Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Sunday, June 10, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] June 10, 2007


Bird Notes


Black Vulture at Retreat Meadows

Our attention was drawn to the sky above the Retreat Meadow boat launch when we stopped to take a look on Tuesday 6/5. We counted 18 Vultures circling over the water to our right. But, wait a minute one of them was clearly smaller, lacked the dihedral to the wings and had a much shorter squared-off tail. I think we have a Black Vulture I said as we both scrambled out of the car. One by one they were sailing in and disappearing from view behind the trees that line the shore to our right. We walked to waters edge and got a better look at their roost in a leafless tall tree. The bird in question was sitting by itself in a nearby white pine on a limb void of foliage. We could clearly see the dark head and legs that set it apart from the red head and legs of the many TVs in the nearby tree.


If you see vultures circling, look them over closely. Black Vultures are slightly smaller, and have broad wings and a stubby tail. They flap more, and have silver/white tips to their primaries. In flight they do not have the dihedral to the wings that the Turkey Vultures have.




VBBA atop Mt. Snow

This morning I had one of my most delightful times atlassing for the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. With Richard Foye, I drove to the top of Mt. Snow (with permission/arrangment with the ski area, on their service road) to cover the "inaccessible" areas of the Mt. Snow block. With frost on the ground and freezing hands, we watched the sun rise and listened to the birds as they awakened:


Bicknell's Thrush (at least four singing males), Blackpoll Warbler, Swainson's Thrush, Winter Wren, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler (carrying nesting material), Chipping Sparrow (sounding like juncos), Dark-eyed Junco (sounding like juncos), Purple Finch (including flight display and flight songs), Common Raven, American Robin, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pine Siskin, Red Crossbill (possible possible).

  On the way up and down the road we had: Wild Turkey, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, American Crow, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Common Grackle, Blackburnian Warbler, Gray Catbird, Song Sparrow, Blue-headed Vireo, (and probably some more that I can't remember).

  ... and in the valley, there were: Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Killdeer (with young), and Canada Goose (with young).  This was between 5:00 am and 8:00 am. Not a bad way to start a day!  ---Chris Petrak, South Newfane, VT



P  R  O  G  R  A  M

Tuesday, June 19


Backpacking in Alaska

Ned Pokras will take us on the trail around Anchorage and Denali National Park in Alaska.   He will present a talk and slides showing glaciers, wildlife, and stunning scenery in some of the last true wilderness areas in North America.  This program will be held on June 19th at 7pm in the meeting room of Brattleboro’s Brooks Memorial Library.  It is sponsored by Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society and is 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



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Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website:





Monday, June 04, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] June 3, 2007


Bird Notes


A Rare Song

This morning (6/3) on the way to the farm at 4:20 a.m., I heard a WHIP-POOR-WILL singing.  First time in several years.

---Paul Miller, Vernon, VT


Granddaddy Thrush

We mist-netted the granddaddy Bicknell's Thrush of all time, a male that we originally banded as a yearling in 1997 and have caught every year since with the exception of 2003.  Assuming that this bird has annually wintered in the Dominican Republic or Haiti, we conservatively estimate that he has traveled 40,000 miles during his southbound and northward migrations!

---Chris Rimmer, VINS


Hoodies Confirmed

I was atlasing today in the Peru Block #4 and found a female hooded merganser and 9 little babies. They were swimming on the pond just off of Lovers Lane in Peru. Very, very cute!! 

---Barbara Powers, Manchester Center, VT


Retreat Meadows

Yesterday, May 31, we checked the West River from Marina Road to see if the mid-river sandbar was drawing any interest from shorebirds. The water level had dropped somewhat and using our binoculars we could see some “peep” scurrying around on the bar. After setting up our scope we looked down the barrel and found 3 Least Sandpipers and 2 Semipalmated Plovers feeding on the sandy bar. There were also 3 Spotted Sandpipers. One of them was a very aggressive male strutting after the other two with neck stretched up and head held high. A Belted Kingfisher was sitting on a piece of dead tree branch that was sticking up out of the water’s edge, watching the show.


Today, June 1, we checked the bar again. The water level had dropped considerably and was showing a sandbar twice the size with lots of mud. The numbers had increased to 10 Least Sandpipers and 3 Semipalmated Plovers, but the Spotted Sandpipers had disappeared. Suddenly we looked down into the river from our vantage point on Marina Rd. and saw a COMMON LOON swimming by. It was still in its winter plumage which really surprised us. It made its way effortlessly swimming, and diving and surfacing in the direction of the Connecticut River. Several canoes were making their way in its direction. When they got too close the loon dived and apparently swam under them toward the Memorial Bridge and the river beyond. We didn’t see it again.

---Barbara Merritt, W. Brattleboro, VT



Common Loon Continues

The Common Loon in winter plumage was still out on the Retreat Meadows yesterday afternoon(6/2), along with a Yellowlegs(not sure if it was a Greater or Lesser).  Also a Domestic Muscovy Duck on the Connecticut River by the Hinsdale Bridge.

---Chistopher Trammel, Brattleboro



Bear Facts


To avoid bear encounters we remove our feeders every night.  However, a few days ago, there was a bear at my feeder (just feet from the kitchen window) in broad daylight. He returned twice more that day, despite being chased away and the feeder removed.    Having worked with black and grizzly and bears in Montana, I have witnessed many sad endings for habituated bears.  Once habituated, which can happen after even one association of humans with food, it's the bear that usually looses:  today's habituated bear is tomorrow's dead bear.    So, although I hate to do it, especially after seeing an indigo bunting for the first time at my feeder the day before the bear arrived, we have stopped putting out our bird feeders all together while the bears are out of hibernation.

---Rosalind Yanishevsky,(Near Guilford on MA-VT border)



Because of bear problems in the past, I reluctantly took down my bird feeders early this spring except for a battered platform feeder that's hard for me to unscrew from its base.  It was not hard for a bear.  About two weeks ago, I found the feeder on the ground more battered than before but still recognizable.  The bear has been back several times since to check the ground around the feeder poles.  So far, the padlocked wooden box that holds three large garbage cans and is now bolted to the house has been spared. 

--Molly Martin – Marlboro, VT 



We had a huge bear around earlier and of course had brought in the feeders, but we were quite impressed with the almost 9X7 footprints in the snow.  He, I assume, came running up from Route 9 and immediately climbed a big pine below the ring and just hung out for about half an hour on the first whorl of branches. It did not look too comfortable as one hind leg was dangling down most of the time.  Then he circled around the field, crossed the road and came right in back of the house.  I was looking out the woodshed door - it had gotten dark  and he was barely ten feet away -  he did his little charge and snort bit and I hightailed it into the house. He then wandered over to the area where the feeders had been, exploring the ground for spilled seeds.  Think he came back once more in the following week but hasn't bothered since. 


Over the years - we have been here 47 - there have been a few bears around. Nice to know they are there but good for each to keep our distances.

---Barbara Cole, Wilmington, 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.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



BIRD NOTE archives:


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website: