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Entries in West Rutland Marsh (61)

Saturday
Feb102018

West Rutland Marsh - February 2018

Today’s weather did not deter seven participants in today’s West Rutland Marsh walk, our 199th consecutive walk around the 3.7-mile loop. We tallied 19 species, one more than our February average, but two less than a year ago.

Not much out of the ordinary was seen this morning. The feeders at the kiosk at the boardwalk were busy with American tree sparrows, black-capped chickadees and a lone male red-winged blackbird. Red-winged blackbirds were seen again later in the walk, keeping company with European starlings.

Cedar WaxwingA flock of cedar waxwings was a bright spot in a very overcast morning. Several of them were taking advantage of the high-bush cranberry still heavy with fruit.

A singled golden-crowned kinglet was flitting low to the ground along Whipple Hollow Road. A short time later two ruffed grouse were flushed from the shrubs on side of the road. This is the area we have seen grouse on recent walks.

Our single raptor of the day was a red-tailed hawk, sitting in a tree and harassed by American crows.

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, March 24, at 8 a.m.

 

 

 

 

Today’s list:

 

Ruffed Grouse  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  22
American Crow  9
Black-capped Chickadee  23
Tufted Titmouse  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
European Starling  12
Cedar Waxwing  27
American Tree Sparrow  14
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  26
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  13    
American Goldfinch  1
House Sparrow  4

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Thursday
Jul202017

West Rutland Marsh - July 2017

Marsh WrenIt was a beautiful day at West Rutland Marsh for our monitoring walk! Don’t we say that every month? Fifteen birders gathered to count 50 species. Our average for July is 51. The high was 57 in 2015.

We started the morning as we always do with a stroll down the boardwalk. Swamp sparrows and marsh wrens continue to sing away and a house wren is still chattering away near the kiosk. But the highlight here was an American bittern crouched next to the boardwalk. Several of us saw it before it crept away through the cattails. Amazingly, it was in the same spot when we returned over three hours later.

No great blue herons were seen today, but a green heron was seen in flight and a least bittern flew across the road just north of the boardwalk. This is one of the two spots it has been seen or heard on a fairly regular basis this season.

We all had a good look a two marsh wrens along Marble Street and they landed in front of us and pecked at an appealing (to them) tidbit.

Two warbling vireos were singing rather weakly, but the red-eye vireos are still going on and on.

There is plenty of evidence of breeding. Eastern kingbird young were begging for food and an adult female rose-breasted grosbeak was feeding a youngster.

American Black BearWarbler song was a bit muted today except for numerous common yellowthroats and five black-and-white warblers, who are still singing rather enthusiastically. Three American redstarts were heard as well as one ovenbird. Three yellow warblers were seen, but were not vocalizing.

Raptor numbers were low, but we did have a good look at a peregrine falcon as it flew by. A red-tailed hawk was being chased by crows (no sign of ravens today).

We also took a peek at butterflies today as the day was warm and sunny -  a viceroy was perched on Queen Anne’s lace and a Baltimore checkerspot seemed to be enjoying the poison parsnip. Tiger swallowtails were everywhere.

And, as wonderful as the birds and butterflies were this morning, they were upstaged by a mammal. A bear crossed Marble Street ahead of us!

Our next walk is scheduled for Saturday, August 19, at 7 a.m.

Today's List:

 

American Bittern  1    
Least Bittern  1    
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  13
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  8
Northern Flicker  3
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  3
Alder Flycatcher  7
Willow Flycatcher  2
Eastern Phoebe  4
Eastern Kingbird  6
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo  2
Red-eyed Vireo  10
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  6
Barn Swallow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  16
Tufted Titmouse  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
House Wren  5
Marsh Wren  8
Carolina Wren  1
Veery  12
American Robin  7
Gray Catbird  15
European Starling  24
Cedar Waxwing  23
Ovenbird  1
Black-and-white Warbler  5
Common Yellowthroat  16
American Redstart  3
Yellow Warbler  4
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  11
Northern Cardinal  5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  6
Red-winged Blackbird  12
Common Grackle  4
American Goldfinch  16
House Sparrow  2