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Entries in field trips (25)

Sunday
May192019

Trip Report: Century Count XXIV - May 18

Prairie WarblerBy all accounts, it was the best of all spring days in Vermont. The internet birding world was buzzing with reports of warblers and other migrants on Saturday night.

Eleven birders gathered at 6 a.m. in West Rutland, the weather chilly and clear, ready for the day’s offerings.

After a brief stop on Sheldon Avenue, near the marsh, we headed to the Pleasant Street power line. As we exited our cars, we could hear the rising song of the prairie warbler followed by the descending song of the field sparrow. Eastern towhees called and sang while the song of the wood thrush floated from the woods. A bay-breasted warbler was spotted in the flowering apple trees. We had good looks at both a blue-winged warbler, the more dominant of the winged warblers at this location, and a prairie warbler as it belted out its song.

Then on to West Rutland Marsh. One of the late-to-arrive this season flycatchers, an alder, was heard along Marble Street. A northern parula was also heard along this stretch. At the end of the boardwalk a sora called and a Virginia rail as well. We also heard a black-billed cuckoo along Marble Street. On Water Street two tree swallows were busy propagating the species.

Several warbler species were singing along Whipple Hollow Road including blackburnian, northern waterthrush and black-throated blue warblers, but the usual Canada warbler was a no-show. We all had good looks at a Swainson’s thrush.

Our first raptor of the day, an American kestrel was spotted along Route 4.

Of the 23 warbler species seen throughout the day, the Route 4 rest area/Blueberry Hill WMA, produced the greatest number including Cape May, magnolia, Tennessee warblers and another northern parula and three more bay-breasted warblers. A brilliant scarlet tanager was seen as well as a glow-in-the dark Baltimore oriole with its less flamboyant mate nearby.

birding is hard workAs the lunch time approached, we headed to Crystal Beach on Lake Bomoseen for a quick picnic. Bonaparte’s gulls had been spotted several times in April and May and two lingered for us to include on our Century Count. We also added solitary sandpiper and double-creasted cormorant at this spot.

Stops at Loves Marsh and the north end of Lake Bomoseen yielded wood ducks, a pair of ring-necked ducks, a pine warbler and a yellow-throated vireo.

We then swung around the north end of Lake Bomoseen and down Black Pond and Moscow roads. We had excellent looks at a pine warbler and finally spotted our first hummingbirds of the day.

A loon was seen at Glen Lake along with an osprey with fish ‘in hand’ and two Canada geese with young. An occupied osprey nest was spotted down the road.

Pine WarblerThe stop at Bomoseen State Park was worthwhile as we picked up a Canada warbler, had good looks at a magnolia warbler and saw one of the few raptors of the day, a broad-winged hawk. We also enjoyed looking at two northern watersnakes near the wetland boardwalk at the park.

There was quite a bit of warbler action at the upper lot of the Kehoe Fishing Access aka the Green Dump. We could hear a Louisiana waterthrush singing and a Tennessee warbler while we saw both a black-and-white warbler and northern parula. One of the most stunning sights of the day was the sun shining on a male Cape May warbler. We also saw two somewhat out of place field sparrows at this spot.

The next stop was the Fair Haven airport where we heard and saw several bobolinks.

The day ended in West Haven. We saw a pair of American kestrels on a wire along with an eastern meadowlark. A golden-winged warbler, true to form, although silent, was seen at its usual spot on Ghost Hollow Road. On Cogman Road we picked up some of the day’s misses – indigo bunting, killdeer and bald eagle. And the very last bird of the day was a handsome male orchard oriole, a perfect end to a perfect day of birding in Rutland County. The total for the day was 106 species!

The list:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Wild Turkey 
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Black-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Virginia Rail
Sora
Killdeer
American Woodcock
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Broad-winged Hawk
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpcker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Alder Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbler 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
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Bobolink
Eastern Meadowlark
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
House Sparrow
 
Sunday
May202018

Century Count XXIII

First the bad news. We didn’t get 100 species on our annual Century Count. But now the good news! The birds we did see were wonderful Eleven participants tallied 93 species on 21 eBird checklists.

Prairie WarblerThe early morning stops at West Rutland Marsh and the Pleasant Street power line provided us with more than half of the day’s species. Despite the impending bad weather, the prairie warblers were in full song and we had good looks at them. We were alerted to the presence of a winged warbler by a ‘bees buzz’ song. Fortunately, we were able to see the bird and determine it was a blue-winged warbler and not one of the increasing number of hybrids. Several other warbler species were noted here including a Tennessee warbler. Tennessee warblers were heard at several locations during the day. Chestnut-sided warblers and eastern towhees were very vocal Chestnut-sided Warbleron the power line.

We had the expected species at West Rutland Marsh, Virginia rail, American bittern, marsh wren, yellow warbler and swamp sparrow. Despite two sweeps through the marsh we did not hear or see sora or least bittern. 

The Blueberry Hill WMA was the highlight of the day for us. Our goal was a cerulean warbler, but we ended up with 12 warbler species including two bay-breasted warblers and another Tennessee warbler, as well blackpoll, magnolia, black-and-white, Blackburnian, and yellow-rumped warblers. Ovenbirds and especially American redstarts were everywhere. A mourning warbler was singing in the large clearing east of the wildlife management area. After much searching we all had good looks at it.

We had a thrush trifecta at this location. First a wood thrush hopped onto the trail ahead of us, then a veery and finally a Swainson’s thrush.

By the time we left our lunch stop at Crystal Beach on Lake Bomoseen, a few drops began to fall. The one bald eagle of the day was seen atop the tallest white pine on Neshobe Island. As we made our way north and then looped around to the west side of the lake the rain became steadier and the temperature dropped.

Three male ring-necked ducks were a nice surprise at the Lake Bomoseen/Hubbardton marshes north of the float bridge road. Wood ducks and a great blue heron were there as well.

Black-capped ChickadeeWe decided a brief walk around the campground at Bomoseen State Park might be worth it and indeed it was. A silent Canada warbler was lurking in the brush while a Wilson’s warbler was hopping in the trees along the small marsh. Another Tennessee warbler was singing at the park as well.

The only black-throated green warbler of the day sang once near ‘the Green Dump’ above the Kehoe Fishing Access on the west side of Lake Bomoseen. One common loon was seen out in the lake.

A swing through the West Haven area proved to be worthwhile as we saw and heard our first bobolinks of the trip along with wild turkey, eastern bluebird and savannah sparrow. Two Louisiana waterthrushes were singing along Cogman Road and a green heron was spotted briefly. The day ended with an eastern meadowlark perched on a fence rail at a small cemetery on Main Road in West Haven.

Some odd misses for the day included white-breasted nuthatch, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker and hermit thrush. Raptor numbers were very low, no doubt due to the weather.

Thanks to C. J. Frankiewicz for leading a great trip!

The day’s list: 

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Common Merganser
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Virginia Rail
Killdeer
Spotted Sandpiper
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
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
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Veery
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Ovenbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cerulean Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Eastern Meadowlark
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

 

 

Monday
Jan222018

Field Trip Report: Winter Regulars & Rarities

We could not have asked for a better day for our Winter Regulars and Rarities in the Champlain Valley field trip on January 20. Temperatures pushed up to 46 degrees and the light breeze made standing on the shores of Lake Champlain better than just bearable. The winter scenery was spectacular.

Spotting waterfowl is one of the goals of this annual trip. The morning kicked off at Shelburne Point which was rather quiet with several American black ducks, a few mallards and a single common goldeneye. Shelburne Farms was more productive as we added several passerine species including a flock of snow buntings, one of our winter visitors, and eastern bluebirds. A sharp-shinned hawk was also spotted (coincidence?). We saw our first common loon of the day. A total of eight loons was seen during the day.

Gadwall at Charlotte Town BeachThree gadwalls, along with horned grebes and three more common loons, were seen at Shelburne Town Beach at Meach Cove.

No doubt the best stop of the day was at Charlotte Town Beach. A group of birders was already there and had the anticipated pair of harlequin ducks staked out. Gadwall were also present at this stop including one right below us on the shoreline. There was a large raft of common goldeneye and five red-breasted mergansers. The harlequin ducks were the real treat and a life bird or state bird for many of us. The two, a male and a female, were constantly diving, but with patience everyone had a look.

Our first bald eagle was spotted at the Charlotte Ferry Landing. A very handsome pair of hooded mergansers was also present. There were nine buffleheads as well. We saw six bald eagles during the trip.

The rest of the stops along the lake included Converse Bay, Ft Cassin, Kellogg Bay, Button Bay and Arnold Bay. More eagles, common and hooded mergansers, and common loons were seen among other species. The only concentration of gulls was at Kellogg Bay with 90 plus ring-billed gulls and a handful of herring and great black-backed gulls. 

Snowy Owl at Dead Creek WMAThe other highlight for the day was seeing THREE snowy owls, one on Walker Road in Ferrisburgh, one at the goose viewing area at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area and a third on Gage Road in Addison. The last stop had the added bonus when we heard a great horned owl hooting in the distance. This really is turning out to be another snowy owl year. On a side note, Roy Pilcher spotted one near Post Road in Rutland Town on his way to meet the field trip.

The day ended on Gage Road with a beautiful sunset and many happy birders.

Thirteen checklists were submitted for the trip. A total of 35 species was reported plus a rough-legged hawk, 16 wild turkeys and a pileated woodpecker seen along the way.

Many thanks to C. J. Frankiewicz for leading a great trip.

Sunday
Jan152017

winter regulars & rarities field trip

Barred OwlMaybe standing on the shores of Lake Champlain in mid-January when the temperature is in the 20s is not everyone’s idea of a good time. But it was for sixteen participants in Rutland County Audubon’s annual Winter Regulars & Rarities field trip held on January 14th.

Fourteen stops at key birding hotspots yielded 29 species. The day's count of bald eagles was six with four of them, three adults and one immature, at Shelburne Bay.

Most of the day was concentrated on winter ducks and other water birds. Numerous horned grebes were tallied, 13 in all, at Shelburne Point, Shelburne Beach, Charlotte Town Beach and at the Charlotte Ferry Landing. And five common loons were seen at these locations.

Waterfowl consisted of common goldeneye, throwing their heads back in courtship display, bufflehead and common merganser. One female red-breasted merganser was seen on the lake off Shelburne Point and four hooded mergansers, three males and female, were diving in the bay.

A single snow goose was among the thirty-one wild turkeys, 150 American crows, and 300 Canada geese frantically feeding in a cornfield on Greenbush Road in Charlotte. The geese included one leucistic goose, its head partially white and its neck a speckled black and white. This group of geese had flown from McNeil Bay at the Charlotte Town Beach while we were at that previous stop.

The highlight of the day turned out not to be ducks, but owls! A barred owl was spotted along the road to Kellogg Bay in Ferrisburgh. An eastern screech-owl was enjoying the view from the entrance hole of a wood duck box on Basin Harbor Road. And the final stop yielded a short-eared owl on Gage Road while a great horned owl hooted in the distance.

Thanks to Nate Dansereau for organizing and leading the trip and to C. J. Frankiewicz for assisting.

The full list for the day (14 eBird checklists submitted): 

Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Mallard
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Eastern Screech-Owl
Barred Owl 
Short-eared Owl
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
American Crow
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Dark-eyed Junco

 

 

Thursday
Sep222016

un-hawk watch - september 17

Of all the bird outings, hawk watches are probably the hardest to plan. Not because of difficult birders, but because migrating hawks are so subject to weather conditions.

So it was on September 17 as we sent off for our annual trip to Mt. Philo State Park. As soon as we settled ourselves on the rocky promontory, we realized the gusting south wind was not in our favor. After sighting three immature bald eagles, two broad-winged hawks and one osprey, we sat down for our picnic lunch and plotted other stops for the day. Fortunately, there is always birding hotspot worth checking out in Addison County.

Lesser YellowlegsAt Charlotte Town Beach we spotted a black-bellied plover, two killdeer and a group of common mergansers. At the confluence of Otter and Dead creeks, a flock of 15 lesser yellowlegs with a single least sandpiper were near our viewing point. Further out in the water we could see a great egret and six great blue herons. A late barn swallow flew overhead.

Hoping for more shorebirds we stopped at the ‘Stone Bridge’ and came up with three more lesser yellowlegs, a Cooper’s hawk and an osprey.

When the birding slows down, birders eat ice cream! A stop at Goodie’s Snack Bar in West Addison left everyone smiling. And in an ironic twist to the day, a broad-winged hawk landed in the single tree outside the snack bar, said “nyah nyah nyah” and flew off.

Our last stop of the day was at McCuen Slang, we spotted another great egret, another osprey and a single lesser yellowlegs.