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RCAS 2017-18 Annual Report

On July 11, Rutland County Audubon held its annual meeting for our fiscal year ending on June 30, 2018 at the Proctor Library. Following a delicious potluck supper, the business meeting began with the treasurer's report by Russell Kulas.

After the report was approved and accepted, Marv Elliott, chairman of the Nominating Committee, presented the slate of officers for the coming year. Two changes to our current officers will be Thana McGary as Secretary and Marv Elliott as Treasurer, replacing Kathleen Guinness and Roy Pilcher, respectively. The board thanks Kathleen and Roy for their service in these positions.

The business portion of the evening was followed by a presentation of pictures and sound recordings by RCAS members.

President Nate Dansereau presented the following annual report:

Rutland County Audubon had another good year.

We completed a year of monthly walks at West Rutland Marsh with some record-setting days for the number of participants and the some great birds were in attendance also.

It was another good year for the Christmas Bird Count and the Winter Regulars and Rarities trip to the Champlain Valley. 

Members participated in Vermont Green-up Day at West Rutland Marsh in May to help stay ahead of the constant dumping there.

We had some vandalism of the boardwalk this spring and have made efforts to more securely hold down the board walk decking.

Our annual Century Count was a success, coming up just shy of the goal, but it was a great day of birding together.

In June we had what has become an annual event: West Rutland Marsh Education Day. It was another success with a group of members acting as guides to Proctor Elementary School 5th graders at various natural science stations

Over the colder months we had our monthly programs this year at Grace Congregational Church due to some issues at the Fox Room at Rutland Free Library. Successful programs ran from the Grand Tetons to butterflies.

Vermont State Fair: RCAS continued our annual display at last year’s fair

I attended the semi-annual chapter assembly this past winter where we said good-bye to long time Vermont Audubon Director Jim Shallow. Jim is now with the Nature Conservancy.  Audubon Vermont is searching for a new director. We look forward to welcoming a new director at a board meeting.

All Audubon chapters have similar issues with limited active and aging membership. We are always looking for ideas of how we can make this a vibrant, growing chapter. Any ideas for activities and how we can recruit new members are always appreciated.

In addition to this report is our annual financial report. In summary, our financial state is fine as we have little in the way of expenditures. Income and membership is down.

Upcoming activities:

Our website is the best place to check for activities.

Upcoming walk this Saturday, July 14, at West Rutland Marsh

Trip to the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington on July 21

Bird walk at the Split Rock Trail in Pittsford on August 11

Details from the Board of Directors:

Rutland County Audubon website:

  • We publish our West Rutland Marsh walk reports on a monthly basis.
  • We also publish trip reports such Winter Regulars and Rarities and our annual Century Count as well as the Christmas Bird Count results.
  • We're always looking for new articles!

Rutland County Audubon Flickr:

  • We currently have 800 photos.
  • Each photo is receiving about 150 views.

Rutland County Audubon Facebook:

  • Currently have 400 likes.
  • Updated frequently to advertise upcoming events and articles of interest from National Audubon.


Rutland County Christmas Bird Count:

  • Our 43rd count
  • 52 species, over 7000 individual birds counted

West Rutland Marsh:

  • We average 16 participants per walk.
  • This month's walk marks our 17th year of consecutive monthly monitoring, one of the first ongoing bird monitoring walks in the state.
  • Continue to add new species. Golden-winged Warbler was the latest addition.

Audubon VT/VELCO Surveys:

  • Ongoing effort led by Audubon Vermont to tally the number of Golden-winged Warblers along VELCO power lines along with other target species.
  • Several members participated (Sue Eliott, Marv Elliott, Sue Wetmore, Kathleen Guinness, Marsha Booker and others)

Mountain Top Farm was sold to a new owner this spring. We are awaiting a meeting with the new owner and hope to continue monitoring our easement. This is an ongoing issue that we hope to resolve.

Publicity Report

Increased publicity this year has resulted in increased attendance at our events and an increase in the public’s awareness of birds, birding, our natural environment and related issues.

Events for which publicity was provided, in local calendars of events and/or fliers:

Publications and media which provided us with free publicity for these events:

  • The Rutland Herald
  • Sam’s Good News
  • The Rutland Reader
  • The Mountain Times
  • The Brandon Reporter
  • The Manchester News Guide
  • Vermont Woodlands
  • Vermont News Guide
  • The Lakeside News
  • PEG TV

Publication of monthly marsh walk articles from our Birding Journal in three local papers: Sam’s Good News, The Manchester News Team papers, and Vermont Ski News. Thanks to Sue Elliott and Sue Wetmore for providing these.

In addition, Facebook posts by Sue Elliott, website calendars of events on RCAS’ site, and posts in the Rutland Herald Invite and Rutland Chamber of Commerce website calendars kept the e-readers informed of our activities. And a great article by Sue Wetmore appeared in the Rutland magazine.

