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Roy Pilcher first recipient of citizen science award

On June 13, 2009 the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) awarded Roy Pilcher the Julie Nicholson Citizen Science Award. The award, named for Julie Nicholson, who passed away earlier this year, honors an individual who exemplifies Julie’s commitment to the cause of citizen science and conservation. We can’t imagine anyone more deserving than Roy to be the first recipient of this award.

Along with his service to the environment through his work with Rutland County Audubon, Roy has spent countless hours working on VCE projects such as the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas and the Vermont Butterfly Survey. His many contributions are too numerous to name them all here.

Several years ago Roy was awarded the Audubon Vermont Steve Young Award and noted “while I had to sever my African roots in order to start life anew in America, it was my love of birds and by extension Vermont's community of birders that more than filled the initial void. That same sentiment I repeat today on being the first recipient of the Julie Nicholson Award. It is a real honor to have my name associated with Julie's."

Nor surprisingly Roy was not present in person to receive the award because he was busy participating in citizen science. He was out monitoring the birds of West Rutland Marsh.

Congratulations, Roy!


rescuing rails - real and otherwise

Vandalism has always been a problem at West Rutland Marsh, long before Rutland County Audubon became involved. This story has a happy ending. On the afternoon of June 10 Marv and I went out to the marsh to make a minor repair near the boardwalk. A beautiful Virginia Rail photo graces the front of the information kiosk. 

photo by Marv ElliottWhen we arrived, we discovered that it had been hit with green paintball paint, still wet, and completely covering the rail photo. The logbook mailbox and an interpretive trail sign had also been hit with paint.

Marv contacted the sheriff's department (are they tired of hearing from us yet?) and was told that the sheriff did not come on duty until six, but the dispatcher would contact the State Police.

As we waited for the trooper to arrive, Marv wandered across the street to check out a flicker nest we had seen earlier. He was greeted by two adult Virginia Rails raising a fuss around an old cellar hole.  It was over four feet deep and filled with bags of garbage. Down in the hole were several rail chicks unable to get out and peeping frantically. We managed Photo by Marv Elliottto capture two of them, who went waddling off in the brush to join their parents. The trooper arrived, we gave him our report, and went back to rescue two more chicks. Then we heard two MORE chicks in the cellar hole. We rushed off to buy some paper towels, a bucket and a scrub brush before the paint on the sign dried, went back and cleaned the sign, and then were able to rescue the remaining two chicks.


By the way, we also heard a Least Bittern out in the marsh, saw a House Wren bringing food to a nest box and a Gray Catbird with its mouth stuffed with bugs for its young.


Century Count XIV

Rutland County Audubon had a very successful Century Count XIV with 22 participants and 108 species in Rutland County on May 30.Our record was 109 species in 2007. Thanks to Roy Pilcher for planning the productive route! Twenty-six checklists were submitted to eBird.

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Black-billed Cuckoo at Whitney Creek in Addison

Marv and I visited Whitney Creek in Addison last Saturday and saw our first Black-billed Cuckoo of the year. Since that time we observed two at Lefferts Pond in Chittenden and one at Kent Pond

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