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Entries in West Rutland Marsh (78)


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




New Trail Underway in West Rutland

The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) has been working for the past week on a trail to get marsh walkers off of part of Whipple Hollow Road (the hill that overlooks the southern end of the marsh). They have built a bridge over a small stream, and laid some puncheon across a wet area leading to an overlook. We've also had great cooperation from the West Rutland town crew, who have mowed a path through a section of meadow.

When completed the trail will bypass a dangerous stretch of road for walkers, and allow us to get closer to a variety of habitats--hardwood and conifer forest, cedar swamp, and meadow. The VYCC crew should be working for another week or so, if you want to go out and have a look. If you park along Whipple Hollow Rd, please pull all the way off. The best parking is near the entrance to the former dump site, about a quarter mile north of the trail.

If you wish to contribute to this effort, you can make donations payable to Rutland County Audubon, PO Box 1813, Rutland, VT 05701, marked West Rutland Marsh trail.



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