Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Saturday, January 27, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] January 28, 2007


Bird Notes



Yikes a Shrike!

Richard Foye called me this morning(1/25) to report the sighting of a NORTHERN SHRIKE at the Brattleboro Retreat Meadows. Three days previously he had a sighting which he thought was the shrike, but the bird flew off while he was getting his binoculars. I saw the shrike about 4pm this afternoon, about the same time of day when Richard had previously sighted it and in the same general location. The shrike was perched in a tree just beyond the reeds and near the north end of the third cove from Rte 30. Easiest access is across the ice. Richard and I found the bird on each of these three recent occasions while ice skating. 

     A Northern Shrike was also reported on the marina side of the Brattleboro Retreat, along the West River, during the week prior to the Brattleboro Christmas Count and on the day of the count, 12/15. 

---Chris Petrak, S. Newfane, VT



White Jay

Today I received an e-mail from someone in Stratton with a photo of an albino or leucistic* Blue Jay. When enlarging the photo, resolution and detail was lost, but it is definitely a very white jay against the white snow. ---Chris Petrak, South Newfane, VT


*LEUCISM (LOO-sizm). Abnormal paleness in the plumage of a bird resulting from the “dilution” of normal pigmentation. It is also called “imperfect albinism” and, like true albinism, may in some cases be related to abnormal diet causing them to appear “washed out”.




Whetstone Shoveler

A Northern Shoveler is keeping company with several Mallard Ducks at the confluence of the Whetstone Brook and the Connecticut River in downtown Brattleboro. It can easily be seen from the West end of the bridge to Hinsdale. ---Whitney Nichols, Brattleboro, VT




Rufous Hummer Caught in the Cold

I'd like to thank everyone for caring so much about Ilsa, the Northport hummer, and for all the advice given concerning her well-being during this frigid spell.  She is at the feeder as I write this.  I do not know where she spends the evening; but there is enough thick cover surrounding my house where she can roost.  Concerning her feeding; one procedure I have been following is using a food warming tray under the feeder until I'm sure that the sun can keep it from freezing.  Of course, this means getting up at dawn (she's an early riser) and setting up everything .  I take the feeders in at night.  I'll probably keep the deck light on tonight, hoping that she'll find it and somehow keep warm.  Since you all care so much, I'll keep posting daily.  Ain't birding fun! ---Norm Klein, Northport, NY


January 26, 2007--Ilsa is at her feeders on this coldest morning of the year.  She is Ilsa and not just any vagrant selasphorus rufus one night stand.  After all, she has been here since November 26, and I believe that we have a meaningful relationship, and I can call her by her first name.  She really is a cheap date; only a little sugar water, and then, oh yeh!   (A little fact: sugar water freezes at 27degrees farenheit. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)  Anyway, she is still coming to the feeders at 21 Woodhull Place, Northport, NY.  All birders and hummerphiliacs are welcome.   

    It is with scary anticipation that I keep posting these updates knowing that one day I might have to post a final message.  But she's at her feeders today.  "So, here's looking at you, kid." ---Norm




Largest Flying Bird Known

A recently discovered species of prehistoric Condor in the genus TERATORNIS had a wingspan of 25 feet and is thought to have weighed about 175 pounds. Wow! Imagine that one coming to your bird feeder.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT




Please keep us abreast of what birds you are seeing, whether at home or on a trip in or out of the Windham County area.


BIRD NOTE archives:


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website:





Friday, January 19, 2007

FW: [BIRD NOTES] January 19, 2007


Bird Notes


Hola from Mexico!

Gerry (James), Hollie (Bowen) and Paul (Love), and I are in Mexico for the week.  Yesterday we got fabulous looks at a very rare HARPY EAGLE, which has been recently reintroduced to the adjoining National Park.

---Susan James, Guilford




The feeders have been busy the last several days.


    Goldfinch - 25+

    Junco    - 15+

    Chickadee - 7+

    Titmouse - 2

    Bluejay - 2

    White-breasted Nuthatch - 1

    Purple Finch - 2


Noticeable by their absence are woodpeckers.  I saw a Hairy at the suet on Sunday, but haven't seen him since and not a single Downy has shown up.  Very unusual. ---Molly Martin, Marlboro, VT     



John James Audubon

The program at the library on Tuesday drew a sizable crowd and no one was disappointed. The splendid lithographs from Audubon’s The Birds of America was ably presented by our own Doug Wilson with the cooperation of Jerry Carbone of the Brattleboro Library.

     The worth of this collection is unfathomable, so extreme care was taken with each book by having white gloved page turners stationed at tables along the walls of the conference room to leaf through the pages for the onlookers.


It was truly a once in a lifetime peek at the works of the greatest of American naturalists, John James Audubon.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT






Please keep us abreast of what birds you are seeing, whether at home or on a trip in or out of the Windham County area.


BIRD NOTE archives:


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website:




Tuesday, January 16, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] January 16, 2007


Bird Notes


Up on the hill behind the cabin there were some Snowshoe Hare footprints in the light dusting of snow a week ago - then the brown and green landscape re-appeared and while walking the dogs I saw the stark white hare hopping away into the woods.  Luckily the dogs were looking the other way! Do hope that it made it to this next dusting of snow we just had, but it is difficult to adapt to this winter. 

     Bruce saw what he believed could have been a Ruby-crowned Kinglet on the suet. There were lots of Juncos, a few Goldfinches, Chickadees, Bluejays, a Raven or two, a pair of Cardinals, Hairy and Downys, Red- and White- breasted Nuthatches.

---Barbara Cole, Wilmington



I live northwest of Boston. Today at least 6 Robins showed up over the little creek outside my apartment.  We also have about 7 Goldfinches, 5 Bluejays maybe 20 Starlings and 17 Mourning Doves.  These birds seem to have a definite time and pecking order, they show up just before 8am and take turns poking around the 7 squirrel nests being maintained by our three squirrels.  These squirrels add to their nests between 8am @ 8:15 am & then chase each other.  We have seen 2 young Turkeys walk through the parking lot.  Also, now and then 2 Red-tailed Hawks, I thought I heard an Osprey yesterday but the clouds were too low to be sure.  We are not that far from the Charles River and a good deal of open woods.

--Doreen Pugh, Waltham, MA



Birding at the Power Canal (1/13)

Snow Goose – 2 (1 adult, 1 juvenile).
Canada Goose – 1500+
Richardson’s Cackling Goose – 1

Barrow’s Goldeneye – 1 female.
Green-winged Teal – 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull – 1 (2nd cycle).
Nelson’s Gull – 1 (first-winter).

---James Smith, Amherst, MA



This afternoon(1/14)in the rain at the Turners Falls Power Canal, from 16:00-17:00, I managed to find 2 of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls reported earlier in the week by James Smith. (1 adult, 1,3rd W) No white winged gulls. Also of note were 2 adult Snow Geese and 8 Common Mergansers.

---Mark Taylor,Northfield, MA



Vernon and Environs (1/13)

Canada Geese (75 in “V” flyover)

Mallards (5 at Peck Pond)

Mourning Dove (27 on Peck Rd.)

Mockingbird (Peck Rd.)

Hooded Merganser (m&f at Fort Dummer setback)




Puppy Dog Grouse

In Chris Petrak’s Tailfeathers column he tells of strange behaviors of the Ruffed Grouse. It reminds me of an incident that took place in Brookline at a friends house. Their young, pre-school daughter was playing in the yard pushing a doll carriage as kids do. When her mother looked out the window to check on her, she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw a Ruffed Grouse walking behind her daughter and following her around the yard. This went on for minutes. When her daughter stopped so did the grouse. When the little girl speeded up her pace the grouse half flew to keep up then flew off into the woods. This was not a fluke thing that happened, because for several days the grouse came out of the woods to “play” in the yard with the youngster, following after her like a puppy dog. Later on, it was discovered that her feathered playmate had youngsters of its own, and the meetings stopped and they went on their way doing whatever it is that Ruffed Grouse do.



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT




Thursday, January 11, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] January 11, 2007



Bird Notes



Today (1/10) at the Retreat Meadows

On the marina side I had 1 EASTERN PHOEBE. The bird was moving around along the far side of the field, near the newly forming pond. I was alerted to the bird first by its chirps, and then I watched it for about 2 minutes before I lost track of it.  There was also 1 Ring-necked Duck that I saw from the Rt. 30 vantage point.  Good birding. ---Taj Schottland, Putney, VT



Turners Falls Power Canal

Seen in Turners Falls at the power canal and Barton Cove were 25 COMMON GOLDENEYES, a female BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, 2 RING-NECKED DUCKS, a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, and a RUBY CROWNED KINGLET.



More Ivory-billed Woodpecker Sightings in Florida

No pictures yet, but they are getting closer with more and more sightings. Click on this link for the latest information:




~~~~~  P  R  O  G  R  A  M  ~~~~~


John James Audubon’s

Birds of America


Tuesday, January 16 at 7:00 p.m.


Brooks Memorial Library Conference Room

Main Street, Brattleboro, VT


The Brooks Memorial Library has an outstanding collection of prints by John James Audubon.  The complete eight volume original Octavo Edition of Audubon’s Birds of America published by George Lockwood in 1870 will be shown and discussed.  The presentation will be by Doug Wilson, a well known naturalist who has a particular interest in Audubon’s famous prints. 


Audubon’s two volume, Quadrupeds of North America, and an original Audubon painting will also be shown.  Doug Wilson will discuss the background and creation of these works, which represent Audubon’s unusual artistic talent, scientific expertise, and innovative and complex printing techniques.  This program is a joint collaboration between Brooks Memorial Library and Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society.  It is free and open to the public.


Don’t miss this once in a lifetime chance to view this priceless collection of Audubon prints.



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT




Sunday, January 07, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] January 6, 2007


Bird Notes


Betsy and Ross

The first two eagles to be hacked in Massachusetts were Betsy and Ross. Ross ended up sticking around the Quabbin Reservoir for years after his release. Betsy splashed into the reservoir on her first flight and after being fished out of the drink by the state biologists, she immediately headed back to Michigan, never to return. ---Trudy Tynan, South Hadley, MA



Super Saturday in Gloucester, MA

I would give my eye teeth for a day like the one Bill Drummond et al had today in Gloucester. Read on . . .


On a record high temperature day, our group all had great looks at the King Eider near the Elks Lodge on Atlantic, the Eared Grebe at Niles Beach, the drake Barrow's Goldeneye near the lighthouse at Eastern Point, the Purple Sandpipers on Dog Bar Breakwater close and in perfect light, and the Dovekie very close at Andrew's Point. We had Iceland, Glaucous, and Black-headed Gulls at the state pier but we could not find the Common Gull that was reported earlier in the week. Nevertheless, there were lots of birds and lots of birders!  It was a day for the ages! Good birding, everyone!

---Bill Drummond, North Andover, MA




W. Brattleboro Birds, Jan. 1st.

Canada Geese (flyovers)

Red-tailed Hawk

Mourning Dove

Rock Pigeon

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker (heard)

Blue Jay

Am. Crow



Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Am. Robin (heard)

N. Cardinal (m&f)

Dark-eyed Junco





The 10th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held February 16-19, 2007. It is open to everyone. No need to register, and no fee required.


Before you count, go to for easy-to-follow instructions and local checklists.


Count the birds in your backyard, park, or refuge—anywhere! For each kind of bird write down the highest number you see at any one time during your count (Don’t add a bird every time you see one at your feeder: you could be counting the same individuals many times.)

     Take part on one, two, three, or four days. Watch the birds for as long as possible (15 minutes or more) each day.


Report your results online. Go back to the GBBC website and complete an online checklist, and report your sightings electronically.


View your results! You can see lists and maps online, continually updated throughout the count. See how you and your town fit into the picture.






Vermont Public Television premiers the TV special: Birding In Vermont. Naturalist Bryan Pfeiffer will be the on-screen tour guide to some of the state’s most familiar birds and some of the rarest. Date and time and more information will be forthcoming in a future Bird Notes.



Please keep us abreast of what birds you are seeing via e-mail, whether at home or on a trip, in or out of the Windham County area.



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT