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West Rutland Marsh - March 2019

     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

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