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Entries in citizen science (33)

Saturday
Dec022017

West Rutland Marsh - December 2017

Nine birders gathered for today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh, our last walk of 2017. The seasonal temperature and no wind made it a refreshing day to be out. The species total for the day was 21, two more than our December average and one more than a year ago.

With vegetation dormant and a skim of ice on the water, we are left with mostly our resident species. One exception is a winter visitor, the American tree sparrow. They were active at the feeders at the boardwalk. A few more were found along the walk.

A mixed flock of eastern bluebirds (no, they don’t all leave in winter!), several chickadees and a few golden-crowned kinglets fed in the trees along Marble Street. Kinglets were also found in small groups on Pleasant Street and Whipple Hollow Road.

Red-bellied woodpeckers are becoming a regular sight on the walk. We saw two today on Pleasant Street.

A brown creeper was seen and heard along Whipple Hollow Road.

The highlight of the walk was a winter wren. At first we heard its call note up in the woods. It then flew across the road and scolded us several times before disappearing into the phragmites.

Our next walk is scheduled for Thursday, January 11, at 8 a.m.

Today’s list:

 

Mallard  4
Mourning Dove  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  4
Blue Jay  12
American Crow  12
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  24
Tufted Titmouse  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
Brown Creeper  1
Winter Wren  1    
Golden-crowned Kinglet  13    
Eastern Bluebird  6
European Starling  23
American Tree Sparrow  9
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  3
Northern Cardinal  1
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  28
House Sparrow  1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Nov162017

West Rutland Marsh - November 2017

None of today’s eight participants awoke this morning with much enthusiasm for a walk around West Rutland Marsh. It was drippy, cold and generally November.

Nevertheless, we did manage to come up with 23 species. This compares to our November average of 19 and is two more than last year’s walk. Our high was 27 species in 2011 and our low 11 in 2004.

As always, we started at the boardwalk. American tree sparrows have returned. Chickadees and a tufted titmouse were rushing back and forth to and from the feeders.

A call note in the birch tree near the boardwalk sounded suspiciously like a yellow-rumpled warbler and, after much searching, that is exactly what it turned out to be. The morning was instantly brighter.

A short distance down the road, near the green house formerly known as the yellow house, a lingering song sparrow was spotted. Two robins looked pretty miserable sitting atop trees in the rain across the road from each other. Two golden-crowned kinglets were heard, but not seen. A purple finch flew overhead.

We flushed a grouse along Whipple Hollow Road. A red-winged blackbird (others were heard in the reeds and cattails) and a lone common grackle at a feeder were also seen along Whipple Hollow.

Black-capped chickadees, mourning doves and dark-eyed juncos were the most abundant birds of the day.

The next walk is scheduled for Saturday, December 2, at 8 a.m.

Today’s list: 

Mallard  5
Ruffed Grouse  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  6
Mourning Dove  17
Downy Woodpecker  3
Blue Jay  11
American Crow  7
Black-capped Chickadee  29
Tufted Titmouse  3
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  2
American Robin  2
European Starling  8
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  1    W
American Tree Sparrow  6
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  18
Song Sparrow  1    
Northern Cardinal  2
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Common Grackle  1
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  1
House Sparrow  3

 

 

Saturday
Oct212017

West Rutland Marsh - October 2017

Red-winged BlackbirdThe bright blue sky and brilliant foliage made today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh very enjoyable. Twenty-two participants found 29 species. This is quite a bit less than last year’s 37. The October average is 32.

Highlights included two blue-headed vireos, both singing and one seen. A single pine siskin was detected among the goldfinches.

Waterfowl consisted of Canada geese, mallards and American black ducks, none in any great number. Woodpeckers seen were downy woodpecker, northern flicker and yellow-bellied sapsucker.

Raptors were represented by one red-tailed hawk and one sharp-shinned hawk.

Red-winged blackbirds are on the move with 500 counted. Grackle numbers were quite a bit lower with only five.

White-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos have returned to the marsh. No doubt tree sparrows will appear soon. Three swamp sparrows were seen or heard while the marsh wrens have departed. Three song sparrows were also observed.

Our next walk is scheduled for Thursday, November 16, at 8 a.m.

 

 

 

 

Today's list:

Canada Goose  11
Mallard  3
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Downy Woodpecker  6
Northern Flicker  1
Blue-headed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  11
American Crow  10
Common Raven  4
Black-capped Chickadee  25
Eastern Bluebird  8
American Robin  9
European Starling  5
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  4
White-throated Sparrow  18
Song Sparrow  3
Swamp Sparrow  3
Northern Cardinal  5
Red-winged Blackbird  500
Common Grackle  5
House Finch  6
Purple Finch  8
Pine Siskin  1
American Goldfinch  39
House Sparrow  1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Sep282017

West Rutland Marsh - September 2017

What a difference a day makes! After the past week of record-breaking highs, 18 birders were greeted with a north wind and a lower, but still pleasant, temperature for today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh. Finally fall is in the air.

The number of species was quite low, with 30 observed. This is lower than our September average of 39 and quite a bit lower than last year’s 45. No doubt the stiff wind was keeping many birds down.

The marsh itself was fairly quiet with a great blue heron, a handful of mallards and two swamp sparrows. Red-winged blackbirds, at least 50, were attempting to rise from the cattails, but were being kept down by the wind.

One species was taking advantage of the wind and pointed south. Several large flocks, some over a 100, of Canada geese were seen in their traditional V formation with 1,134 reported for the day.

Another species probably in migration was black vulture – with four spotted over the ridge next to the marsh. This was a life bird some participants and we all had good looks at them. Seven turkey vultures were also seen.

Raptors included two red-tailed hawks and a Cooper’s hawk.

Three warbler species were spotted: one common yellowthroat, two yellow-rumped warblers and one black-throated green warbler. A blue-headed vireo was still singing and a chipping sparrow was seen in a yard.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 21, at 8 a.m.

Today’s list:

 

Canada Goose  1134    
Mallard  6
Great Blue Heron  1
Black Vulture  4    
Turkey Vulture  7
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  5
Mourning Dove  4
Downy Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  4
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  41
American Crow  38
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  13
Tufted Titmouse  1
American Robin  5
European Starling  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  2
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  1
Red-winged Blackbird  50
American Goldfinch  7
House Sparrow  3

 

 

Saturday
Aug192017

West Rutland Marsh - August 2017

Cedar WaxwingAn anniversary almost slipped by us – today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh marked the start of our 17th year of monitoring. That’s 193 trips around the marsh in all kinds of weather from subzero to blistering heat and a lot in between.

Today’s weather was delightful with an early morning fog followed by mostly sunny with a light breeze. Although the morning ended on a somewhat warm note, autumn is in the air. The foliage looks a bit tired, but the amount of fruit on the various shrubs and trees is promising for this winter’s birds.

Eighteen participants tallied 41 species today. While that may seem high for an August bird walk, past years have yielded as many as 58 (in 2015) with an average of 45. Other August numbers have been as low as 38.

Except for the short-circuit call note of the gray catbirds and a brief burst from a Baltimore oriole, bird sound was somewhat muted. We did hear one call note from a marsh wren and a couple songs from swamp sparrows. And, of course, the red-eyed vireos go on and on.

Birds of note included a small flock of warblers along Whipple Hollow Road. Along with black-and-white-warblers and American redstarts, there was a blue-winged warbler. A single savannah sparrow was on Pleasant Street.

Eleven ruby-throated hummingbirds were counted. It’s post-breeding season and migration is right around the corner. There was plenty of bee-balm and jewelweed for them.

American goldfinches and cedar waxwings were everywhere.

Our next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, September 28 at 8 a.m.

Today’s list: 

Mallard  1
American Black Duck  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Mourning Dove  12
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  11    
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  5
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Empidonax sp.  5
Eastern Phoebe  8
Eastern Kingbird  4
Warbling Vireo  3
Red-eyed Vireo  5
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  22
Common Raven  1
Tree Swallow  5
Barn Swallow  12
Black-capped Chickadee  14
Tufted Titmouse  1
Marsh Wren  1
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  17    
European Starling  13
Cedar Waxwing  19
Blue-winged Warbler  1    
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  5
American Redstart  9
Savannah Sparrow  1
Swamp Sparrow  6
Northern Cardinal  7
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Baltimore Oriole  1
Red-winged Blackbird  3
Common Grackle  7
American Goldfinch  42
House Sparrow  3