also noted after a two and a half month hiatus.
With Kent Pond free of ice, two Common Loons wasted no time in returning, possibly the same pair that nested successfully last year. Greater Scaup, White-winged Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Pied-billed and Red-necked Grebe also put in an appearance. Three Spotted Sandpipers and seven Greater Yellowlegs were observed at Kent Pond as well as a surprising Vesper Sparrow, the same week one was seen in Danby.
A Golden Eagle, an unexpected treat, was seen in Danby. Osprey and Broad-winged Hawks are back so our expected complement of raptors is accounted for.
A Great Egret was seen at Long Swamp in Brandon and Great Blue Herons are on their nests in several locations. We await the first report of the Green Heron.
A Solitary Sandpiper (just one!) was seen in Brandon as was a very early Least Flycatcher. The first of the vireos, the Blue-headed, appeared at several locations by mid-month.
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers have returned to their usual spot at the Kehoe Fishing Access on Lake Bomoseen as have the Northern Rough-winged Swallows that nest in the old quarry behind the upper parking lot. Bank Swallows were seen cruising along the riverbank behind Green Mountain College.
Eight species of warblers – Louisiana and Northern waterthrush, Black-and-white, Yellow-rumped, Palm, Pine and Black-throated Green warbler appeared the last week in April with many more to come in the next couple weeks.
Field Sparrows and Eastern Towhees are back on the power lines singing away to claim their territories. Hopefully the Prairie Warblers are not far behind. Brown Thrashers were seen in several locations.
Two Horned Larks, a bird in short supply this year, were reported in Danby.
Although fewer eBird checklists were submitted in April of this year (260) than last (284), there are some new eBirders out there. Hope you are one of them!