The manning of booths by RCAS members Kathleen Guinness, DJ Hammond, and Irene Goebel at the Poultney Earth Day event and the June 2nd Rutland Farmers’ Market plus the carrying of our RCAS banner in the Rutland Loyalty Day Parade by Kathleen and Irene rounded out our chapter’s publicity for the year.

Suggestions for other ways and avenues in which to publicize our presence are always welcome.

Respectfully Submitted,

Nathan Dansereau

President Rutland County Audubon


2018 Annual Meeting, Potluck and Member Photo Show

Common YellowthroatThe annual meeting and election of officers and directors of the Rutland County Audubon Society will be held on July 11, 6 p.m. at the Proctor Library. A potluck supper will preceed the meeting. Bring a dish to share (utensils and beverages provided).

Our organization is dependent on volunteers to carry out our mission to preserve and protect the habitat of birds. Unfortunately, the demand for volunteers seems to exceed the supply! We have completed many important projects, but there are far American Redstartmore we could do had we more volunteers.

A good way for a beginner to get started is to attend some of our events such as a monthly marsh walk or even a board meeting as our guest. Hopefully you will learn about us and be willing to do more. We are always looking for volunteers to help out with projects and events. The next step is to join our board of directors. Our directors are really the foundation of the organization. They are dedicated to making the organization tick. They work at our seed sales, lead our outings and contribute their time to making us a success.

From our board of directors we select the officers (president, vice president, secretary and treasurer). These are our experienced directors leading us to a productive future.

We hope you will be interested in us and consider joining our effort. Nominations will be accepted from the floor at the meeting or you can contact Nominating Committee Chair Marv Elliott at birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org prior to the meeting to discuss how you can participate. We would love to hear from you.

Following the annual report and election of directors and officers, members will have the opportunity to show us up to ten of their best bird and nature photos. If you are interested in showing your photos, please send them to birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org.

See you at the meeting and good birding!


2014 rcas annual meeting

On June 25, RCAS members gathered for our annual meeting and election of officers. Co-presidents Roy Pilcher and Marv Elliott thanked board members and volunteers for all that has been accomplished during the past year.

Marv added that with more volunteers we can improve what we do, lighten the load for everyone, and look to expand our mission: To foster an enjoyment of birds and the preservation of their habitat.

A delicious potluck supper was served before the official meeting began. After the annual report was given, there was a presentation of member photos, which was a huge success. If you missed the meeting, or would like to see the wonderful pictures again, click here for the RCAS Flickr page. 

If you want to join Rutland County Audubon or are interested in volunteering, please email us at birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org.

This year’s annual report:

2013-14 Rutland County Audubon Annual Report


Participated in the annual Vermont Green-Up Day at West Rutland Marsh on 05/03/2014 for the twenty-second consecutive year.

As of today’s annual meeting, RCAS has undertaken 155 consecutive months of bird monitoring of the West Rutland Marsh, a Vermont Important Bird Area and Rutland County Audubon designated Birding Hotspot. One hundred forty-six bird species have been tallied by 1,797 participants. All data is recorded on eBird. 

Birding Hot Spot monitoring continued at Aitken State Forest, Bomoseen State Park, Pomainville WMA, Cadwell Loop of the Pittsford Trails, Diamond Run Nature Trails, Lefferts Pond, Kent Pond, Northwood Park, Pleasant Street Power Line and Tinmouth Chanel. All data is recorded on eBird.

Mountain Top Farm bird monitoring in Chittenden continued under the spring/summer/fall protocol initiated on 06/14/2012 under the direction of Steve Hagenbuch, Audubon Vermont’s Forest Bird Initiative biologist.

Secretary Kathleen Guinness records the minutesParticipated for a third year in a monitoring program along the VELCO power line right of way for seven brush/grassland bird species in particular the Golden-winged Warbler.

Currently undertaking a bird survey of the Blueberry Hill Wildlife Management Area, consisting of four parcels, on behalf of Vermont Forests and Parks.

Financially supported the Four Winds program at Neshobe Elementary School, the Vermont Bobolink Project, the Salamander Crossing Project and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and their sponsorship of the VT eBird portal.


Participated in the Green Mountain College Orientation Day in August. 

Maintained the kiosk and immediate area at the entrance of the West Rutland Marsh. Signage is renewed and marsh-related information posted. Minor repair work was undertaken on the boardwalk                                

Updated bird lists for the West Rutland Marsh, Pomainville WMA and the Rutland Community Garden information kiosks. A link to the RCAS birding hotspot is on the Pittsford Trails webpage.

Sponsored Joan Hoffmann, artist, jointly with the Chaffee Arts Center for a program on 01/28/2014.

Sponsored a program by Sara Zahendra from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies on “Bumblebees” at the Rutland Free Library on 02/26/2014.

Sponsored Marv Elliott, RCAS co-president’s “Texas Birding” presentation at the Brandon Library on 04/08/2014 and at the Rutland Public Library on 05/05/2014.

Created a display for the Vermont State Fair’s Forestry Pavilion in Rutland. This year a raffle was included for a 50-lb. bag of bird seed.  Thanks to Kathleen Guinness and Marsha Booker for their leadership.

Continued with the Audubon Adventures program. Currently in use in 7 classrooms and two after-school programs, thanks to coordinator Marsha Booker.

Submitted the West Rutland Marsh annual report to the Town of West Rutland to be incorporated into their annual Town Report.


RCAS continues to support the work of the local based USDA/NRCS office in the expansion of the Wetland Reserve Program particularly along the Otter Creek and most recently involving a newly acquired 1,300-acre spread in Brandon.

Participated in several hearings on a Solar Power Project proposed for Rutland Town.

It is noted that the proposed siting wind turbine project along the Taconic Mountain Range in Rutland County has been withdrawn. RCAS was opposed to the project because of its potential negative impact on raptor migrations along the siting ridge.


Monthly board meetings, scheduled for the third Thursday of each month, were held throughout the year except December, (Christmas Bird Count), and June, (Annual Meeting) and one “snow day”.

A first and potentially annual pot-luck “Member Appreciation” gathering was held on 03/08/2014 in recognition of Roy’s contributions to Rutland County Audubon over the past 40 years!

A full delegation of RCAS members attended the Fall Vermont Chapter Assembly on 11/16/2013 at the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington and the Spring Assembly at the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington on 04/16/2013 hosted by Green Mountain Audubon.

Current RCAS membership stands at ~310 National Members. 

The continuously developing website averages in excess of 2,000 viewers per month of which more than 600 are unique viewers. Thanks to Webmaster David Jenne and Sue Elliott. Email alerts for new website articles and upcoming events are sent regularly by Tim Abraham.

The RCAS Flickr page for photos of the birds of Rutland County and Audubon is updated regularly.

The RCAS Facebook page currently has 107 ‘likes.’

RCAS accounts for 2012-2013 were reviewed and found in order by George Wetmore.

RCAS now has its own personalized cap designed by Ralph Nimtz and proudly worn by many members!


Sponsored the 20th “Annual West Rutland Butterfly Count” on 07/06/2013.  Eight participants tallied 21 species and 112 individual butterflies. The numbers reflect one of the lowest counts over the years. Data all entered on the North America Butterfly Association website.

The annual “Mount Philo Broad-winged Hawk Migration Watch” field trip took place on 09/14/2013. An extension to Addison County provided views of Golden Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper and Baird’s Sandpiper.

RCAS undertook Bird Seed Sales and Membership Recruitment drives at Garland’s Agway in Rutland on 11/02/2013 and at Brandon’s new Blue Seal facility on 01/18/2014.   

The 40th “Annual Christmas Bird Count and Pot Luck Supper” was held on 12/28/2013.  Thirty participants tallied 51 species representing 8,760 individual birds. Numbers were well within the ten-year running averages. All Christmas Bird Count data is entered on eBird.

Champlain Valley birding field trip, “Winter Regulars and Rarities” was held 01/11/2014, Sue Wetmore leader.

RCAS participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, 02/14/2014-02/17/2014.

Century County Count XIX attracted 12 participants who recorded 90 species during 13 hours of birding on Saturday, 05/31/2014. Twenty-five checklists were submitted to eBird. Donations amounting to $75 were directed to Audubon Vermont toward their bird monitoring projects.

The Annual Meeting and Social was held at the Proctor Free Library on Wednesday, 06/25/2014.  “The program was a “Show and Tell” of members' favorite wildlife images.


notice of annual meeting and elections

Black-and-white WarblerThe annual meeting of the Rutland County Audubon Society will be on June 25, 2014 at 6 p.m. in the Proctor Library Community Room.

We plan to hold a potluck dinner so bring a dish to share. We provide utensils, serving spoons and beverages. A short business meeting will follow including a financial report, a summary of our activities, and elections. Marv Elliott will act as the nominating committee chair and welcomes anyone who wants to assist with that effort. A slate of officers and directors will be presented. However, all director and officer positions are open to nominations from the floor.

The program for the meeting will be a member photo collage with the theme of birding. Any member or prospective member may bring up to 10 photos on a flash drive. Presenters are encouraged to give a brief description of each photo. If you wish to present, please contact Marv Elliott at vtbirdhouses@yahoo.com or 775-2415.



rcas annual report and meeting summary

Alan Gregory and Marv ElliottAs we have for the past several years, RCAS members and supporters gathered at the Proctor Library to celebrate another year of birding and bird conservation in Rutland County. The June 26th gathering included a potluck followed by the annual election of officers and a summary of the year’s accomplishments.

Co-president Marv Elliott thanked longtime supporter Alan Gregory for a generous gift in memory of his late wife Monica, a true nature lover and the founder of the annual West Rutland butterfly count.

Following the delicious meal, election and annual report, Vermont birder Maeve Kim gave a presentation on her birding travels. Maeve shared stories her many experiences and beautiful photos. Her enthusiasm for birds is infectious and no doubt has inspired many in the audience to plan some bird travels of their own.

Click here for the 2012-13 RCAS Annual Report.