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Entries in citizen science (26)

Saturday
Jun112016

west rutland marsh - june monitoring report

Even on a cool morning in June at West Rutland Marsh, with a few showers, beats just about any other month of the year. Today 13 participants tallied 62 species, one above our June average and four below one year ago.

Gray CatbirdWe joked that today was a bit of a catwalk as we talked to newcomers about the difference between cattails (good) and phragmites (bad), plenty of yakking catbirds, the remains of a dead catfish in the road (which was really probably a sucker) and a non-Audubon approved cat that followed us down the road. Although we take our monitoring seriously we never leave fun out of the equation!

The bird of the day was a flyover Osprey, a species rarely seen at the marsh, and our only raptor of the day.

The expected marsh species were present: a Virginia Rail, two American Bitterns, a flyover Great Blue Heron as well as lots of Marsh Wrens and Swamp Sparrows. A couple sets of sharp ears picked out the low chuckle of a Least Bittern about halfway between the kiosk and the green house. A Green Heron along Pleasant Street was perched on a dead tree, giving its ‘skeow’ call and giving everyone the opportunity for a good look while a second heron flew by.

Green HeronAlong the way we saw an Eastern Kingbird nest, a Baltimore Oriole nest and a Common Grackle nest with young. We know there were plenty more we missed!

The warbler songs were bit muted along Whipple Hollow Road as a light rain started. Nevertheless, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Nashville Warbler, American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler were all heard. Plenty of Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers were heard along the marshier parts of the route, along with more redstarts and a Chestnut-sided Warbler.

Thanks to all the new participants who joined us today. If you haven’t participated in a marsh walk we hope to see you soon at one of them!

Today’s list:

Canada Goose  6
Mallard  3   
American Bittern  2
Least Bittern  1   
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  2
Osprey  1
Virginia Rail  1
Wilson's Snipe  4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  8
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Alder Flycatcher  7
Willow Flycatcher  5
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  4
Warbling Vireo  6
Red-eyed Vireo  10
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  2
Common Raven  2
Tree Swallow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  7
Tufted Titmouse  1
Brown Creeper  2
House Wren  4
Marsh Wren  11
Veery  7
Wood Thrush  1
American Robin  12
Gray Catbird  8
European Starling  3
Cedar Waxwing  8
Ovenbird  4
Northern Waterthrush  1
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Nashville Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  13
American Redstart  6
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  11
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  10
Northern Cardinal  5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  2
Red-winged Blackbird  17
Common Grackle  5
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Baltimore Oriole  4
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  8
House Sparrow  3

Saturday
Apr232016

west rutland marsh - april monitoring report

American BitternA stiff north wind dispelled any notion that spring is here to stay. Nevertheless a record 31 participants showed up for the 177th monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. Forty-four species were tallied, more than last year's 37 and two above our April average.

The day was off to a good start when the ‘kidick kidick’ of a Virginia Rail was heard near the boardwalk. Shortly after that sharp eyes spotted an American Bittern lurking along the not yet emerged reeds. Even then it was hard to spot! Wilson’s Snipe was also heard ‘woo woo woo-ing’ and a lucky few spotted it.

If there is any doubt that nesting season is already underway, six goslings were spotted with a Canada Goose. A Blue Jay was seen carrying nesting material and its fellow corvid, a Common Raven, was carrying a sizeable bit of food. Two Belted Kingfishers were spotted near a likely nest hole above one of the quarries.

Raptors were well-represented: Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Peregrine Falcon and American Kestrel. Ten Turkey Vultures were also seen.

No Tree Swallows were seen, but three cold-looking Northern Rough-winged Swallows were huddled in a bare tree.

A Winter Wren was heard deep in the woods along Whipple Hollow Road and Marsh Wrens (2) were heard along Water Street and near the boardwalk.

A lingering American Tree Sparrow was spotted near the feeders at the kiosk. Swamp Sparrows have wasted no time and are singing throughout the marsh.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, May 19, 7 a.m.

Today's list:

Canada Goose  29
Wood Duck  1
Mallard  7
Hooded Merganser  2
American Bittern  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  10
Northern Harrier  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Virginia Rail  1
Wilson's Snipe  3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  2
Mourning Dove  10
Belted Kingfisher  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  6
American Kestrel  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  4
Common Raven  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  12
Tufted Titmouse  3
Winter Wren  1
Marsh Wren  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4
American Robin  9
European Starling  3
Cedar Waxwing  2
American Tree Sparrow  1    near feeders at kiosk; present consisently all winter
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  4
White-throated Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  14
Swamp Sparrow  16
Northern Cardinal  5
Red-winged Blackbird  26
Common Grackle  8
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  24
House Sparrow  3

 

 

Saturday
Feb132016

west rutland marsh - february monitoring report

Four hardy souls braved today’s frigid temperature and wind for this morning’s 175th consecutive monthly monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. Despite the weather, 18 species were tallied. This compares to 20 species a year ago.

None of the species were unexpected, but a small flock of Cedar Waxwings looked beautiful in flight in the morning light. Two Common Ravens were vocalizing and fussing near their usual nest site in the quarries.

A single American Robin was eating berries while chickadees were taking advantage of the various feeders along the route. American Tree Sparrows were also much in evidence at the feeders.

At the halfway point, with the wind at our backs and in full sun, the walk turned into a very pleasant experience.

Today’s list:

Mourning Dove  8
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  14
American Crow  8
Common Raven  2
Black-capped Chickadee  34
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Carolina Wren  1
American Robin  1
European Starling  9
Cedar Waxwing  12
American Tree Sparrow  13
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  13
Northern Cardinal  6
American Goldfinch  10
House Sparrow  4

Saturday
Dec122015

west rutland marsh - december monitoring report

The number of participants was almost more than the number of birds at today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh, our 172nd monthly walk. The species count came in at 21, four less than a year ago, but one more than our December average.         

The balmy weather was the highlight of the day and was perhaps the cause of the low count. There are plenty of fruits and seeds available and, of course, there is no snow cover yet.

American Tree Sparrows, along with chickadees, can be found in good numbers near the feeders by the boardwalk.

Two House Finches were seen, but there was no sign of the Purple Finches what have been widely reported around the state this past week. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was heard, a species only being reported at the marsh in the past couple of years.

The large flock of Wild Turkeys, counted today at 29, continues in the fields near the corner of Pleasant Street and Whipple Hollow Road.

The next count is scheduled for Saturday, January 16, at 8 a.m. Perhaps by then we will have more wintry conditions.

Today’s count:

Wild Turkey  29
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Mourning Dove  12
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Blue Jay  9
American Crow  6
Common Raven  3
Black-capped Chickadee  31
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
European Starling  1
American Tree Sparrow  11
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  3
Northern Cardinal  3
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  31
House Sparrow  3

Thursday
Nov192015

west rutland marsh - november monitoring report

Once again the predicted bad weather did not materialize for today’s monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. Seven participants, enjoying the warmer temperatures, tallied 24 species. This beats last year’s count of 19 and our November average of 19.

A woodie, a hoodie and mallards – ducks somehow seem appropriate to the marsh as it slips into dormancy, but while there is still open water. One each of the first two species was seen while Mallards, in small groups, were tucked here and there in the reeds.

Also appropriate to the season, Wild Turkey was seen in abundance – a flock of 37 near the intersection of Pleasant Street and Whipple Hollow Road. A Ruffed Grouse was also observed in low flight across a weedy field and into the woods along Whipple Hollow Road.

Highbush CranberryA highlight of the walk was an immature Northern Harrier sweeping across the length of the marsh. A Red-tailed Hawk was in flight along the ridge.

A Purple Finch was observed munching on ash seeds in the same area one was seen during the October walk.

American Tree Sparrows have taken up their winter quarters by the feeders near the boardwalk. They and Dark-eyed Juncos were the only sparrow species observed today.

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, December 12 at 8 a.m.

Today’s list:

Wood Duck  1
Mallard  13
Hooded Merganser  1
Ruffed Grouse  1
Wild Turkey  36
Northern Harrier  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Mourning Dove  23
Downy Woodpecker  5
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  9
American Crow  11
Black-capped Chickadee  26
Tufted Titmouse  5
European Starling  21
American Tree Sparrow  6
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  4
Northern Cardinal  2
House Finch  1
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  9
House Sparrow  3