It was a bit hard to tell we are the third day of spring during today’s monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. The morning started at 9 degrees and the ground is mostly snow-covered. Fortunately, no wind and a bright sun helped mitigate the wintry feeling.
Twenty-five species were tallied, six less than last year’s March walk, but two above our average of 23.
American tree sparrows are still around, enjoying the various feeders along the route. A quick look at eBird shows we will be graced by their presence well into April. Listen for their song which they will start singing here before heading north. You can listen to their song here. One tree sparrow was on the ice apparently eating snow as there is no open water.
On the summer side of sparrows, three song sparrows were seen, but none were heard singing. Northern cardinals and tufted titmice, however, were singing vigorously.
We counted 26 chickadees including one eating the tiny seeds of a cattail. Six white-breasted nuthatches were seen, mostly in pairs.
Seven wild turkeys were observed marching in a straight line across a field and into the woods.
Red-bellied woodpeckers have been a regular species at the marsh now. Two were seen today. Other woodpeckers were heard drumming Hairy? Downy? Something to relearn every year!
No raptors were seen, but their absence was filled by six common ravens soaring over the marsh.
Red-winged blackbirds are already staking out their territories in the cattails. A few females were seen and are no doubt looking over their options. Brown-headed cowbirds were seen elbowing their way into the seed at feeder on Whipple Hollow Road.
The next marsh walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 22, at 8 a.m.