Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Friday, December 29, 2006

FW: [BIRD NOTES] December 29, 2006





Bird Notes



What Happened to Hibernation?

UGH!!!   The bears are not sleeping!!! Our feeders were emptied last night - although not destroyed, but my suet feeder is missing!!??? This critter left a big long scrape in the garden below the feeder with a couple of other big scratch marks further away. In come the feeders. "My" Downy was totally mystified about the loss of his ready breakfast! Give me some of that CO snow!!!!! ---Ruth Stewart, E. Dorset, VT



Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

A nearly all white Red-Tail is hanging out in Dorset Hollow on the lower Hollow Road near Knee Top Farm. Thought it would interest you all. (Still in area on 12/27)---Barbara Powers



Yellow-throated Warbler Still There

For those that may be interested in crossing the Big Water this weekend, the Yellow-throated Warbler was sighted again yesterday at Ausable Point State Campground. The bird can be found quite reliably within a small band of Chickadees and Nuthatches that roam throughout the center of the campground. If it is windy, stick closer to the more concentrated cedars, otherwise try to find patches of sun. Once the band is located, they should be fairly easy to follow.

---Dana C.Rohleder,Port Kent, NY


2006 Rarities


It was an exciting year in New England for avian rarities. We managed to see a few of them to boost our meager life list.


On February 8th we drove south to Suffield, Mass. where we got to observe two Pink-footed Geese. This species breeds in Greenland and Iceland and are winter inhabitants of the British Isles. So a 1½  hour drive down I 91 was well worth the trip.


On March 21st we sought out, and found the Greater White-fronted Goose that was hanging out in the Connecticut River just north of Herrick’s Cove at Roundies Cove. They breed in Greenland and N. Russia and winter in Ireland and Scotland. So, it was great to be able to add it to our Vermont sightings.


April 23rd found us near Amherst, Mass. checking out a White-tailed Hawk. This is a southern species that should not have been north of the Texas border and caused quite a controversy as to its reason for being here.


A Western Reef Heron at first report, had showed up in Nova Scotia. Then on August 19th one had been sighted and verified by Maine birders in Kittery. This was a once in a lifetime chance to add this bird to our list without having to travel to Africa. However it was a no-show on the 20th so we had to go back for a second try the following morning. YES! We had great looks on the 2nd try.



In September word spread of the Northern Wheatear that was discovered on the causeway in Colchester, VT. So, on September 10th we were off and running at 5:30 in the morning. Following directions given by other birders it was exactly where they said it would be. We were able to study the bird for several minutes as it sat on a marble slab at the edge of the path that leads out into Lake Champlain. We were just in time too, because the next day it departed for an unknown destination. The name tells you he shouldn’t be here. Its range is Alaska, Canada, and Eurasia. It migrates to Africa and India.


Hopeully 2007 will be as generous with its rare offerings. Good Luck and Good Birding!


Best Wishes for a Healthy and

Happy New Year!


Al & Barbara Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT




Friday, December 22, 2006

[BIRD NOTES] December 22, 2006



Bird Notes



How Many Did You Know?

Last time I asked you to match up the bird names with the description in the left column.

     For instance:

15. Bouquet of      Pheasants



 1.Cast of          Herons

 2.Charm of         Swallows

 3.Chattering of    Woodpeckers

 4.Congregation of  Plovers

 5.Descent of       Sparrows

 6.Dule of          Hawks

 7.Exaltation of    Owls

 8.Fall of          Teal

 9.Flight of        Doves

10.Host of          Ducks

11.Paddling of      Finches

12.Parliament of    Larks

13.Siege of         Starlings

14.Spring of        Woodcocks




 1.Cast of         Hawks      

 2.Charm of        Finches      

 3.Chattering of   Starlings  

 4.Congregation of Plovers

 5.Descent of      Woodpeckers    

 6.Dule of         Doves       

 7.Exaltation of   Larks  

 8.Fall of         Woodcocks       

 9.Flight of       Swallows     

10.Host of         Sparrows       

11.Paddling of     Ducks    

12.Parliament of   Owls 

13.Siege of        Herons      

14.Spring of       Teal     


         From: “Birder’s Dictionary”

