Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

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




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