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Entries in West Rutland Marsh (67)

Friday
May042018

West Rutland Marsh - April 2018

American BitternClear blue skies and sunshine greeted the 35 participants for the West Rutland Marsh walk on April 21. The birds were as happy as the birders with the promising spring-like day. The feeders by the boardwalk were still busy with chickadees and American tree sparrows. Out on the boardwalk swamp sparrows were singing and seen as they proclaimed their territories. A Virginia rail was heard but remained hidden in the cattails. Red-winged blackbirds sang their rusty hinge sounding song and some displayed their red epaulets.

Notable were several raptor species overhead. No doubt glad for a day for hunting after so many gloomy ones.

As we proceeded around the route both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets were seen flitting among tree branches seeking a meal. The unseasonably cool weather has made insects hard to find for some of our early migrants. The importance of the marsh with insects rising from the waters make it a haven for these birds.

Swamp SparrowOne sharp-eyed observer found a chickadee excavating a nest hole in a broken stub of a rotten tree.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker was observed attending the wells it had drilled, while other woodpecker species were heard drumming. A winter wren, only 4 inches long, joyously sang its complicated song and a yellow-rumped warbler was seen high in the treetops. A total of 40 species was tallied for the morning. Our next walk takes place May 12th at 7:00 a.m. Many returning migrants should be present!

The list:

 

Canada Goose  11
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  4
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  7
Northern Harrier  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Wilson's Snipe  1
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  6
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  2
Common Raven  2
Tree Swallow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  13
Tufted Titmouse  1
Winter Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  7
American Robin  17
European Starling  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
American Tree Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  13
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  18
Swamp Sparrow  6
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  14
Common Grackle  12
American Goldfinch  17

 

 

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