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Entries in West Rutland Marsh (70)


time to visit the marsh!

The trees are leafing out, the marsh marigolds are blooming, and the West Rutland Marsh is sparkling after volunteers descended upon the area on May 7 as part of Vermont’s annual Green Up Day. Seven RCAS members joined town residents and other volunteers in the cleanup. Thanks to Dave McDevitt of the Nature Conservancy, our task was made easier by a team of ten AmericCorps of members, who used their day off to help with the huge task. 

Mounds of tires, mattresses, computers and televisions, bags of household trash, and the usual roadside trash of fast food wrappers and beer cans were pulled from the roadsides and ditches around the marsh. Despite the mess, the birds were singing brightly, and while they may not appreciate the efforts, visiting birders in the coming weeks will. 

If you haven’t visited West Rutland Marsh lately, now is the time!  Most of the migrants are back including American and Least bitterns, Virginia Rail, Sora, and Marsh Wren. We await the arrival of the flycatchers, Willow and Alder, and maybe some surprises.


nine years of monthly bird marsh monitoring completed

monitoring walk #108On Saturday, July 22, 2010 Rutland County Audubon members and friends completed the 108th month of bird monitoring of the West Rutland Marsh. The monitoring consists of walking the 3.7 mile perimeter of the marsh each month and recording all birds seen and/or heard during the walk. Any individual who has participated in all 108 monthly monitoring walks would have covered 399.6 miles and would have seen or heard 139 different species of birds!

While those numbers may be impressive, what is more important is the ever expanding data set that has been faithfully recorded on eBird, a collaborative effort of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon and publicly available to researchers, bird enthusiasts and the curious. During nine years of marsh monitoring, 1,266 individuals participated, constituting a potential community of informed and empathetic advocates willing and ready to ensure the sustainability of the marsh and its diverse inhabitants.

While monitoring is both collegial and fun, many participate in welcoming the opportunity to hone their birding skills, both auditory and visual. It would be difficult to imagine a more dynamic and inviting classroom in which to learn, to exercise and to contribute.

While celebrating this birding milestone, there is more to the marsh than just the birds! The ten-station Bridge to Bridge Interpretive Trail, with the help of a brochure available at the kiosk, can expand the horizons of the curious to the flora, to the landscape and even to the soils characteristic of a wetland as it traverses River Street to the south and Marble Street to the east.

West Rutland Media CampThis summer, among the curious, there were three groups of young people who visited the marsh to experience some of the treasures that it has to offer, a Tapestry class from Rutland, the West Rutland Academy and the West Rutland School Media Camp. Click here to see the video created by the students.

Everyone is welcome to participate in Rutland County Audubon’s field trips and activities. There is no charge. Notice of events may be found in the local press and also on the Events section of this website.


green up Vermont every day

I spotted these words today on a sign at a general store. Yellow WarblerThey seem appropriate especially for this time of year. On Saturday May 1, RCAS volunteers and other members of the community descended on West Rutland Marsh for the annual Green Up Day cleanup. A mountain of trash was pulled out and once again the marsh is ready for the migrant birds that are already pouring in. Thank you to all who worked so hard!

Sadly this much trash is pulled out of the marsh each year. Every town has at least one area prone to illegal dumping. Unfortunately these areas are often in great birding habitat. The careless trash of cans and bottles and fast food bags seems inevitable, but it is hard to fathom the deliberate dumping of appliances and furniture, and even worse, items such as motor oil.

RCAS welcomes ideas for keeping West Rutland Marsh and other areas free from dumping. In the meantime we can all help out by leaving areas cleaner than we find them. Enjoy your sparkling clean marsh!


West Rutland Marsh - 55 more acres preserved!

We have exciting news about our preservation efforts at West Rutland Marsh. As many of you know, Rutland County Audubon has undertaken a long-term Yellow Warblereffort to preserve the marsh through bird monitoring and offering environmental education opportunities. Much of the wetland is owned privately, which potentially makes the ideal bird and wildlife habitat vulnerable. While there has been no immediate threat of development, there is also no guarantee.

Thanks to a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) that has changed. Spearheaded by RCAS, the town of West Rutland succesfully applied for the grant and now the town owns another 55-acre parcel which will be protected. This particular parcel is important because of its habitat and location. The property consists of a broad marshy stretch of the Castleton River's headwaters and a grove of old growth white pine. It is located between Whipple Hollow Road and Marble Street and is bordered on the north and west by lands already preserved. This key piece provides a continguous parcel of protect habitat.

The grant process, begun in July 2008, has been a long one. VHCB supported us throughout the process despite budget cuts in a difficult economic time and our attorney helped steer us through some legal glitches. One of the strong points of the application was the partnership between a municipality and a non-profit organization.

The news comes with responsiblity. RCAS has accepted the challenge of helping plan and implement conservation goals to this parcel and the additional 200 plus acres owned by the town. We will need plenty of volunteer help and probably financial support. We must develop an action plan to have everyone understand what needs to be done and in what order. If you are interested in helping, let us know by contacting me at vtbirdhouses@yahoo.com or at 775-2415.

It is a thrill to be making a positive effort in preserving bird habitat. We believe that places like this must be preserved. In fact it may be more important now than ever to keep places like West Rutland Marsh unspoiled by development. It is during the tough times that we most enjoy the natural world.



eight years of marsh monitoring completed

On Thursday, July 16, 2009, a group of Rutland County Audubon members and friends completed eight years of monthly marsh monitoring of the birds associated with the West Rutland marsh. The first of these walks around the 3.7 mile perimeter of the marsh took place on August 16, 2001, with 15 observers during which 45 species were tallied. The number of species tallied is now 137 while observer participation has reached 1127. The lowest number of species ever recorded on a monthly walk was 28 on April 16, 2005, and the highest number was 70 on May 18, 2006.

Bird monitoring at the marsh has several objectives. One objective is to raise the awareness and appreciation of the general public to this Important Bird Area as an exceptional natural resource. A corollary to the awareness and appreciation is the hope that the future of the marsh and its sustainability will be ensured. A second objective for monthly bird monitoring is that it offers an educational opportunity for birders of all ages and experience to sharpen their identification skills, both visual and auditory, in a collegial and welcoming environment. Finally, with all sightings entered on eBird, the cumulative record will provide researchers an opportunity to advance bird conservation here in Vermont and beyond.

Marsh walks are scheduled monthly generally on a Thursday or a Saturday. Participants meet at the West Rutland Price Chopper parking area at 7:00 a.m. except during winter months when the gathering time is 8:00 a.m. All walks are free and open to the public. Come join us!

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