         by Randall T. Cox,

         Falcon Publishing, Inc. 1996



Notes from Turners Falls Power Canal

I spent from 15:00-16:00 hrs. waiting for roosting Canada Geese to drop in at Turners Falls power canal area. Two hundred geese did come in late but no Cackler. Seven Snow Geese did though, with two white juveniles, one dark-morph juvenile, and four white adults. Female BARROW’S GOLDENEYE continues here. Made a 'last light' check of Barton's Cove and immediately found the(a) CACKLING GOOSE in relatively close to shore. This bird seemed to be closely associating with, what I thought looked like, an intermediate Richardson's type goose in Sibley (tried to get some digital images but too dark). Worth keeping a close watch on this region.

---Mark Taylor, Northfield, MA



Brattleboro Christmas Bird Count

We had 51 species, 4,000+ birds, plus four new count area species: Ring-neck Duck, Mute Swan, Saw-whet Owl, Swamp Sparrow


The complete nine year totals are available now on the SVAS website for those who like to compare.

---Chris Petrak, South Newfane, VT



Reindeer: The Truth Behind the Legend

Are Santa’s team of reindeer all females? This is an interesting article about Rudolf and his cohorts.



Merry Christmas

As Christmas comes, soft and still,

May the spirit of love gently fill

Your heart and home with love and goodwill.

Peace on Earth.




Al & Barb Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


Monday, December 18, 2006

[BIRD NOTES] December 15, 2006

Bird Notes



Dec 10 there was an Otter sliding into a hole in the thin ice of the beaver dam on the south side of Route 9 in Marlboro opposite Church Hollow Road.  It was a nice otter tail and I would say it was a youngster. I have had some Goldfinches, both Red- and White-breasted Nuthatches, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Bluejays, Chickadees, Juncos, a pair of Cardinals, and one Titmouse. Last week there was a flock of Turkeys up Larson Road and quite a few Moose on our hill.  There is also a nice flock of Turkeys across from the Shell station in Wilmington but not much else.

  ---Barbara Cole, Wilmington, VT



How Many Do You Know?

Match up the bird names with the description in the left column.

For instance:

15.Bouquet of      Pheasants


 1.Cast of          Herons

 2.Charm of         Swallows

 3.Chattering of    Woodpeckers

 4.Congregation of  Plovers

 5.Descent of       Sparrows

 6.Dule of          Hawks

 7.Exaltation of    Owls

 8.Fall of          Teal

 9.Flight of        Doves

10.Host of          Ducks

11.Paddling of      Finches

12.Parliament of    Larks

13.Siege of         Starlings

14.Spring of        Woodcocks


(Answers next time.)





The female Barrows Goldeneye continues at the power canal in Turners Falls. It is accompanied by a couple of Common Goldeneye females that give the viewer good comparisons to the head size and shape, and the bill color.



Nutritious Golden Rod

Two Golden-crowned Kinglets were enjoying the seeds of the Golden Rod in the field across the street from us. Earlier in the day I had watched Dark-eyed Juncos doing the same thing not too far from our feeders that were full of seed. Natural food seems to be the food of choice.




Yesterday on our hillside, a Coopers Hawk made a kill of an unsuspecting Mourning Dove as it flattened itself in the grass. It was probably frozen with fright.



Brattleboro Christmas Bird Count

Tomorrow is the day for Southeastern Vermont Audubon volunteers to participate in the 107th annual Christmas Bird Count. It lasts for a 24 hour period starting at midnight tonight and lasting until midnight tomorrow night. With all water supplies open it may produce record numbers of waterfowl and may even add a never before recorded species or two. Species seen 3 days before and 3 days after the count day can be counted as species seen during the count week. Check your feeders often and let us know of anything unusual. We will take hooting owls too.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT

Sunday, December 10, 2006

[BIRD NOTES] Dec. 11, 2006


Bird Notes


News from Plum Island and Salisbury Beach, MA

It’s always fun to know what is being seen at these birding hot spots. The following is the latest account submitted by Jim Fenton of Haverhill, MA.


Early this morning at Plum Island I had two Short Eared Owls at lot two. This afternoon I had two just south of lot one along with a number of Harriers, one of which was an adult male. In addition, an American Bittern flew in just as the sun was dropping below the horizon.


Early in the morning I had a great experience at the Wardens. I was driving north and some motion along the west side of the road caught my eye. The light was low and I got out of the car staring through the brush, when all of a sudden, three Otter youngsters came bounding up onto the road, literally running circles around me as they chased one another playing. A moment later, both adults popped up as well and made some strange little yelping noises as they ran across the street towards the east side of the road with the three youngsters following. I'm glad the light was low as they were so close I never would have gotten photos and it was fun just experiencing their frolicking.


At Salisbury I found three male Kestrels (strangely close together with all three visible at once) and one beautiful male Merlin in the campground. Typically when I see the merlins there they are either actively hunting or feeding, but this particular bird was not. A male Peregrine made a swing through the campsites and perched just briefly on the very tops of one of the trees in there and then disappeared out over the marsh. There were several Harriers and again, there was an adult male. This is the first time I've seen an adult male there this year.


Common Eiders were numerous on the river along with one pair of Goldeneyes and several Red-breasted Mergansers at the boat ramp. Two shorebirds were present; a Black- bellied Plover and one Dunlin. Even though I was freezing my butt off, they didn't look the least bit bothered as they fed along side a couple of Black-backed Gulls to the right of the boat ramp.




S  I  G  H  T  I  N  G  S


Retreat Meadows (12/7)

Common Merganser     51

Hooded Merganser     9

Ring-billed Gull     4




Confluence of Whetstone Brook & Connecticut River

Someone is feeding the waterfowl and the numbers of Mallards, Blacks and Canada Geese are increasing. There were also several Common Mergansers near the island.



Chipmunk Crossing




Watch for Oddities

The Christmas Bird Count on December 16, is fast approaching and the weather this week is predicted to be a bit warmer. (If you can call the 40s warm.) Sounds like a good opportunity for those with assigned areas to scout them out. When along the river or the Retreat Meadows, check out the gulls carefully. It’s time for the “white wings” to be showing up. Then too, look over those Chickadees carefully that are coming to your feeders. It would not be too far fetched to get a Boreal Chickadee with the regulars.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

FW: [BIRD NOTES] Dec. 6, 2006

Bird Notes


The first Snowy Owl of the season has been reported on Panton Rd. just west of Vergennes, VT (12/3). There are no details but it is encouraging to local birders since several have been reported already throughout New England. While at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, CT, they have netted and banded a Calliope Hummingbird in the butterfly garden there (12/3). In Falmouth, MA a Bells Vireo is dominating the headlines. However for my part I think the best of all was the Yellow Rail that was reported and photographed in Scituate, MA. I would give up a handful of life birds to see that one. They are so secretive and as scarce as hen’s teeth.


YELLOW RAIL                            ©John Galluzzo



The Cersosimo set-back is still producing Ring-necked Ducks, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers and 100s of Canada Geese.



Our feeder birds have been a bit slow, but after that dusting of snow and 20s temperature, things picked up a bit today. Juncos, Blue Jays, Hairy & Downy Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmice, B-C Chickadees, Cardinal(m&f), Mourning Doves, White-breasted Nuthatches, Tree Sparrows, Goldfinch and opportunistic Crows.



The following article has given us hope that maybe the rain forest can be preserved.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - A swath of Amazon rain forest the size of Alabama was placed under government protection Monday in a region infamous for violent conflicts among loggers, ranchers and environmentalists. Known as the Guayana Shield, the 57,915-square-mile area contains more than 25 percent of the world’s remaining humid tropical forests and the largest remaining unpolluted fresh water reserves in the American tropics. Read more:


Please keep us posted on the activity at your feeders so we can share and compare.


Remember Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941