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Entries in citizen science (30)

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

Saturday
Oct172015

west rutland marsh - october monitoring report

Dire predictions of bad weather were greatly exaggerated. Sixteen(!) participants, including some new faces, turned out for the 171st monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. The weather turned out to be quite pleasant and of course the Vermont foliage spectacular.

Thirty-four species turned out as well, quite a bit more than last year’s 23 species, and just above our October average of 32. Waterfowl was in short supply, no doubt due to the presence of hunters in the area.

Raptor numbers were good with Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, and American Kestrel seen. Turkey Vultures and Common Ravens were also soaring high above the marsh. The ravens seemed to be winning the ‘who can fly highest’ contest.

White-throated SparrowTwo Ruffed Grouse were observed, one flushed from the side of the road and a second drumming in the woods along Whipple Hollow Road.

Six sparrow species were seen including one White-crowned Sparrow. White-throated Sparrows were singing bits of their song. The juncos are back!

American Robins were in good numbers with 49 observed. Yellow-rumped Warblers, widely reported throughout Vermont last week, were low in number with only two seen.

A highlight of the walk was a male Purple Finch sitting high in a bare tree in the bright light and singing his heart out as if it was the first day of spring.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, November 19, at 8 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s list:

Canada Goose  2
Mallard  11
Ruffed Grouse  2
Wild Turkey  9
Turkey Vulture  3
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  4
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
American Kestrel  2
Blue Jay  16
American Crow  7
Common Raven  4
Black-capped Chickadee  13
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
American Robin  49
European Starling  12
Cedar Waxwing  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  2
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  4
White-crowned Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  5
Song Sparrow  11
Swamp Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Common Grackle  22
House Finch  5
Purple Finch  1    
American Goldfinch  5
House Sparrow  2