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Entries in Bird Monitoring (54)

Wednesday
Mar282012

upcoming power line survey - volunteers needed!

RCAS will begin a new birding project this spring. We hope will appeal to members and non-members alike . Details will be provided at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 17, 6:30 PM at the Union Church Parish house in Proctor. For newcomers, park in the back lot by driving past the main entrance and going left and down the hill. We will meet downstairs; there is a lower entrance just off the lot.

We have been asked to complete a bird species list by Audubon Vermont and Vermont Power (VELCO) for several power line areas. We expect this to involve surveying seven or eight power line routes in our area of Rutland County. It may involve more such as finding which species actually nest and where.

Experienced birders know that power lines are great places to find some of our favorite species.  The Eastern Towhee shown here came from a power line, a place we find them consistently. It’s also good for Blue-winged and Golden winged warblers and their hybrids. When it comes to finding birds we know there could be some exciting discoveries. That’s why we are doing it.

The meeting is being held to explain the project, answer questions and sign up volunteers. The meeting will be conducted by Mark LaBarr and Margaret Fowle of Audubon Vermont. We also hope to have a VELCO representative present. Sue Wetmore, RCAS board member and birder extraordinaire, will lead the project in Rutland County.

This is a way to learn about birds, enjoy seeing birds and contribute to their preservation and protection. We hope to see you there.

Tuesday
Jul262011

a decade of bird monitoring

On August 16, 2001, fifteen members and friends of Rutland County Audubon sallied forth with the simple goal of recording, on a monthly basis, all the birds seen and heard on the 3.7 mile walk around West Rutland Marsh. The tally for that day was forty-five species! On July 21, 2011, ten years later, and having never missed a single month, nine well seasoned and, still enthusiastic, birders recorded 48 bird species. The log of species in the intervening years has now risen to 143 and the total number of participants to a staggering 1,395! Unforeseen only ten years ago was the introduction of eBird, now the ever expanding repository of not only these local marsh monitoring records, but of bird sightings across North America and now, in fact, to the world beyond.

What accounts for this quite remarkable number of bird species within the confinement of this relatively small area is the diversity of habitats. These include an extensive cattail marsh, a shrub swamp, some red maple-black ash hardwoods, stands of northern white cedar and white pine, in addition to open meadows and some, but limited, scattering of homes and formal gardens. If you have never done so, consider taking the time to visit the ten stations of the Bridge-to-Bridge Interpretive Trail to learn more about these habitats.

a Virginia Rail escorts its young across Marble St.Very few of the bird species encountered rise to the level of requiring Rare Species Documentation. Nevertheless, some of the totals recorded in a single monitoring walk are quite impressive. These record highs include American Bittern (5), Least Bittern (3), Alder Flycatcher (10), Willow Flycatcher (11), Least Flycatcher (10), Eastern Kingbird (29), Warbling Vireo (11), Marsh Wren (19), Eastern Bluebird (28), Veery (16), Common Yellowthroat (24), and Rusty Blackbird (18).

The occurrence, sustainability and diversity of these bird populations are directly tied to the health and preservation of the habitat upon which they depend. The encouraging news is that both Rutland County Audubon and the Town of West Rutland through their elected representatives are united in the goal of preserving this wetland ecosystem and the lands surrounding it.

Monday
Aug162010

nine years of monthly bird marsh monitoring completed

monitoring walk #108On Saturday, July 22, 2010 Rutland County Audubon members and friends completed the 108th month of bird monitoring of the West Rutland Marsh. The monitoring consists of walking the 3.7 mile perimeter of the marsh each month and recording all birds seen and/or heard during the walk. Any individual who has participated in all 108 monthly monitoring walks would have covered 399.6 miles and would have seen or heard 139 different species of birds!

While those numbers may be impressive, what is more important is the ever expanding data set that has been faithfully recorded on eBird, a collaborative effort of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon and publicly available to researchers, bird enthusiasts and the curious. During nine years of marsh monitoring, 1,266 individuals participated, constituting a potential community of informed and empathetic advocates willing and ready to ensure the sustainability of the marsh and its diverse inhabitants.

While monitoring is both collegial and fun, many participate in welcoming the opportunity to hone their birding skills, both auditory and visual. It would be difficult to imagine a more dynamic and inviting classroom in which to learn, to exercise and to contribute.

While celebrating this birding milestone, there is more to the marsh than just the birds! The ten-station Bridge to Bridge Interpretive Trail, with the help of a brochure available at the kiosk, can expand the horizons of the curious to the flora, to the landscape and even to the soils characteristic of a wetland as it traverses River Street to the south and Marble Street to the east.

West Rutland Media CampThis summer, among the curious, there were three groups of young people who visited the marsh to experience some of the treasures that it has to offer, a Tapestry class from Rutland, the West Rutland Academy and the West Rutland School Media Camp. Click here to see the video created by the students.

Everyone is welcome to participate in Rutland County Audubon’s field trips and activities. There is no charge. Notice of events may be found in the local press and also on the Events section of this website.

Tuesday
Jul212009

eight years of marsh monitoring completed

On Thursday, July 16, 2009, a group of Rutland County Audubon members and friends completed eight years of monthly marsh monitoring of the birds associated with the West Rutland marsh. The first of these walks around the 3.7 mile perimeter of the marsh took place on August 16, 2001, with 15 observers during which 45 species were tallied. The number of species tallied is now 137 while observer participation has reached 1127. The lowest number of species ever recorded on a monthly walk was 28 on April 16, 2005, and the highest number was 70 on May 18, 2006.

Bird monitoring at the marsh has several objectives. One objective is to raise the awareness and appreciation of the general public to this Important Bird Area as an exceptional natural resource. A corollary to the awareness and appreciation is the hope that the future of the marsh and its sustainability will be ensured. A second objective for monthly bird monitoring is that it offers an educational opportunity for birders of all ages and experience to sharpen their identification skills, both visual and auditory, in a collegial and welcoming environment. Finally, with all sightings entered on eBird, the cumulative record will provide researchers an opportunity to advance bird conservation here in Vermont and beyond.

Marsh walks are scheduled monthly generally on a Thursday or a Saturday. Participants meet at the West Rutland Price Chopper parking area at 7:00 a.m. except during winter months when the gathering time is 8:00 a.m. All walks are free and open to the public. Come join us!

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