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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
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
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
White-crowned Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
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




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