Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Monday, September 11, 2006

August 27

Juvenile Antics

Some molting Jays at the feeders are looking weird with bald heads or crests
that look buzz-cut. And any number of molting sparrows have no tails or only
one or two tail feathers. Looks strange.

I watched a juvenile Chipping Sparrow try to beg from a young Song Sparrow
yesterday - the blind leading the blind. Also a couple of young Cardinals
have just been cut loose from parental care and are feeding themselves.
---Chris Petrak, S. Newfane

Flying Geese

While working in the yard on Friday morning we heard, then saw, a small
flock of Canada Geese fly low over the house evidently heading for the farm
fields to our west. Judy Myrick heard them too and was in touch to tell us
of their calling overhead on Greenleaf Street.

Nighthawk Migration is Underway

On Thursday, Meg and I were in Shelburne Falls, MA, in the late afternoon,
and saw well over a dozen Common Nighthawks hunting over the water.
And this afternoon (Sat., 8/26), at around 4:20 PM, we saw two of them
flying over our field, heading approximately south.
---Ned Pokras and Meg Kluge, W. Brattleboro

If at First You Don't Succeed . . .

Kittery's African heron has caused quite a stir in New England. We first
found out about it a week ago Friday from a birding blog sight on the
internet. A few weeks previous this same species (maybe the same bird) was
discovered in Nova Scotia and at that time read up on it and decided that
traveling to Nova Scotia to see it, was out of the question. But, when it
showed up in Kittery a mere 3 hour drive would be more within striking
range. So, at noon on Friday we headed that way and were disappointed after
several hours of searching. By chance we met Chris and Nissa Petrak there
having a late lunch. They had missed it too and were staying the night and
would try for the bird again the next morning.
On Saturday we received a call from them telling us of their success in
locating the wandering heron. We knew then that we were going to return for
a second try. So, on Monday morning we were more determined than ever to
find this African delight. We were on the road by 4:45 a.m. and arrived at
Kittery Point about 7. The fishing piers were already lined with birders.
Spotting scopes of every size and description were pointed to the east where
the bird had just been feeding. But, as luck would have it, it had just
flown out of sight about 5 minutes before our arrival.
Our reasoning was that since the tide was coming in it would be
returning to the higher ground of Fisherman's Island. Meanwhile a young man
drove up to tell the throng that he had spotted it about 8 tenths of a mile
down route 103 off of Chauncey Road. The exodus started immediately. We
arrived with the first wave and got a good spot for viewing on a small
lobster pier. In no time we found the heron with some Great Blues and Snowy
Egrets, feeding along the shore. It sported yellow feet like the Snowys but
was a very dark colored bird. The only white showing was a throat patch.
When we finally looked up from the scope we discovered two familiar faces
nearby. Don and Lillian Stokes, of Field Guide and TV fame, had infiltrated
the group and were as happy as the rest of us to have such good looks at a
species that had only been reported once before in the United States.
Western Reef Herons are quite common in Europe, where they have been
known to interbreed with Little Egrets and produce hybrid young. This
suggests that, though separated from the rest of its species the bird may
live a long life in North America, where it could migrate with the seasons
and maybe pair up with other North American herons.

Al Merritt
W. Brattleboro, VT


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