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Entries in bBird Monitoring (6)

Sunday
May052019

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

 

 

Wednesday
Dec262018

West Rutland Marsh - December 2018

by Kathleen Guinness

Monitoring the West Rutland Marsh for birds in December can be a tricky thing; it can be bone-chillingly cold or the weather can be as warm as it is in early spring. Today, the eleven of us from RCAS who set aside our Christmas busy-ness and who set out were given the gift of a spring–like day, with a sun peeking out at us to start and becoming more bright with every step we took and temperatures rising into the 40s. It made all of us feel optimistic and maybe even a little giddy, after the cold spell we’d had just two days earlier.

But, better than the weather, even, were the exciting birds we spotted along the 3.7 mile walk. There were the usual suspects at the feeders at the kiosk: sparrows, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, and chickadees. Further up, there were titmice and nuthatches and a spectacularly harsh sounding raven. It was after we rounded the bend that we got our second gift of the day - a northern shrike, appearing at the top of a distant deciduous tree and looking like a cotton bud or a catkin to an inexperienced birder. This sighting made us jump for joy, as it is so infrequently seen. Everyone had a happy face as we headed onto Whipple Hollow Road and spied our first junco of the day.

On Whipple Hollow Road, a group of eight turkeys surprised us, too. And, then....someone spotted a big-eyed, flying squirrel poking its sweet head out of a birdhouse made by Marv Elliott. Several good pictures were taken of that special creature, even though it was not a bird (Audubon treasures all of wildlife). It was our third gift.

No, there was not a Partridge in a Pear Tree, but there were seventeen, lovely species, with the high count being friendly, chirping chickadees, on a beautiful day in mid-December. With these gifts, who could want a hippopotamus for Christmas?!

 

The List:
Wild Turkey  8
Mourning Dove  10
Downy Woodpecker  6
Hairy Woodpecker  5
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Northern Shrike  1
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  3
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  26
Tufted Titmouse  9
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
European Starling  5
American Goldfinch  6
American Tree Sparrow  5
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Northern Cardinal  3

 

 

Saturday
Jun102017

West Rutland Marsh - June 2017

Cedar WaxwingJust when you think you couldn’t possibly add new species for our monthly monitoring walks around West Rutland Marsh, now in our 16th year, two more show up!

Seventeen participants, on one of the all too few beautiful weather days this season, tallied 61 species. This equals our average for June, but is not the highest number recorded for this month of the year. That record stands at 66 species in both 2013 and 2015.

Except for the chatter of marsh wrens, the morning started somewhat quietly on the boardwalk. A single Virginia rail was heard (although two more were heard later in the morning). Both alder and willow flycatchers were nearby so it was a good opportunity to compare their vocalizations.

Ruby-throated HummingbirdA short distance down Marble Street, on the east side of the road, and before the power line crossing, the low chuckling of a least bittern was heard. No American bitterns were observed, but one green heron and one great blue heron were seen in flight as we returned to the boardwalk later in the morning.

The raptor count was low – one red-tailed hawk. Several common ravens were seen. No doubt the young are off the nest. A single turkey vulture was observed.

Cedar waxwings were found in several places along the route.

The warbler count was high – 12 species in all. Common yellowthroats and yellow warblers led the way of course with 19 and 16, respectively. Eleven American redstarts were counted. Canada warbler and northern waterthrush were each singing at their usual spots on Whipple Hollow Road. A golden-winged warbler/blue-winged warbler was heard, but not seen on the east side of Marble Street, with the song coming from suitable brushy habitat.

And the two, new species? Mourning warbler and Louisiana waterthrush! The first was heard on the west side of Whipple Hollow Road just after we turned the corner from Pleasant Street. The song of a Louisiana waterthrush was coming from a stream that runs behind a house further south on Whipple Hollow.

Our next walk is scheduled for Thursday, July 20, at 7 a.m.

Today’s list: 

Mallard  4
Least Bittern  1 
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  3
Mourning Dove  14
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Alder Flycatcher  5
Willow Flycatcher  6
Least Flycatcher  2
Eastern Phoebe  4
Eastern Kingbird  5
Warbling Vireo  2
Red-eyed Vireo  17
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  3
Common Raven  6
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  9
Black-capped Chickadee  9
House Wren  6
Marsh Wren  8
Veery  5
Wood Thrush  2
American Robin  5
Gray Catbird  8
European Starling  4
Cedar Waxwing  20
Ovenbird  5
Louisiana Waterthrush  1    
Northern Waterthrush  1
Golden-winged/Blue-winged Warbler  1    
Black-and-white Warbler  4
Mourning Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  19
American Redstart  11
Yellow Warbler  16
Chestnut-sided Warbler  3
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Canada Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  17
Northern Cardinal  4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  2
Indigo Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  17
Common Grackle  8
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Baltimore Oriole  3
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  9
House Sparrow  1

 

 

Saturday
Dec122015

west rutland marsh - december monitoring report

The number of participants was almost more than the number of birds at today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh, our 172nd monthly walk. The species count came in at 21, four less than a year ago, but one more than our December average.         

The balmy weather was the highlight of the day and was perhaps the cause of the low count. There are plenty of fruits and seeds available and, of course, there is no snow cover yet.

American Tree Sparrows, along with chickadees, can be found in good numbers near the feeders by the boardwalk.

Two House Finches were seen, but there was no sign of the Purple Finches what have been widely reported around the state this past week. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was heard, a species only being reported at the marsh in the past couple of years.

The large flock of Wild Turkeys, counted today at 29, continues in the fields near the corner of Pleasant Street and Whipple Hollow Road.

The next count is scheduled for Saturday, January 16, at 8 a.m. Perhaps by then we will have more wintry conditions.

Today’s count:

Wild Turkey  29
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Mourning Dove  12
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Blue Jay  9
American Crow  6
Common Raven  3
Black-capped Chickadee  31
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
European Starling  1
American Tree Sparrow  11
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  3
Northern Cardinal  3
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  31
House Sparrow  3

Saturday
Oct172015

west rutland marsh - october monitoring report

Dire predictions of bad weather were greatly exaggerated. Sixteen(!) participants, including some new faces, turned out for the 171st monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. The weather turned out to be quite pleasant and of course the Vermont foliage spectacular.

Thirty-four species turned out as well, quite a bit more than last year’s 23 species, and just above our October average of 32. Waterfowl was in short supply, no doubt due to the presence of hunters in the area.

Raptor numbers were good with Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, and American Kestrel seen. Turkey Vultures and Common Ravens were also soaring high above the marsh. The ravens seemed to be winning the ‘who can fly highest’ contest.

White-throated SparrowTwo Ruffed Grouse were observed, one flushed from the side of the road and a second drumming in the woods along Whipple Hollow Road.

Six sparrow species were seen including one White-crowned Sparrow. White-throated Sparrows were singing bits of their song. The juncos are back!

American Robins were in good numbers with 49 observed. Yellow-rumped Warblers, widely reported throughout Vermont last week, were low in number with only two seen.

A highlight of the walk was a male Purple Finch sitting high in a bare tree in the bright light and singing his heart out as if it was the first day of spring.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, November 19, at 8 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s list:

Canada Goose  2
Mallard  11
Ruffed Grouse  2
Wild Turkey  9
Turkey Vulture  3
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  4
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
American Kestrel  2
Blue Jay  16
American Crow  7
Common Raven  4
Black-capped Chickadee  13
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
American Robin  49
European Starling  12
Cedar Waxwing  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  2
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  4
White-crowned Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  5
Song Sparrow  11
Swamp Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Common Grackle  22
House Finch  5
Purple Finch  1    
American Goldfinch  5
House Sparrow  2