Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

{BIRD NOTES} ~ November 25, 2015

Bird Notes



Audubon’s 116th CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT will take place for the Brattleboro area on Saturday December 19th.


There will be 25 to 30 people divided into 7 teams that will scour our 15 mile diameter circle and list the species and the numbers of each. At 6:00 p.m. we will all gather at Hollie Bowen’s and Paul Love’s beautiful home at 19 Whipple Street in Brattleboro to compile and talk about all the great birds while enjoying a wonderful pot luck supper. Please join us and bring a dish to share. Even if you didn’t participate this is for ALL members.


If you wish to participate in any manor, please contact our compiler, Bob Engel:



I Just saw a Carolina Wren at my suet today. It loudly announced its arrival. As the feeder is very close to my window I managed to see him very well. He wasn't as dark as the pictures but his tail and eye stripe and his big voice gave me all the clues I needed. First time bird. Anyone else  seen him around? Have a great Thanksgiving. 

---Judy Farley, Vernon by the Miller Farm


A Greater Yellowlegs, a Brant and a Bonaparte Gull were seen at Turners Falls,MA.


An immature Red-tailed Hawk dropped into our yard not 6 feet from where we were standing, then quickly took off again. It was probably chasing a feathered meal. A Fox Sparrow (WITH NO TAIL) has been hanging out with a couple of White-throated Sparrows enjoying the white millet seeds. Also a Carolina Wren has taken a liking to our suet feeder and stops by nearly every day for a snack. A Red- bellied Woodpecker shows up now and then for that same reason. A Sharp-shinned Hawk tried unsuccessfully to grab a perched Slate-colored Junco last Wednesday.

---Barbara Merritt, West B. VT





PLEASE share your birding news and photos with us so we

 can all enjoy reading about your birds and birding




Al Merritt


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society:




Thursday, October 15, 2015

{BIRD NOTES} ~ October 15, 2015

Bird Notes



Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

Saturday, October 10th was a crystal clear, brisk day at Plum Island.  Spent several hours combing the usual spots.  Fairly quiet except for hundreds of Black Ducks, the typical array of gulls--Laughing, Black Backed and Cormorants lining the rocks along the beach area.


Highlights though were, too many to count and everywhere, Greater Yellowlegs; one lone Golden Plover causing quite a commotion among the dozen or so birders with scopes;

one Eurasion Wigeon; and a dozen or so Northern Pintails.  

---Phyllis Benay, Brattleboro, VT



Snow Geese at Dead Creek Viewing Area in Addison

I know a few folks were asking about the arrival of the Snow Geese at
the Dead Creek Goose Viewing station - as of today there were roughly 300
of them, so it would appear that the arrival has begun. As of now the
western end of the Viewing platform still has corn stalks, so you'd only be
able to see the geese on the eastern side where the corn has been cut. You
may also see a glimpse of white from Rte 22A heading south, just past the
intersection of 22A & Rte 17.

Dave Hof and I saw them from Gage Rd, but a scope was required to see them
well & count them. [Gage Rd is located on the right hand side of the
road, about an 1/8th of a mile south of 22A & 17.]

So if you're in the general area I'd start checking weekly to see the
numbers climb. While there we also had the following birds:

 a flock of about 25 American Pipits,
1 Northern Harrier,
1 Eastern Meadowlark,
3 American Kestrels,
lots of Turkey Vultures & Canada Geese,
4 Rock Pigeons,
6 American Crows,
1 Bald Eagle,
2+ Savannah Sparrows,
Song Sparrow(s)
White-throated Sparrow

Despite the strong winds the birding was quite nice (but then when isn't
birding nice?)!

Enjoy birds,
Isis Erb, Burlington, VT



Cooper Attack

Walking in my marsh this morning, I saw a Coopers Hawk swoop down somewhere further along the path.  Stopped along the way to watch one lone Common Yellowthroat and a Marsh Wren, and then found the remnants of the hawk's breakfast. Just the head, some tissue, and feathers remained.  Looks like a catbird, but I thought they were gone.  

---Phyllis Benay



2015--2016 Winter Finch Forecast*

PURPLE FINCH: Many (not all) should migrate south out of Ontario this fall because cone and deciduous tree seed crops are generally low in northern Ontario. Purple Finches winter in numbers in the north only when the majority of tree seed crops are bumper. An easy way to tell Purple Finches from House Finches is by checking the tip of the tail; it is distinctly notched or slightly forked in Purple and squared off in House Finch. Purples prefer sunflower seeds at feeders.


RED CROSSBILL: Expect a scattering of Red Crossbills in the East this winter. 


WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL: This crossbill moves back and forth like a pendulum across the boreal forest looking for bumper spruce cone crops and irrupts south only in years of widespread cone crop failures. It is hoped that White-winged Crossbills will move into the northern New England States and the Adirondack Mountains in New York State where spruce cone crops are very good.


COMMON REDPOLL: Similar to last winter, expect a southward movement because birch seed crops are low to average across the boreal forest. At feeders redpolls prefer nyger seeds served in silo feeders.


PINE SISKIN: They should occur in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the northern New England States, and the Atlantic Provinces which have very good spruce cone crops. Their wheezy calls are the best way to identify siskins flying overhead. At feeders they prefer nyger seeds in silo feeders.


EVENING GROSBEAKS: This spectacular grosbeak should be watched for in the Adirondacks and northern New England. Evening Grosbeaks prefer black oil sunflower seeds.


*Excerpts from Ron Pittaway’s winter finch forecast.



PLEASE share your birding news and photos with us so we

 can all enjoy reading about your birds and birding




Al Merritt


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society:



Thursday, October 08, 2015

{BIRD NOTES ~ Oct.. 8, 2015}

Bird Notes


Pileated Woodpecker

Saw a big one on Meadowbrook Rd. this morning digging out a dead maple tree.


Chipmunk Crossing (10/6)

A late female Ruby-throated Hummingbird stopped by for a real long drink of sugar water. The next day several White-throated Sparrows along with an imm. White-crowned Sparrow were seen scratching the ground beneath the willow bush in the backyard. Later in the day a Common Yellowthroat appeared in the wild grapevine tangle.  A Brown Thrasher spent 2 days on and off scouting the yard around our feeding station.


A Gadwall was seen on the Connecticut River in Hinsdale on October 2nd.


A Cackling Goose and a Greater White-fronted Goose were present at Turners Falls (10/5)




PLEASE share your birding news and photos with us so we

 can all enjoy reading about your birds and birding




Al Merritt


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society:



Monday, September 14, 2015

{BIRD NOTES} ~ September 14, 2015

Bird Notes


Saw a Bald Eagle cruising above the Harris Hill ski jump

---Kevin O’Keefe


West Brattleboro Birds
Early last week (I think Tuesday the 8th). We had a male Ring-necked Pheasant attempt to infiltrate our chicken coop and our free-range Guinea Fowl (Helmeted, I think, but it’s whatever species they sell.). It took off as soon as it saw me, and is not known to have returned.   On Wednesday evening, probably around 7:30, Meg and I went to the Chelsea to buy some AC as the storm was coming in. Shortly east of the Chelsea, we saw a large flock of Common Nighthawks, possibly 2 to 3 dozen. They seemed to be congregating for their trip south.

---Ned Pokras,


Nighthawks Over Westminster

Quite a change from last night with only 77 today bringing the season’s count total to 3341. Wind from the WNW may have pushed them off to the east. It was another fun year but time to move on to hawks & other migrants.
---Don Clark, Grafton, VT




From the Stokes Field Guide To Warblers here's a list of which warblers to be on the look-out for.  Dates refer to the earliest times these birds may move, when the first birds start to migrate south, obviously there is overlap in their migration.

Early (Migration Begins before 8/1)

Cerulean Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Prairie Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler

Middle (Migration Begins between 8/1 and 8/20)
American Redstart
Black-and-white Warbler
Blackburn Nan Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Canada Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Northern Parula
Northern Waterthrush
Prothonotary Warbler
Swainson's Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-throated Warbler

Late (Migration Begins after 8/20)
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Connecticut Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler



Hawks are flying!   LOOK UP!!!


PLEASE share your birding news and photos with us so we

 can all enjoy reading about your birds and birding




Al Merritt


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society:



Monday, August 10, 2015

{BIRD NOTES} ~ August 10, 2015

Bird Notes



I recently saw a male Scarlet Tanager by Mann Road in Wilmington and another just off VT 100 in Wardsboro later in the week.  I didn't realize there was an effort to locate whip-poor-wills so had not reported that in June I heard a Whip-poor-will here in west Wardsboro one evening only.  Had not heard one since the 1950s so was too excited to remember to share.  Went on for quite a while as they do, but then heard no more.

---Jeremy Schrauf, West Wardsboro 


I saw a female Common Merganser with 7 young ones on the West River. They went down the side, under the covered bridge in Dummerston then spread out to fish in the deeper water downstream.

---Kevin O’Keefe


Red-shouldered Hawks at Home

Meanwhile back at Chipmunk Crossing, a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks were busy with their two youngsters. Our niece and nephew were visiting us and they could hear the squeaks and squawks of the hawks high in the tallest tree of the pine grove that is at the edge of our yard and parking area.  My hearing is terrible and couldn’t hear the bird talk. They must be nesting there because each day after that Barb’s keen hearing picked up the daily chatter. One morning we arose and looked out the window to find the two immatures jumping around in the grass and playfully tossing a flattened road kill (Squirrel or whatever) . We wondered if they had fallen out of their nest but soon had the answer when they both took to the air and flew down the hill above the driveway.

          The following morning the twins were sunning themselves and plucking downy feathers from their breast as they perched on the highest dead branch of a cottonwood tree at the top of our side hill. That turned out to be their favorite spot and we observed them several times sitting in the sun preening.  We caught a glimpse of them a couple of times circling overhead with one of the parents. Part of their flight training we were sure. Now they have left us and are probably still getting instructions from Mom and Pop preparing them for that long fall migration.


The swallows are starting to gather on the wires along Abbott Road.. We counted 16 Barn Swallows and 2 CLIFF SWALLOWS. (We have never seen Cliff Swallows there)


We often stop and check out Ray’s Pond along Abbott Road in W. Brattleboro.  It is a tranquil little body of water, very shallow and shady without too much bird activity, though we have had on occasion Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Green-wing Teal, Common Merganser with young and Lesser Yellow Legs. The last stop we made there produced a family of 4 Otters playing as only Otters can do. Heads up, heads down, bellies up, hind ends up, rolling upside down etc. etc.  It was so much fun to watch as they chased after each other across the placid water. They are so full of energy.


On July 22 we had a small group of birds show up in and over our yard:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (F)

Yellow-throated Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Empidonax Flycatcher (It never called)



Common Yellowthroat (M)

Bay-breasted or Blackpoll Warbler??? (Hard to identify in Fall plumage)

Indigo Bunting (M & F)

White-breasted Nuthatch (M & F)

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker (2 males)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (M & F)

Cardinal (M & F)

Black and White Warbler (M & F)

Black-capped Chickadee (several)

Blue Jay (5)

Mourning Dove (4)

Tufted Titmouse (2)

Turkey Vulture


Song Sparrow (imm.)

Red-shouldered Hawk (2 imm and a parent bird)

Tree Swallow


Last but not least, by a long shot, has been the sudden appearance of a large Black Bear that sauntered into the yard late one morning. It was slowly walking with nose slightly tilted upward as if sniffing for food. That proved to be true because it walked directly to a spot beneath the willow bush where we sparingly sprinkle a few seeds on a small piece of plywood for our local, common bird species. It licked the board clean and left the yard. Today a different smaller bear stopped by with nose in the air, but turned and left almost immediately when its sniffing did not pick up any food scent because the cupboard was bare.  This is the first time in the 30+ years that we have lived here that we have encountered a Black Bear in our yard during the months of July and August.


Baltimore Oriole © Dan Mosheim

PLEASE share your birding news and photos with us so we

 can all enjoy reading about your birds and birding




Al Merritt


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society:


Friday, June 19, 2015

{BIRD NOTES} ~ June 17, 2015

Bird Notes


On May 28 my friend had this Great Egret visit her pond in Manchester Village.

She said it stayed for the picture but then flew off towards Dorset, Vermont.

---Barbara Powers, Manchester Center 



Great Egret © Kimet Hand


  Immature Pied-billed Grebe


Another baby that's fun to see is Pied Billed Grebes. They look like they

have prison garb on. I have seen them a few years ago at Dead Creek.
---Barbara Powers


 Black Vultures


A BLACK VULTURE was seen along the Connecticut River in Hinsdale on June

9th. There was another sighting of possibly the same bird in Walpole on the

10th. (These are file photos)


A male INDIGO BUNTING shows up in our willow bush frequently. 

It is believed to be nesting somewhere across the street near Ames Brook.

A pair of Catbirds are also nesting nearby. They love to bathe in our little

improvised bird bath, made from a tractor hubcap. We watched them taking

turns splashing and fluttering their wings and then come back for seconds.

We have never known Catbirds that loved to bathe as much as these two.



Discovering Lake Hitchcock ~ Monday June 22 @ 6p.m.

This geology field trip with Roger Haydock will examine the history of

the last 12,000 years in the West River Valley. We will look at evidence

of glacial Lake Hitchcock in abandoned river channels, terraces,and beach.

Meet at the Dummerston Covered Bridge on Rt. 30. (Rain date ~ June 23)


PLEASE share your birding news and photos with us so we

 can all enjoy reading about your birds and birding



Al Merritt

Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society: