What You Can Do
National Audubon
Blog Archive

Entries in Bird Monitoring (63)

Saturday
Jul212018

West Rutland Marsh - July 2018

Black-billed CuckooOvercast skies were a welcome relief from the relentless sun for the 14 participants of Rutland County Audubon's monthly marsh walk on July 14th.

The day began with juvenile Virginia rails scooting about among the cattails by the boardwalk. Squeaking was what alerted us to their presence. An adult rail was also present keeping an eye on the youngsters.

As we made our way from there a second surprise was a black-billed cuckoo heard calling. It finally flew by and perched for all to see. This was a life bird for one of our group. During the walk a total of four black-billed cuckoos were heard plus one potential yellow-billed cuckoo. However the song was strange sounding as it had elements of the correct call for that species but then adding other notes. So it was noted as a cuckoo species.

Rose-breasted GrosbeakAlder flycatchers were singing their "free beer" song while warbling vireos indeed were warbling. An American redstart was well seen as was a male rose-breasted grosbeak. A chorus of 14 veeries along the route were singing their lovely descending songs.

As we neared the end of the walk another exciting occurrence was a pair of scarlet tanagers flying right by us in hot pursuit. So close did they pass that we could hear the noise of their wings!

The sought after least bittern was seen briefly by one member of the group. We did try to find this secretive bird but no luck for the rest of us.

The tour returned to the boardwalk and we found that 64 species has been seen or heard. A very great outing was had by all.

The next walk is scheduled for Thursday, August 16, 7 a.m., meeting at the boardwalk.

The day's list:

 

Mallard  4
Least Bittern  1    
Great Blue Heron  4
Turkey Vulture  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Mourning Dove  11
Black-billed Cuckoo  4    
Yellow-billed/Black-billed Cuckoo  1    
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  5
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Alder Flycatcher  5
Willow Flycatcher  4
Eastern Phoebe  3
Eastern Kingbird  7
Warbling Vireo  3
Red-eyed Vireo  8
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  4
Common Raven  6    
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  9
Bank Swallow  3
Barn Swallow  9
Cliff Swallow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
House Wren  1
Marsh Wren  2
Eastern Bluebird  2
Veery  14
Wood Thrush  1
American Robin  17
Gray Catbird  14
European Starling  37
Cedar Waxwing  17
Ovenbird  2
Northern Waterthrush  1
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  14
American Redstart  4
Yellow Warbler  4
Chipping Sparrow  2
Field Sparrow  1    
Song Sparrow  6
Swamp Sparrow  10
Eastern Towhee  1
Scarlet Tanager  3    
Northern Cardinal  6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3
Indigo Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  23
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
Common Grackle  86    
House Finch  2
Purple Finch  7
American Goldfinch  20
House Sparrow  1

 

 

 

Thursday
Jun212018

West Rutland Marsh - June 2018

Eastern KingbirdWe say it every year - it’s hard to beat June at West Rutland Marsh! Birds are still singing and the nesting season is in full swing so there is plenty to hear and see. Fifteen observers tallied 64 species, three more than our average for this month of the year and four more than last June. Our high for Mourning DoveJune was 69 species in 2009.

Waterfowl for the day consisted of one mallard and one hooded merganser, a female. There was no sign, or sound, of the Canada geese that were spotted with young earlier in the season. No doubt we will see the geese again when October rolls around.

As we walked down Marble Street, a least bittern flew over the road near the power line. It was a quick, but satisfactory look, a first for some of us and a highlight for all. Our other bittern, the American bittern, gave us a flight show over Water Street later in the walk. A green heron and a great blue heron were seen as well.

A Virginia rail was heard from the boardwalk where the marsh wrens and swamps sparrows are as vocal as they were a month ago.

Another highlight for the morning came when we heard the sound of young woodpeckers in a cavity and then watched as a male downy woodpecker came in with food.

Other nesting activity included a mourning dove carrying nesting material, recently fledged phoebes and a veery, a gray catbird, and a red-winged blackbird each carrying food for its young.

Red-winged BlackbirdHouse wrens were heard in three locations while a winter wren gave out one burst of song along Marble Street.

Several warbler species were seen and/or heard. We counted 14 common yellowthroats, 10 American redstarts, 10 yellow warblers and eight black-and-white warblers. A single Canada warbler, a species that has eluded us earlier this season, was spotted along Whipple Hollow Road. Two northern waterthrushes were singing in this area as well. Chestnut-sided warblers and several ovenbirds were also observed.

The morning concluded with a belted kingfisher hovering over open water, followed by an osprey soaring over and then disappearing to the north. 

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, July 14, 7 a.m.

Today’s list:

 

Mallard  1
Hooded Merganser  1
American Bittern  1
Least Bittern  1    
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  2
Mourning Dove  15
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  5
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1    Heard only.
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Alder Flycatcher  4
Willow Flycatcher  3
Eastern Phoebe  6
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  3
Warbling Vireo  2
Red-eyed Vireo  12
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  6
Common Raven  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  4
Tree Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  9
Black-capped Chickadee  7
Tufted Titmouse  4
House Wren  3
Winter Wren  1
Marsh Wren  7
Eastern Bluebird  2
Veery  12
Wood Thrush  2
American Robin  17
Gray Catbird  13
European Starling  2
Cedar Waxwing  11
Ovenbird  4
Northern Waterthrush  2
Black-and-white Warbler  8
Common Yellowthroat  14
American Redstart  10
Yellow Warbler  10
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Canada Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  12
Swamp Sparrow  21
Northern Cardinal  5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  4
Indigo Bunting  2
Baltimore Oriole  2
Red-winged Blackbird  28
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
Common Grackle  8
American Goldfinch  23
House Sparrow  1

 

 

Wednesday
May162018

West Rutland Marsh - May 2018

The May 12 West Rutland Marsh walk started off with a remarkable display of American bitterns. Ordinarily a shy bird of the cattails, two pairs flew repeatedly up and down the marsh. We wondered if this was a territorial display or a mating ritual. After that exciting spectacle we continued along and spring was evident with other birds that have returned and were singing. Marsh wrens, swamp and song sparrows were noted.

Golden-winged WarblerThe big excitement of the morning was the number of warbler species seen. A stunning Blackburnian warbler was seen high in a hemlock while a black-throated blue warbler foraged low near the ground. Ovenbirds called their song of "teacher, teacher" while warbling vireos did indeed warble. A real prize was a golden-winged warbler seen by all and for one participant it was a life bird!

Great-crested flycatchers were heard and seen, but we noted the absence of willow and alder flycatchers. Four species of swallows coursed over the marsh as did a lone chimney swift catching insects. Canada geese had five goslings in tow. Other waterfowl included the beautiful wood duck and mallards.

A merlin flew by seemingly on a mission while other raptors were soaring overhead. The nesting ravens have fledged their young while other birds are just beginning the nesting season. The marsh has come alive not only with birds but amphibians which were calling as well.

By the time we had completed the loop we had tallied 68 species of birds. This month’s walk attracted 15 participants.

Join us for our next trip around the marsh on Thursday, June 21, at 7:00 a.m. Our new meeting place is at the boardwalk in the marsh.

The List:
Canada Goose  14    
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  4
American Bittern  4    
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  5
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  3
Mourning Dove  7
Chimney Swift  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3
Belted Kingfisher  3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Merlin  1
Least Flycatcher  3
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  2
Eastern Kingbird  8
Warbling Vireo  7
Red-eyed Vireo  3
Blue Jay  13
American Crow  3
Common Raven  8    
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  7
Cliff Swallow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  12
Tufted Titmouse  2
House Wren  1
Winter Wren  1
Marsh Wren  2    
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Veery  5
Wood Thrush  3
American Robin  13
Gray Catbird  14    feeding on sumac fruit
European Starling  18
Ovenbird  7
Northern Waterthrush  1
Golden-winged Warbler  1    
Golden-winged/Blue-winged Warbler  1    
Black-and-white Warbler  7
Nashville Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  15
American Redstart  4
Magnolia Warbler  2
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  12
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Black-throated Blue Warbler  2
Black-throated Green Warbler  3
White-throated Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  16
Northern Cardinal  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  4
Baltimore Oriole  4
Red-winged Blackbird  26
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Common Grackle  13
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  12

 

Wednesday
May162018

West Rutland Marsh - May 2018

The May 12 West Rutland Marsh walk started off with a remarkable display of American bitterns. Ordinarily a shy bird of the cattails, two pairs flew repeatedly up and down the marsh. We wondered if this was a territorial display or a mating ritual. After that exciting spectacle we continued along and spring was evident with other birds that have returned and were singing. Marsh wrens, swamp and song sparrows were noted.

Golden-winged WarblerThe big excitement of the morning was the number of warbler species seen. A stunning Blackburnian warbler was seen high in a hemlock while a black-throated blue warbler foraged low near the ground. Ovenbirds called their song of "teacher, teacher" while warbling vireos did indeed warble. A real prize was a golden-winged warbler seen by all and for one participant it was a life bird!

Great-crested flycatchers were heard and seen, but we noted the absence of willow and alder flycatchers. Four species of swallows coursed over the marsh as did a lone chimney swift catching insects. Canada geese had five goslings in tow. Other waterfowl included the beautiful wood duck and mallards.

A merlin flew by seemingly on a mission while other raptors were soaring overhead. The nesting ravens have fledged their young while other birds are just beginning the nesting season. The marsh has come alive not only with birds but amphibians which were calling as well.

By the time we had completed the loop we had tallied 68 species of birds. This month’s walk attracted 15 participants.

Join us for our next trip around the marsh on Thursday, June 21, at 7:00 a.m. Our new meeting place is at the boardwalk in the marsh.

The list:

 

Canada Goose  14    
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  4
American Bittern  4    
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  5
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  3
Mourning Dove  7
Chimney Swift  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3
Belted Kingfisher  3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Merlin  1
Least Flycatcher  3
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  2
Eastern Kingbird  8
Warbling Vireo  7
Red-eyed Vireo  3
Blue Jay  13
American Crow  3
Common Raven  8   
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  7
Cliff Swallow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  12
Tufted Titmouse  2
House Wren  1
Winter Wren  1
Marsh Wren  2    
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Veery  5
Wood Thrush  3
American Robin  13
Gray Catbird  14    
European Starling  18
Ovenbird  7
Northern Waterthrush  1
Golden-winged Warbler  1    
Golden-winged/Blue-winged Warbler  1    
Black-and-white Warbler  7
Nashville Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  15
American Redstart  4
Magnolia Warbler  2
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  12
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Black-throated Blue Warbler  2
Black-throated Green Warbler  3
White-throated Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  16
Northern Cardinal  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  4
Baltimore Oriole  4
Red-winged Blackbird  26
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Common Grackle  13
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  12

 

 

 

Friday
May042018

West Rutland Marsh - April 2018

American BitternClear blue skies and sunshine greeted the 35 participants for the West Rutland Marsh walk on April 21. The birds were as happy as the birders with the promising spring-like day. The feeders by the boardwalk were still busy with chickadees and American tree sparrows. Out on the boardwalk swamp sparrows were singing and seen as they proclaimed their territories. A Virginia rail was heard but remained hidden in the cattails. Red-winged blackbirds sang their rusty hinge sounding song and some displayed their red epaulets.

Notable were several raptor species overhead. No doubt glad for a day for hunting after so many gloomy ones.

As we proceeded around the route both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets were seen flitting among tree branches seeking a meal. The unseasonably cool weather has made insects hard to find for some of our early migrants. The importance of the marsh with insects rising from the waters make it a haven for these birds.

Swamp SparrowOne sharp-eyed observer found a chickadee excavating a nest hole in a broken stub of a rotten tree.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker was observed attending the wells it had drilled, while other woodpecker species were heard drumming. A winter wren, only 4 inches long, joyously sang its complicated song and a yellow-rumped warbler was seen high in the treetops. A total of 40 species was tallied for the morning. Our next walk takes place May 12th at 7:00 a.m. Many returning migrants should be present!

The list:

 

Canada Goose  11
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  4
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  7
Northern Harrier  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Wilson's Snipe  1
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  6
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  2
Common Raven  2
Tree Swallow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  13
Tufted Titmouse  1
Winter Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  7
American Robin  17
European Starling  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
American Tree Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  13
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  18
Swamp Sparrow  6
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  14
Common Grackle  12
American Goldfinch  17