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Entries in Century Count (6)

Sunday
Jun012014

century count XIX

RCAS was a decade short of a century on May 31. Our 19th annual attempt to tally 100 species in Rutland County missed what seemed to be very obvious species. However, what we lacked in quantity was more than compensated by some unusual species as well as the opportunity to view some of Vermont’s beautiful scenery on our tour around the county.

After a couple quick stops, the real birding began along the Pleasant Street power line in West Rutland. As the early morning mist lifted over West Rutland Marsh below, the Prairie Warblers, Eastern Towhees and Field Sparrows were tuning up. Among the growing bird song we heard ‘bee buzz’ and knew one of the winged warblers was about, probably a Blue-winged Warbler. Following the new guidelines for reporting the winged warblers, we tracked them down (two males) and found they were indeed Blue-winged Warblers with all the appropriate field marks.

Sharp ears picked up a Brown Thrasher on the power line. A Nashville Warbler was also spotted and a Red-breasted Nuthatch was heard in the conifers along the edge. Oddly, we saw no White-breasted Nuthatch during the count.

Alder FlycatcherA good deal of time was spent at West Rutland Marsh where most of the expected species were seen or heard. This included five Virginia Rails heard along the boardwalk, Water Street and Pleasant Street and two American Bitterns flying over the marsh. A Marsh Wren was making a racket near the boardwalk so no doubt there is a nest nearby.

The next stop was the Route 4 rest area, which is probably ‘tick central’ for Vermont (please see our previous article for important information on ticks). American Redstarts are abundant in this area as are Scarlet Tanagers and Indigo Buntings. The highlight here and the highlight for the day was a Cerulean Warbler in the same area where it was seen in 2010 and 2011. It was in full song and, after much searching, we were able to glimpse enough of the bird to be confident of the identification.

After a break for cookies, we headed to the Lake Bomoseen area, where the north end (the Lake Bomoseen/Hubbardton Marshes IBA) is a good prospect for ducks. There we were surprised to find four male Ring-necked Ducks. We also saw our first Killdeer for the day (that and a Wilson’s Snipe at Lake Hortonia were our only shorebirds of the day).

As we headed down Black Pond/Moscow Road toward our lunch stop at Bomoseen State Park, we picked up Wood Duck, a Double-crested Cormorant on Breese Pond, a Black-billed Cuckoo and a Northern Waterthrush. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was perched on a dead snag where we find him every year. Our only White-throated Sparrow of the day was found along this road.

A second Black-billed Cuckoo was at Bomoseen State Park where we also heard a Yellow-throated Vireo and saw an active Baltimore Oriole nest.

From the upper lot of the Kehoe Fishing Access along Lake Bomoseen we found the expected Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Black-and-white Warbler. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was heard here and a Common Loon in basic plumage was seen out on the lake.

KilldeerAt the Fair Haven Municipal Airport we found four fuzzy Killdeer chicks with their parents fussing nearby. A second pair of Killdeer was guarding a nest with four eggs.

Our travels toward and through Benson yielded the expected Bobolinks and a Savannah Sparrow. Along Pleasant Valley Road in Benson we were happy to hear a Northern Mockingbird and an Eastern Meadowlark as well as more Bobolinks.

At the fishing access on Lake Hortonia the aforementioned Wilson’s Snipe were calling incessantly and a female Wood Duck was being trailed by eight young. Two female Hooded Mergansers were on Burr Pond in Sudbury.

Our final stop along Route 73, at a property recently restored under the Wetland Reserve Program on the Sudbury/Brandon line, we were treated to Common Gallinule, Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern and Virginia Rail.

Thanks to all the sharp-eyed, sharp-eared participants and to Roy Pilcher for planning the trip.

The full list:  

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Virginia Rail
Common Gallinule
Killdeer
Wilson's Snipe
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cerulean Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

 

 

Monday
May272013

century count XVIII

BobolinkFew of us thought we would reach more than 75 species for Century Count XVIII. With perhaps the worst possible Memorial Day weekend weather in several years – rain, wind, cold temperatures – the prospects were not good. Ten participants, however, rose to the challenge and tallied 102 species in a day-long marathon through Rutland County.

