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Entries in citizen science (53)


West Rutland Marsh - September 2019

It was a spectacular day at West Rutland Marsh with bright sunshine, warm temperatures and foliage turning on the hillsides. Fourteen observers turned out for the walk. Forty-one species were tallied, quite a bit more than last year’s 28 and our average of 36 for the month of September.

Waterfowl species included Canada goose, mallard and wood duck.

A few raptor species were seen with the highlight being an immature bald eagle soaring over the ridge accompanied by turkey vultures. An American kestrel and a broad-winged hawk were also observed.

exploring the new trailNine northern flickers were seen with several on the road on Marble Street. Other woodpecker species included hairy and downy and one yellow-bellied sapsucker.

Gray catbirds were numerous and two brown thrashers were a treat along Marble Street.

Warblers were scattered here and there and included common yellowthroat, magnolia chestnut-sided, palm, yellow-rumped, and black-throated green warblers. 

A Lincoln's sparrow was seen as well as several swamp sparrows and four song sparrows.  A lone purple finch was singing atop a tree on Pleasant Street.

Another highlight was the opportunity to explore Phase I of the new trail off of Whipple Hollow Road. 

The next walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, at 8 a.m.

The list: 

Canada Goose  13
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  5
Wild Turkey  5
Mourning Dove  2
Turkey Vulture  4
Bald Eagle  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  4
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  9
American Kestrel  2
Eastern Phoebe  7
Blue Jay  10
American Crow  11
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  19
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
Marsh Wren  2
Carolina Wren  1
European Starling  1
Gray Catbird  14
Brown Thrasher  2
American Robin  1
Cedar Waxwing  15
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  12
Song Sparrow  4
Swamp Sparrow  8
Red-winged Blackbird  13
Common Yellowthroat  7
Magnolia Warbler  3
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  4
Northern Cardinal  4



West Rutland Marsh - August 2019

Thirteen birders, including visitors from Oregon and California, set out on RCAS’s monthly walk around West Rutland Marsh this morning. Today’s walk marks the beginning of our 19th year of monthly monitoring!

Forty-eight species were observed plus several alder/willow flycatchers whose true identities were unknown as they were all silent, not surprising at this time of year.  Our average for August is 45 species with our high being 58 in 2015. Last year at this time we saw or heard 45.

Most of the ‘marsh birds’ have gone silent. A few swamp sparrows were seen and one sang briefly. Two yellow warblers, also silent, were seen. One adult male common yellowthroat was still feeding a youngster.

Ruby-throated HummingbirdWarblers included the above mentioned as well as a black-and-white warbler (singing), several American restarts and a chestnut-sided warbler.

A gray catbird was seen carrying food and a house wren was seen carrying food into a nesting cavity (a piece of equipment on a power pole).

Our only raptor was a northern harrier. No vultures were seen, but the morning was quite still and overcast.

Monarch caterpillarCedar waxwings and American goldfinches were everywhere. We also saw and/or heard eight ruby-throated hummingbirds. On past August walks, we have seen as many as 13. Red-eyed vireos were still singing in several spots and we saw one blue-headed vireo.

A black-billed cuckoo was heard in the distance.

On a non-avian note, several Monarch butterfly caterpillars were seen on milkweed. This is shaping up to be a good Monarch year.

Part of the walk was on our new trail, which you can read about here.

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, at 8 a.m. (note time change!).

Today's List:

Wood Duck  1
Mallard  1
Wild Turkey  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  9
Black-billed Cuckoo  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  8
Northern Harrier  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2    1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1    1
Downy Woodpecker  6
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill's Flycatcher)  5
Least Flycatcher  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Eastern Kingbird  8
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  14
Blue Jay  7
American Crow  8
Common Raven  2
Black-capped Chickadee  9
Tufted Titmouse  2
Barn Swallow  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
House Wren  2
Carolina Wren  2
European Starling  6
Gray Catbird  10
Veery  1
American Robin  8
Cedar Waxwing  21
Purple Finch  3
American Goldfinch  27
Song Sparrow  10
Swamp Sparrow  5
Bobolink  2
Red-winged Blackbird  32
Common Grackle  3
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  8
American Redstart  7
Yellow Warbler  2
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3
Indigo Bunting  3




West Rutland Marsh - July 2019

Today marked 18 years of consecutive monthly monitoring at West Rutland Marsh! A slight breeze kept the 10 participants somewhat cool despite the sun and high humidity. We totaled 43 species, seven less than our average for July and quite a bit lower than the 64 species observed one year ago.

The bird of the day was veery with nine heard along the route, many of them singing It was a new bird song for several in the group. Wood thrush were also singing in two spots.

Marsh WrenDespite the high vegetation, we had good luck along the boardwalk. An American bittern flew as well as a green heron. We had great looks at several marsh wrens and swamp sparrows. The swamp sparrows were particularly vocal. 

Five warbler species were seen and/or heard. An American redstart was carrying food for young. Common yellowthroats are still singing enthusiastically. A northern waterthrush and three ovenbirds were heard along Whipple Hollow Road. 

Five empidonax species were seen, but only three, all alder flycatchers, could identified to species.

 Raptor numbers were low – one broad-winged hawk! Another raptor flew high over the marsh, but none of us could provide any clue as to its identity. 

The last addition to the list was a Wilson’s Snipe which flushed as we crossed the Water Street bridge.

The next marsh is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, 7 a.m.

Today's list:

Mourning Dove  10
Wilson's Snipe  1
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  5
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4
Alder Flycatcher  3
Empidonax sp.  2
Eastern Phoebe  2
Eastern Kingbird  5
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  11
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  4
Common Raven  1
Tree Swallow  4
Barn Swallow  8
Black-capped Chickadee  11
Tufted Titmouse  1
Marsh Wren  8
Veery  9
Wood Thrush  3
American Robin  9
Gray Catbird  13
European Starling  15
Cedar Waxwing  14
American Goldfinch  24
Chipping Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  15
Swamp Sparrow  23
Red-winged Blackbird  9
Common Grackle  2
Ovenbird  3
Northern Waterthrush  1
Common Yellowthroat  23
American Redstart  2
Yellow Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  4







West Rutland Marsh - June 2019

Seventeen participants joined Rutland County Audubon for our monthly walk around West Rutland Marsh, a glorious morning on June 22. While the weather, sunny with a light breeze, couldn’t have been to blame, we had one of our lowest number of species for June - 52. This compares to 61 species one year ago and our June average of 60.

However, there was still plenty to see with nesting season in full swing. A downy woodpecker was feeding a youngster. Two eastern kingbirds were bringing food to a nest. And a pair of yellow-bellied sapsuckers took turns bringing bugs to a nest hole in a poplar where a noisy brood could be heard.

Eastern Kingbird with nest on leftWe observed 18 veeries, most of them singing, and saw one carrying food for young. Also carrying food were common yellowthroat and yellow warbler.

The swamp sparrows and marsh wrens were still pretty vocal while some of the flycatchers have gone silent. Fortunately, some sang so we could identify both alder and willow flycatchers. The quiet ones, however, went on our list as alder/willow flycatcher (or Traill’s flycatcher as these two were once considered one species).

Yellow-bellied SapsuckerNumerous black-and-white warblers were heard singing along the route, mostly along Whipple Hollow Road and lots of American redstarts were observed here and there. Overall, warbler activities, except for the expected ones in the marsh, were down. However, a Canada warbler was heard in its usual spot along Whipple Hollow Road.

The morning ended with a belted kingfisher carrying a fish across the marsh and into the woods, possibly to a nest hole in a bank nearby.

Our next walk is scheduled for Thursday, July 18, 7 a.m.






The list:
Mallard  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  7
Chimney Swift  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Virginia Rail  2
American Bittern  3
Turkey Vulture  5
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Belted Kingfisher  2    
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2
Downy Woodpecker  5
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Alder Flycatcher  4
Willow Flycatcher  4
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill's Flycatcher)  3
Eastern Phoebe  5
Eastern Kingbird  5
Yellow-throated Vireo  1    
Warbling Vireo  3
Red-eyed Vireo  8
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  7
Common Raven  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  1
Marsh Wren  12
Veery  18
Wood Thrush  2
American Robin  8
Gray Catbird  11
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  15
Cedar Waxwing  15
American Goldfinch  11
Song Sparrow  16
Swamp Sparrow  18
Red-winged Blackbird  15
Common Grackle  4
Ovenbird  5
Black-and-white Warbler  7
Common Yellowthroat  19
American Redstart  8
Yellow Warbler  15
Canada Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  6
Indigo Bunting  1
House Sparrow  4






West Rutland Marsh - May 2019

If you could choose one word to describe birding in Vermont this past week or so, it would have to be WOW!

That was certainly our reaction today. Twenty-one participants gathered to see what West Rutland Marsh had to offer on a beautiful spring day. The weather was sunny with a light breeze, perfect for birding. We recorded our highest number ever for May with 78 species seen and/or heard. This is 10 more than a year ago May and 10 more than our average for this month of the year.

It was a day for warblers! Twenty species were observed. The yellow warblers and common yellowthroats were busy as this is breeding habitat for them. Two female yellow warblers were seen building nests at different spots along the boardwalk.

Bay-breasted WarblerAlong Marble street, we saw the warbler species that have been thrilling Vermont birders all week – bay-breasted warbler and Cape May warbler. Tennessee warblers were tapping out their songs and several blackpoll warblers were seen and heard. Canada warbler and magnolia warblers were also counted among the warbler species here. A single female black-throated blue warbler was seen foraging among the trees.

The ‘bees buzz’ song of a blue-winged warbler that has been observed along Marble Street over the past couple weeks was heard and then briefly seen. A mourning warbler, a species we have observed only once before on our monthly marsh walks, was also along Marble Street. Perhaps the habitat in this area has grown more suitable for blue-winged warblers and mourning warblers.  

One Nashville warbler was heard singing and then seen along Whipple Hollow Road, where we also heard black-throated green warblers, Blackburnian warblers, and more Canada warblers.

Philadelphia VireoIn the midst of the many red-eyed vireos and warbling vireos, a Philadelphia vireo was spotted. Two yellow-throated vireos were heard. At first we thought one was a blue-headed vireo, but when seen it turned out to be one of the yellow-throated, singing an oddly sweet song.

Two yellow-billed cuckoos were heard at two different spots along Marble Street.

The flycatchers are all in. Both willow and alder flycatchers were heard at their usual spots throughout the walk. Eastern kingbirds are back, busy defending their territories. The ‘reep reep’ of the great crested flycatcher was heard as well as the ‘peeeo-weeee of the eastern wood-pewee. Eastern phoebes were present near the homes along Whipple Hollow Road. Our bonus flycatcher was a yellow-bellied flycatcher seen in some cedars along Marble Street.  

Oddly, many of the ‘marsh’ birds were absent from our list. Although both marsh wrens and swamp sparrows were very vocal, we neither saw nor heard any sign of American bittern, least bittern, sora or great blue heron. We did see a green heron fly over and a belted kingfisher rattled over.

What a morning!

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, at 7 a.m.

The list:


Canada Goose
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Virginia Rail
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
White-crowned Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
House Sparrow