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Entries in West Rutland Marsh (61)


west rutland marsh - august monitoring report

No cake and ice cream, but today was a birthday celebration of sorts as Rutland County Audubon kicked off its 15th year of monitoring West Rutland Marsh. As drizzly skies gave way to sun (and more humidity), the birds responded. Fifty-eight species were tallied, our new August high! This is well above last year’s meager 40 and our average of 45.

Marsh birds were still evident, but certainly not as abundant as earlier in the season. Marsh Wrens were chipping loudly near the boardwalk and a few Swamp Sparrows were singing. A single Virginia Rail was noted. Silent flycatchers had to go on the list simply as ‘Empid.’

A small flock of frenzied warblers on Whipple Hollow Road reminded us that migration will soon be in full swing. They included Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pine Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler.

A Tennessee Warbler was seen early in the walk, not far from the boardwalk. Five Yellow Warblers were also seen during the morning, a high number for a species that seems to make itself scarce as breeding season ends.

BobolinkA Scarlet Tanager halfway between gaudy summer attire and drabber fall colors caused consternation until its identity became clear. A Green Heron perched high in a tree with its head held bittern-fashion also caught our attention.

Four Bobolinks, a species not often recorded on the marsh walk, were seen in a field on Pleasant Street.

Our next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, starting at 8 a.m.



Today’s list:

Canada Goose  1
Wood Duck  1
American Black Duck  1
Mallard  4
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  2
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Virginia Rail  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  20
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  8
Belted Kingfisher  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  4
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Empidonax sp.  2
Eastern Phoebe  6
Eastern Kingbird  5
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  8
Blue Jay  7
American Crow  1
Common Raven  3
Barn Swallow  10
Black-capped Chickadee  15
Tufted Titmouse  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Marsh Wren  4
Veery  4
American Robin  4
Gray Catbird  11
Cedar Waxwing  31
Black-and-white Warbler  3
Tennessee Warbler  1
Nashville Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  3
American Redstart  2
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  5
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Pine Warbler  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  9
Swamp Sparrow  6
Scarlet Tanager  1
Northern Cardinal  6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  3
Bobolink  4
Red-winged Blackbird  14
Common Grackle  56
House Finch  1
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  26


west rutland marsh - july monitoring report

Yellow WarblerEach year July marks an important milestone for Rutland County Audubon as it means another full year of monthly monitoring of West Rutland Marsh. And so today completes our 14th year.

148 species have been observed to date – the latest addition was Blackpoll Warbler this past May. It should be noted we have had 1,906 participants (albeit many repeats!) joining in the effort to count the birds. Perhaps as significant, it has brought attention to the marsh and raised awareness of the importance of preserving it.

Today 14 participants tallied 57 species, our highest for the month of July, and one more than counted last year. A Least Bittern, seen and heard frequently this season, was observed by early participants. An American Bittern was seen in flight. A Great Blue Heron was observed as well as four Green Herons, one of which was at close range and was vocalizing.

There is still plenty of evidence of the breeding season – from a young Virginia Rail crossing the road to a Yellow Warbler and a Chestnut-sided Warbler carrying food for young. A Common Yellowthroat gave a distraction display.

looking for warblers along Whipple Hollow RoadFive Red-bellied Woodpeckers, first noted on our marsh walk in December 2014, were observed along with eight Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.

There is still plenty of bird song with Marsh Wrens and Swamp Sparrows the most vocal. A Wood Thrush and a Hermit Thrush were heard in the distance and American Redstarts and Black-and-White Warblers were much in evidence.

Our next walk, kicking off our 15th year, will be held on Saturday, August 15, at 7 a.m.

Today’s list:

Wood Duck  1
Mallard  17
American Bittern  1
Least Bittern  1    
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  4
Virginia Rail  3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  12
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  8
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Willow Flycatcher  2
Least Flycatcher  1
Eastern Phoebe  6
Eastern Kingbird  9
Warbling Vireo  4
Red-eyed Vireo  11
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  4
Common Raven  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Tree Swallow  19
Bank Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  6
Black-capped Chickadee  11
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  6
House Wren  1
Marsh Wren  11
Veery  18
Hermit Thrush  1
Wood Thrush  1
American Robin  15
Gray Catbird  12
European Starling  6
Cedar Waxwing  33
Ovenbird  8
Northern Waterthrush  1
Common Yellowthroat  24
American Redstart  13
Yellow Warbler  7
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Song Sparrow  15
Swamp Sparrow  23
Northern Cardinal  5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Red-winged Blackbird  26
Common Grackle  13
House Finch  3
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  17
House Sparrow  3


west rutland marsh - may monitoring walk

To borrow a phrase from the texting world, OMG applies to today’s walk at West Rutland Marsh. A total of 81 made this our highest species count in almost 14 years of monthly monitoring thanks to the 18 pairs of eyes and ears participating this morning. Sixty-two species were observed in May 2014 and our average for this month of the year is 68.

A Least Bittern, heard, seen and photographed by many birders over the past two weeks, made itself heard when two participants picked up its low chuckling between the boardwalk and the power line. American Bittern was also heard.

A Solitary Sandpiper and a Spotted Sandpiper were taking advantage of the mud flats under the power line (cleared from work on the lines this past winter). Three Virginia Rails were also seen here with two having a bit of a kerfuffle.

A female Wild Turkey was spotted crossing True Blue Road.

Both Alder and Willow flycatchers are back.

Wood Thrush and Hermit Thrush lent their voices to the morning chorus as well as Veery, which is back in full force (and voice!).

Raptors included a Merlin, a Red-tailed Hawk, and high flyover of an Osprey.

Fourteen warbler species made the day with several seen and/or heard mostly along Whipple Hollow Road. They were Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white, Nashville, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, the hard to hear Blackpoll, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green. In addition, getting a good look at a Canada Warbler on Marble Street was a thrill while another was singing on Whipple Hollow.

The real treat of the day was a single Evening Grosbeak in a tree along Whipple Hollow Road, a life bird for a couple participants.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 13, at 7 a.m.

Today’s list:

Canada Goose  12
Wood Duck  3
Mallard  6
Wild Turkey  1
American Bittern  2
Least Bittern  1    
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  4
Osprey  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  7   
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Solitary Sandpiper  1
Wilson's Snipe  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  6
Chimney Swift  2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  3
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Merlin  1
Alder Flycatcher  5
Willow Flycatcher  3
Least Flycatcher  3
Eastern Phoebe  2
Eastern Kingbird  7
Warbling Vireo  11   
Red-eyed Vireo  6
Blue Jay  14
American Crow  10
Common Raven  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  17
Barn Swallow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  1
House Wren  3
Winter Wren  1
Marsh Wren  6
Veery  10
Hermit Thrush  1
Wood Thrush  3
American Robin  7
Gray Catbird  14
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  2
Ovenbird  2
Northern Waterthrush  4
Black-and-white Warbler  5
Nashville Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  15
American Redstart  7
Magnolia Warbler  1
Blackburnian Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  12
Chestnut-sided Warbler  3
Blackpoll Warbler  1
Black-throated Blue Warbler  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Canada Warbler  2
Eastern Towhee  1
Chipping Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  6
Swamp Sparrow  13
White-throated Sparrow  1
Scarlet Tanager  1
Northern Cardinal  2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  4
Red-winged Blackbird  23
Common Grackle  9
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Baltimore Oriole  3
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  13
Evening Grosbeak  1
House Sparrow  3


west rutland marsh - march monitoring report

Winter is not quite ready to release its grip as evidenced at today’s monitoring walk at West Rutland Marsh, our 164th consecutive monthly trip. Seven participants started out at 11 degrees and were facing into a brisk north wind. Nevertheless, 21 species were tallied, one more than last year and one less than our average for March.

Looking back, the records show a wide swing in the number of species that might be seen in the fickle month March. 2009 and 2010 showed species counts of 32 and 31 respectively. With no open water today, the difference is mainly in the number of waterfowl species seen – none today!

Black-capped ChickadeeThe winter birds are still with us. The Northern Shrike that has been lurking along Marble Street was seen just south of the green house. Eight American Tree Sparrows, all near feeders along the route, at least nodded to spring by bursting into song. If you aren't familiar with their song, click here at National Audubon's new online field guide to hear it.

On a brighter note, eight male Red-winged Blackbirds have staked out positions on the cattails out the marsh and were also singing. Are these perhaps members of the small flock that spent the winter in the area huddled over the feeders?

The second half of the route along Whipple Hollow Road was mostly quiet except for two Golden-crowned Kinglets in the hemlocks, two Red-breasted Nuthatches and a single outburst of song by an American Creeper.

American Tree SparrowThe small south-facing depression along Whipple Hollow Road, known for sheltering Mourning Doves in cold windy weather, contained 15 today, all well camouflaged in the brush and fallen leaves. At least they were warm!

Today’s list:

Wild Turkey  23
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Mourning Dove  18
Downy Woodpecker  5
Northern Shrike  1
Blue Jay  8
American Crow  11
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  32
Tufted Titmouse  4
Red-breasted Nuthatch  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Brown Creeper  1    
Golden-crowned Kinglet  2
European Starling  2
American Tree Sparrow  7    
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  9
House Finch  3
American Goldfinch  6
House Sparrow  3


west rutland marsh - february monitoring report

Wild TurkeysDespite the light snow and the temperature at a superfluous one degree, no wind made it an almost pleasant day for the 163rd monthly monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. Six participants tallied 20 species, two fewer than February 2014, but above the average of 18 for this month of the year.

Two of the highlights came from two seasons. The klonk-er-ree of a Red-Winged Blackbird was heard, probably from the small group of blackbirds that have overwintered at the marsh. Hope that spring may actually arrive!

A short while later a Northern Shrike was spotted atop a tree on Pleasant Street while a flock of chickadees below sounded the alarm.

A Common Raven was making popping sounds from one of the power poles that cross the marsh.

Twenty-three Wild Turkeys were taking shelter in a row of evergreens along Whipple Hollow Road.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, March 19.

Today’s list:

Wild Turkey  23
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Mourning Dove  13
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Northern Shrike  1
Blue Jay  17
American Crow  6
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  33
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
American Robin  1
European Starling  19
American Tree Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  10
Northern Cardinal  13
Red-winged Blackbird  1    
House Finch  8
American Goldfinch  7
House Sparrow  9