Many of the expected species at West Rutland Marsh were found, such as Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren and both Alder and Willow flycatchers, but a good number of the usuals were missed at this location.

In deteriorating weather, the group trudged up the Pleasant Street power line and was pleasantly surprised. Although the Blue-winged Warblers may have been singing ‘bee-brrr’ instead of ‘bee-buzz’ four of them were found. Indigo Buntings, Prairie Warblers, Eastern Towhees and Field Sparrows were singing away.

The Route 4 rest area, although hosting an unpleasant number of ticks, provided several warbler species including Blackburnian, Magnolia and Canada. There was no sign of a Cerulean Warbler as in past years, but that area was inaccessible due to a swollen stream caused by a blocked culvert.

At the north end of Lake Bomoseen an American Coot was a nice find in the heavy vegetation along with a few Wood Ducks including young.

A welcome rest for a picnic lunch at Bomoseen State Park provided the opportunity to find a Yellow-throated Vireo and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher plus a Baltimore Oriole sitting on a nest.

A Bald Eagle was seen from the Kehoe Fishing Access upper lot on Lake Bomoseen along with four Common Loons (two more loons were also seen on Lake Hortonia and six on Chittenden Reservoir, no doubt related to the bad weather).

A Northern Harrier, a Savannah Sparrow and a handful of bubbling Bobolinks were found during a brief stop at Fair Haven Municipal Airport. A good number of Bobolinks were found in Benson as well as a Meadowlark and an American Kestrel.

The highlight of the day was a stop along Route 73 in Brandon along the Otter Creek. A Pied-billed Grebe, two American Bittern, one Least Bittern and three Common Gallinule were observed. Click here to find out why this area is so special.

The day ended at Lefferts Pond as it traditionally does. A Wilson’s Snipe was seen calling atop a phone pole. The day closed out with the songs of a Purple Finch and a White-throated Sparrow.

All sightings have been contributed to eBird (25 checklists).

Despite the conditions, the group remained good humor all day. Everyone contributed to the effort of seeing, hearing and identifying 102 species. Special thanks once again go to Roy Pilcher for planning another successful Century Count.

The day's list:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Mallard
Common Merganser
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Virginia Rail
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Killdeer
Spotted Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Alder Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Sunday
May192013

century count XVIII

How would you like to go birding?

How would you like to go birding in Rutland County?

How would you like to go birding in Rutland County with the prospect of tallying 100 or more species?

How would you like to go birding in Rutland County with the prospect of tallying 100 or more species in one day?

Chestnut-sided WarblerIf you answered yes to the final question then meet Rutland County Audubon and friends on Sunday, May 26, at the West Rutland Price Chopper parking area at 6:00 am. For those who stay to “the glorious end” some 15 hours later we hope to have tallied over 100 species. If the past is any guide, the number of species tallied over the past five years is 106, 108, 114, 109 and 110!

We will be visiting many of Rutland County's best birding spots and see a wide variety of birds. It is a long day so be prepared with a lunch and beverage which we have taken in the past at Bomoseen State Park. There is a lot more driving than walking. It is a go-go-go, kind of a day but a lot of fun!

All our Audubon field trips are open to the public and are free. However, we will be collecting donations to be split between Audubon Vermont and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, both bird friendly organizations. You may make out your check to either organization or cash is just fine.

Contact Roy Pilcher 775-3461 or email us at birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org

Monday
May282012

century count XVII

Prairie WarblerFor the eighth consecutive year Rutland County Audubon has exceeded its goal of 100 species in Rutland County during its annual Century Count. This year's count, the seventeenth, totaled 110 species by 13 participants! Our record was 114 in 2010.

Although no rarities were observed, there was a good representation of the species to be found in Rutland County in May. By comparison this a little more than twice the number of species tallied during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Prairie Warblers were in full song along the Pleasant Street power line in West Rutland and, as we left, the Eastern Towhees were tuning up. Both Blue-winged and Golden-winged warblers were heard.

West Rutland Marsh produced the expected species - American Bittern, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren - as well as a Green Heron. A Canada Warbler, heard along Whipple Hollow Road during last week's marsh monitoring walk, is still singing. A Northern Waterthrush and Yellow-billed Cuckoo were also heard.

Many of us are now calling what used to be known as the Golden-winged Warbler pull-off (the rest area on Route 4), the Tick pull-off, no pun intended. No Golden-winged or Blue-winged warblers were heard, but the ticks are plentiful. Use caution when visiting! Five Wood Thrush were heard as well as one Mourning Warbler, a Black-billed Cuckoo and the first of many Eastern Wood-pewees of the day.

Castleton State College has a nice, easy-to-walk trail behind the athletic center. It produced Winter Wren, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper and Louisiana Waterthrush.

At the Kehoe Fishing Access on the west side of Lake Bomoseen, we could see an adult Bald Eagle sitting on a tree on Neshobe Island. An Osprey was also observed flying down the lake.

During the heat of mid-afternoon the grassland species were still singing - Savannah Sparrow at Fair Haven Municipal Airport, Bobolinks at several locations in West Haven and Benson, and Brown Thrasher and Eastern Meadowlark in Benson.

Unbelievably the only Red-tailed Hawk sighting of the day came at 7 p.m. in Brandon.

Common Loon and Spotted Sandpiper were observed at both Chittenden Reservoir and Kent Pond. The single Hermit Thrush of the day was heard at Chittenden Reservoir as well.

The day ended with the evening song of a Swainson's Thrush at Kent Pond in Killington and at Lefferts Pond in Chittenden "peent" of American Woodcock, the "oong-ka-choonk" of American Bittern, the White-throated Sparrow's "old Sam Peabody."

Two new species were added to the annual Century Count list: Carolina Wren at West Rutland Marsh and American Wigeon, a pair, at Lefferts Pond.

As an added bonus several Giant Swallowtail butterflies were observed during the day at various locations.

The day's list:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Common Loon
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Virginia Rail
Killdeer
Spotted Sandpiper
Wilson’s Snipe
American Woodcock
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cucko
o Black-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-belled Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-pewee
Alder Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Swainson’s Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Monday
May302011

century count XVI

With weather more like a humid day in August, 15 participants were unsure whether they would hit 100 species for this year’s Century Count XVI. Nevertheless, a respectable 109 species were tallied in our annual attempt to see or hear as many species as possible within the county.

Sora (seen on a previous occasion)As expected, the early morning visit to West Rutland Marsh was one of the most productive stops of the day with 63 species. The day started with a Blackpoll Warbler singing on Sheldon Avenue. Other highlights included Virginia Rail and Common Moorhen at the boardwalk. Participants were thrilled with great looks at a Sora.

The birdsong along the Pleasant St. powerline in West Rutland was a bit subdued, but we still managed to pick up Blue-winged and Golden-winged warblers, Prairie Warbler and Field Sparrow. Indigo Buntings have finally returned to this spot for the year.

Cerulean Warbler is back at the Route 4 rest area this year (and adding one to our County Quest numbers). An American Redstart, seen nest-building last week, is now sitting on her nest.

The Kehoe Fishing Access at Lake Bomoseen produced a Louisiana Waterthrush singing away at mid-day.

Cliff Swallows were collecting mud for nests at the Fair Haven Municipal Airport. A Savannah Sparrow sat in the open and sang for us.

West Haven and Benson in the western part of the county produced the expected Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks along with Northern Harrier, Wild Turkey, and Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Wilson's SnipeA stop at the old Brandon Training School for Northern Mockingbird also provided Wilson’s Snipe, sitting nearby on a stump and giving us a great look, and another Eastern Meadowlark singing on a wire.

After the warm day, we needed a spotting scope to make out a Common Loon and two Common Mergansers on Chittenden Reservoir. At Lefferts Pond American Woodcock were ‘peenting’ and Northern Waterthursh and White-throated Sparrow singing in the fading light.

 

Trip List:
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4
Trip List:
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Mallard
Common Merganser
Ruffed Grouse
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Virginia Rail
Sora
Common Moorhen
Killdeer
Spotted Sandpiper
Wilson’s Snipe
American Woodcock
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Alder Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Canada Warbler
Eastern towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow