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West Rutland Marsh - April 2019

The morning of April 13 dawned warm and drizzly, when 23 birds of all generations, including visitors from Southern Adirondack Audubon Society, set out on our monthly monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh, the last one for the season to be held at 8 a.m. (on our May 23 walk, we will start at 7 a.m.).

The trip along the length of the boardwalk produced multiple Swamp Sparrows, new arrivals, legions of nosily cackling Canada geese, and the expected Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and Song Sparrows. A few members were lucky enough to hear an American Bittern and a Virginia Rail as well, but alas, this author did not.

Travel along Marble Street brought a surprise five-minute downpour, and then six Wild Turkeys, one make in full display, were sighted, creating lots of excitement for everyone and photo ops for the camera buffs.

A more dismaying event took place as well, five coyote carcasses were round in the ditches along the roadside. It would seem that trappers or hunters had thrown them there after their catch. While this was an unpleasant sight for adults, it was perhaps most horrifying for the children in our group.

Luckily, we spied a patch of spring’s first wildflowers, too, as if to counteract the ugliness. These were snowdrops and soooo lovely. The Pleasant Street bridge yielded our first Tree Swallows of the year (FOY, in birder’s terms), such a delight to watch them wheeling about, in pursuit of their next snack, whatever insect was flying.

On to Whipple Hollow Road we went where a Winter Wren sang loudly and sweetly, making it impossible to ignore its presence. At the walk’s end, many claimed this species to be the highlight of the walk for them.

But still other delights lay ahead. A Barred Owl sang out ‘who, who cooks for you?” as we passed by. Several Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned kinglets showed up too. The Ruby-crowned even sported his crown on this day.

Turning onto Water Street, all were listening for a Virginia Rail, often heard here. None appeared, but while observing the bluebird house near the end of the street, several sharp-eyed birders spied a Palm Warbler (FOY). And, on the bridge, we all watched a leucistic Canada Goose swim lazily around, keeping apart from the other geese.

As we departed for our cars, the Kulas’s excitedly reported having seen two Black-crowned Night-Herons fly overhead, ending our trip with a bang! Next month there will be nearly too many birds to count, but this month was wonderfully exciting.

The next walk is Thursday, May 23, at 7 a.m.

The list:


Canada Goose  26
Mallard  5
Hooded Merganser  2
Ruffed Grouse  3
Wild Turkey  6
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  5
American Bittern  1    heard
Great Blue Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2   
Turkey Vulture  4
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Barred Owl  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  7
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Eastern Phoebe  8
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  6
Common Raven  2
Tree Swallow  6
Black-capped Chickadee  10
Tufted Titmouse  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
Winter Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Eastern Bluebird  2
American Robin  9
European Starling  8
House Finch  3
American Goldfinch  6
American Tree Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  14
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  15
Swamp Sparrow  7
Red-winged Blackbird  18
Common Grackle  15
Northern Cardinal  3
House Sparrow  1



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