Sightings listed for the 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:






Tuesday, June 02, 2015

{BIRD NOTES} ~ June 2, 2015

Bird Notes


Connecticut River at Hinsdale

A CASPIAN TERN, a COMMON TERN, a BRANT, and 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were seen on the Connecticut River in Hinsdale on 5/20.




This was the last trip of the Hinsdale setback series.   39 species were observed.
Migration was clearly over. No obvious transients were seen. Birds were in breeding mode with territorial singing, territorial disputes,courtship behavior, nest building and related activities. Oriole males were in full-throated splendor when not chasing off an intruding male or chasing after a female.


Highlight for me was the Bank Swallow. About 12 birds were involved in aerial courtship display and/or mate disputes. Close views were possible when the birds alit. (See photos)

---Chris Petrak, South Newfane, VT 


Here is the list in taxonomic order:    

25 Canada Goose

1 Mute Swan

1 Great Blue Heron

2 Osprey

1 Bald Eagle

1 Red-tailed Hawk

1 Mourning Dove

16 Chimney Swift

4 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

2 Belted Kingfisher

1 Downy Woodpecker

1 Peregrine Falcon (seen early by photographer)

2 Willow Flycatcher

1 Great Crested Flycatcher

8 Eastern Kingbird

10 Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo (Numerous)

12 Tree Swallow

2 Northern Rough-winged Swallow

12 Bank Swallow

4 Barn Swallow

3 Tufted Titmouse

4 Marsh Wren

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Common)

2 Wood Thrush

American Robin (Numerous)

Grey Catbird (Numerous)

1 Brown Thrasher

1 Black and White Warbler

Common Yellowthroat (Common)

10 American Redstart

Yellow Warbler (Common)

1 Chipping Sparrow

10 Song Sparrow

2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Red-winged Blackbird (Numerous)

8 Common Grackle

12 Baltimore Oriole

5 American Goldfinch


Bank Swallow in flight (above) perched ( below) © Chris Petrak



I am just back from Brazil where there are so many great birds but

I don't have a bird book or a good enough camera. Can someoneID

the dark blue bird? The other might be a Green headed Tanager?

---Marj Wright                                 



















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, May 22, 2015

{BIRD NOTES} ~ May 22, 2015




Bird Notes


Here is a picture of the European Goldfinch which continues to come to my

feeder every day with other American Goldfinch. What a treat!

---Barbara Powers, Manchester Center, VT


European Goldfinch © Barbara Powers




Spring Bird Walk: Saturday, May 23
Experience the spring migration with Southern Vermont Audubon Society. We’ll

meet at 7:30 am in the former Walmart Parking lot off Rt. 119 and proceed from

there to the Parking lot near the Hinsdale Causeway. We will walk along the Fort

Hill Rail Trail, which is flat and accessible for walkers of all capabilities.  We

should see spring migrating birds and nesting Eagles, Ospreys, and possibly

Peregrine Falcons.  This will be our 4th bird walk using the same Fort Hill Rail Trail.

This will be the last of the 5 field trips scheduled for the Rail Trail.


Next bird walk will be on Sunday, June7, “Whip-poor-wills Calling”. Watch for

announcement in future Bird Notes.





Here are the birds we saw at our 4th (of 5) Hinsdale Setback spring bird walks:

(2.5 hours, 9 people, overcast, 50-64 degrees, 50 species)


Species in orange are new this week and have not been seen on previous walks

this spring,

---Susan James,


6 Double-crested Cormorants

2 Great-blue Herons

15 Canada Geese

2 Wood Ducks

2 unidentified flying ducks (probably Mallards)

2 Osprey

1 Peregrine Falcon – (on VY tower by nest box)

1 Spotted Sandpiper

3 Ring-billed Gulls

1 Mourning Dove

1 Kingfisher

1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

1 Northern Flicker

1 Eastern Pewee

4 Willow Flycatchers

6 Least Flycatchers

1 Eastern Phoebe

4 Eastern Kingbirds (1 gathering nesting materials)

LOTS OF Tree Swallows

2 or more Northern Rough-winged Swallows

20 or more Bank Swallows

1 Blue Jay

2 Carolina Wrens

3 Marsh Wrens

2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (actively working on a nest)

2 Veerys

12 or more American Robins

5 Gray Catbirds

2 Cedar Waxwings

6 Warbling Vireos (2 with nests)

2 Yellow-throated Vireos

3 Red-eyed vireos

5 American Redstarts

1 Canada Warbler

6 Yellow-rumped Warblers

1 Chestnut-sided Warbler

8 Black and White Warblers

10 Yellow Warblers (one pair with a nest)

2 Blackpoll Warblers

15 Common Yellowthroats

1 Northern Waterthrush

1 Scarlet Tanager

1 Northern Cardinal

1 Eastern Towhee

2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

2 American Goldfinch

9 Song Sparrows

2 Swamp Sparrows

LOTS OF Red-winged Blackbirds

10 Baltimore Orioles



West Brattleboro Birds, Hawks & a Bear

Bobolinks are back in the fields on Abbott Road. A male Indigo Bunting and a

pair of Catbirds have arrived in our backyard. They are sharing the handsful

of bird seed that I have been scattering beneath the willow and pine trees.

Feeders have been put in storage since the visit by a bear on Sunday night.

The Red-eyed Vireo and Ovenbird have been sounding off for several days.


I watched two large birds walk out the main limb of a locust tree that

stretches out over and high above our driveway. At first I passed them off

as crows since I was seeing them as silhouettes because of the sun’s position.

Then as they walked out further I could see that they were brown backed and

long tailed.  About that time they took off flying. Then I could distinguish the

bars in the tail. Because of their long tails I believed them to be of the Cooper

family. Perhaps a parent with a fledging, that was most likely taking flight training.



Bob-o-link (male)


PLEASE share your birding news and photos with us so we can all enjoy reading about your birds and birding experiences.



Al Merritt


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society: