Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Friday, February 23, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] February 21, 2007




Bird Notes



I have a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Carolina Wren, which are enjoyable to see at the feeders. The group that came here for the Christmas Bird Count, did get to see the red-bellied woodpecker.

---Steve Medved, Putney, VT



Last Thursday I had a total of 3 Rough-legged Hawks along I91 between White River Junction and Putney. I had another 2 yesterday in pretty much the same area. ---Hector Galbraith, Dummerston



Right this minute, Sunday morning at 10:00, there's a Cooper's Hawk just outside the kitchen window, tearing apart some hapless bird!  I took a digital picture of it, but don't have a zoom lens, so it's rather small.  There are feathers everywhere, but I can't distinguish the type yet--I'll walk out later. . . . . .

     Forty-five minutes later, I'm inclined to think it's a Sharp-shinned.  I checked with Sibley's, and the head is smaller and the breast streaks more buff-colored.  Anyway, it's still there--must have a tummy-full by now!

---Jean Pett, W. Brattleboro, VT



More W. Brattleboro Birds

Since the snowstorm, the numbers of birds and species have increased at everyone’s feeders. Here at Chipmunk Crossing we have the following to report:


Tree Sparrow 1

Dark-eyed Junco 30

Blue Jay 2

Tufted Titmouse 2

White-breasted Nuthatch 1

Black-capped Chickadee 9

Cardinal 2


Mourning Dove 12

Hairy Woodpecker 1

Downy Woodpecker 2

Wild Turkey 1

Crow 5

Goldfinch 1

House Sparrow 1

Red-tailed Hawk 1


Robin 4

Cedar Waxwing 8


Keep a close eye on your feeders and you may pick out something different that has been forced to seek other than normal food sources. This morning I watched a Carolina Wren going in and out of the wood pile probably in search of insects and spiders.



Birds of W. Northfield, MA

The farm fields along Caldwell Road are in the process of being manured and the Horned Larks and Snow Buntings are there. We estimated about 60 Horned Larks and 6 Snow Buntings on our drive through on Tuesday, 2/20. We also came across a group of 5 Song Sparrows feeding roadside.



Vernon Birds

Along the roadside on Scott Road we stumbled onto a lone Snow Bunting. Peck Road gave us good looks at a flock of 20 Cedar Waxwings (no Bohemians), also a group of about 20 Robins that were taking turns getting a drink from the open water running from the pond and a Mockingbird that was beside itself trying to defend its cache of rose hips from these marauders. At the Vernon P.O. we watched a flyover by another group of Robins heading in the direction of the river.


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.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


BIRD NOTE archives:


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website:


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

[BIRD NOTES ] February 14, 2007

Bird Notes

A single Evening Grosbeak at our feeder in Marlboro about 7:45 a.m.(2/13). First seen in several years.

---Molly Martin, Marlboro, VT



I am 99% sure (after confirming with Richard Foye)that I saw 2 flocks of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS this past Sunday(2/4).  One flock at the Long Trail parking area on the Kelley Stand Road in Stratton, and the other farther in towards Stratton Pond.  It was nice to see these neighbors from the north down here on a cold winter's day. ---Jeff Nugent, Brattleboro, VT



Since I have never seen this before I shall report it, though it may not be unusual.  I am referring to the fact that on two days last week I had a Northern Flicker on my suet feeder.  It stabbed at it for about fifteen minutes each time.

 ---John Kristensen, Guilford, VT



Thank you to Rhonda in NY state for the wonderful Red-shouldered Hawk story.

     We have a Carolina Wren at our feeders and a few Goldfinches.  The wrens appear here in Guilford every few months.

---Susan James, Guilford, VT



The numbers are diminishing, but the Cedar Waxwings are still coming to the ornamental crabapple on Greenleaf Street.



P  R  O  G  R  A  M


Baxter State Park and Katahdin

Tuesday, February 20 at 7 p.m.

in the Brooks Memorial Library Meeting Room

Mark Mikolas and Bill Guenther will present a talk and slide show on Maine's Baxter State Park. This park, more than 200,000 acres in size, is uniquely managed according to the wishes of its benefactor, Percival Baxter, who stipulated that it "Shall forever be kept and remain in the Natural Wild State." Katahdin is the highest point in Maine, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and home to the formidable hiking challenge known as the "knife edge."

Southeastern Vermont Audubon Programs are free and open to the public.



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.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



BIRD NOTE archives:


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website:



Sunday, February 04, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] February 4, 2007


Bird Notes



Stash and Hoot

Yesterday (2/3) we had a Red-bellied Woodpecker under our feeders - a first for us. It was a beautiful female adult. She would repeatedly get a seed from the ground and fly a few feet into a nearby tree. It looked like she may have been pushing the seeds under bark and into joints of small branches.  I couldn't see well enough to be sure she was stashing, or shelling and eating and using the tree as a vise. If she returns I'll use the telescope to get a better view. Do woodpeckers stash food?


On the night of 2/1 a Great Horned Owl called - second time I heard a GH in the last month.


P.S. The Birder's Handbook says that Red-bellied Woodpeckers do hoard food. ---Susan James, Guilford, VT



Barton Cove (2/2/07)

Two mature Bald Eagles standing on the ice, feeding on a Mallard carcass.



Turners Falls Power Canal(2/2)

Common Goldeneye (26)

Mute Swan (13)

Ring-necked Duck (3)

Mallards (multiple)

Canada Geese (100s)

Common Merganser (1)

Great Black-backed Gull (17)



W. Brattleboro(2/2)

Golden-crowned Kinglet (2m & 2f)

Cedar Waxwing (16)



Winkin’ and Blinkin’

On January 29th at about 1:30 in the morning I was looking out the window of our front door toward the road in hopes of catching a glimpse of a very noisy automobile/truck that had been frequenting our road in the wee hours, racing its engine and speeding past the house. As I stood there staring into the darkness I thought that I saw a tiny light blink out of the corner of my eye. Was it the reflection of a house light? Couldn’t be . . . the house was in complete darkness. I gazed in that direction again and sure enough a tiny sparkle of light came from the main beam along the front roof of our porch. My God, I thought, it can’t be a lightning bug it’s the end of January and 14 degrees. I waited. In about 20 seconds it flashed again this time it was closer and appeared to be hovering about 3 feet from my nose which by this time was pressed against the pane. It is a firefly! I watched not believing my eyes. How could this be? It continued with its flashing every 20 seconds, occasionally returning to its spot on the beam then back to its hovering position in the middle of the porch. I called to Barb and said “you’re not going to believe this but there is a firefly blinking on our porch”. She was not about to leave the warmth of her bed to see my “find”, so the next night she checked it out herself and saw exactly the same ritual that I had witnessed. Seven days later this strange little bug is still making its nightly appearance in the same location on our front porch.

     Has anyone out there heard of or witnessed such a behavior in the winter? By the way, the noisy auto has never returned.



Whooping Cranes Lost in Florida Storm

We regretfully announce the loss of the 18 juvenile Whooping Cranes at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. The cranes died as a result of the storms that swept through central Florida during the evening and early morning of February 1 and 2.

     While this is a setback for the Whooping crane reintroduction project, WCEP has faced challenges in the past and we plan to move forward with our effort to return this highly imperiled species to its historic range in eastern North America.  ---Bruce Flewelling



Vermont Public TV Birding Special

Vermont and its birds star in a new Vermont Public Television special called “Birding in Vermont that will premiere Wednesday, March 7, at 8 p.m. on VPT. Broadcasts are also scheduled for Saturday, March 10, at noon; Sunday, March 11, at 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.; and Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. Bryan Pfeiffer is the on-camera guide who shows where, when and how to find birds. He is a photographer and consulting naturalist and co-author of a guide to finding birds in Vermont.

     The program features some of the state’s most familiar birds and some of the rarest. Bryan leads viewers to top birding spots, throughout the course of a year, from backyard feeders, to a remote bog, to the state’s highest peak. He explains the tools of the trade and offers tips to make birdwatching enjoyable for people at every level of experience.



Groundhog Lacks Shadow

Punxsutawney Phil's lack of a shadow on Friday morning predicted that spring will come early this year.



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.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT




Friday, February 02, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] February 1, 2007




Bird Notes


Today(1/29) there was a tree full of Cedar Waxwings eating the apples on the tree at Hayes Court (in West Brattleboro). ---Mary Miller, Vernon, VT



I get the regular ten species in my yard and at the feeder, with an occasional red-breasted nuthatch.  The other day, though, three wild turkeys wandered around the front of the house (Orchard Street).  I put out corn hoping for their return, but picked up four crows instead. Lots of goldfinches.

   An addition for the morning of the 31st: a handsome Red-bellied Woodpecker at the suet.  I think that's a first in my yard. ---Jean Pett, W. Brattleboro, VT



Winter Grassland Raptors & Owls

Vic and I went over to the Fort Edward Grasslands just south of Fort Edward, NY yesterday(1/28).  The highlights were Northern Harriers (difficult to count but at least 8 - 10 and probably more) and Rough-legged Hawks (at least 6 - 8) seen hunting over a relatively small sized grassy field.  Most of the Northern Harriers I saw were either first year or females, but there were two adult males (gray ghosts).  What a beautiful bird!   The Rough-legged Hawks were mostly light morph, although a dark morph has been reported there.  It was a great opportunity to observe two very different hunting techniques! 

   At dusk, we moved from the hawk show to the owl show! Again it was difficult to count the number because there were so many and they were hunting, but there were at least 8 - 10 Short-eared Owls that just seemed to magically appear over another grassy field not far from where the hawks had been hunting.  We watched one catch something dark and furry and fly off with it! 

   I was really amazed at the concentration of bird activity in such a small area.  We did see many more Northern Harriers as we drove around, as well as a few Red-tails, and a Kestrel.  It was bitterly cold and snowing lightly (had been sunny when we left Brattleboro), but there was no hiking involved and all of the birding could easily be done from the warmth of the car.  It is about a two hour trip from Brattleboro, and I would be happy to supply directions if anybody is interested.  You can also check the postings for the Hudson-Mohawk area on the internet. 

   The Fox Sparrow was under the feeder again today (1/29).  ---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro, VT


A Touch of Blue

Yesterday (Sunday 1/28) early afternoon a Bluebird flew across the road as I was driving down the Guilford Center Road near the Evans Farm.  About 15 minutes later I was heading home and a bluebird flew across the road in the opposite direction, so it may very well have been the same bird going back.  ---Carol Schnabel, Guilford, VT


A Barred Owl was singing in Guilford the night of 1/5 and the next night a Great Horned Owl sang.  On 1/12 we had about 50 Cowbirds show up under our feeders and we haven't seen them since then.  We had 25 Goldfinches on Saturday and haven't seen them again. ---Susan James, Guilford, VT


Birding on E. Long Island

Jan. 26-27:  Superb birding over the weekend at the eastern tip of Long Island.  If anyone ventures there this winter, don't miss checking Lake Montauk, along both East and West Roads, and the coast of Napeague Bay.

Some highlights:


    common loon (by the    score)

    red-throated loon

    horned grebe

    canvasback (a raft)

    greater scaup

    common eider

    long-tailed duck

    white-winged scoter

    surf scoter

    black scoter

    common goldeneye

    Barrow's goldeneye


    red-breasted merganser

    ruddy duck


    ruddy turnstone


    gannet (half a dozen or          more in flight)



And these are only the highlights!  It was quite a birding weekend.---Molly Martin & Michael King, Marlboro, VT 



Birding West B. to Vernon

There is an ornamental crabapple tree loaded with fruit across the street from the Jewish Synagogue on Greenleaf Street. Over the years it has been the most likely spot to find Cedar Waxwings and the more rare Bohemian Waxwing on occasion. Yesterday we counted 61 Cedar Waxwings gorging themselves on the fruit in the tree and on the ground.


As we passed Paul and Mary Miller’s house at Tyler Hill Rd. in Vernon we stopped to examine a Red-tailed Hawk that was sitting in a tree in their yard.  At Vernon Dam we counted 17 Common Mergansers and a pair of Hooded Mergansers. At a stop along Rt.142 where we had a good view of the eagle’s nest, we watched a 2nd year Bald Eagle standing in the nest and tearing into a tasty morsel.  On Pond Rd. we added another Red-tail perched in a tree along the road.

   A drive through the cornfield on Riverside Drive produced 68 Mourning Doves, a dozen or more Robins feeding on clusters of Sumac berries, and well over a hundred Mallards in a fly-over headed south over the river.  We stopped back at the eagle’s nest and found that the 2nd year eagle had left and a mature Bald Eagle was perched on a limb to the right and above the nest.  Our 3rd and last Red-tailed Hawk flew across the road in front of us near Puffer’s Setback on Vernon Road.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT