Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ 1.16.08


Bird Notes




The Bird Notes was great today!  Thanks again.  We saw a PILEATED WOODPECKER behind our neighbors house (The Farley's) this morning. 

---Mary Miller, Vernon


I just wanted report that we presently have a pair of BLUEBIRDS looking over our bird houses. I do not think that they are ready to settle in, but they at least are around. They were here several weeks ago as well. 

---Paul Miller, Vernon


I found a dead BARRED OWL beside the road. It had been hit that morning by a car.

---Judy Farley, Vernon




I spotted 1 BOHEMIAN WAXWING in a tree with about 80 other waxwings just past the Common on Putney Rd. in Bratt. I've been checking flocks of waxwings since I spotted 2 Bohemian in a flock of 60 on Nov. 19, 2007, but have come up empty until yesterday. As far as I know there have been no other postings of Bohemians in Windham County (????). Also on Putney Rd.

were 2 WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and a MOCKINGBIRD. At the Retreat Meadows a N. SHRIKE was sitting on a tree top on an island behind the water treatment plant. Other birds at the Meadows included a RED-TAILED HAWK, 7 COMMON




2 RAVENS along interstate 91 in Guilford, VT., ~30 HORNED LARKS on Caldwell Rd just south of Vernon, and a BARRED OWL perched on a low tree branch along Rte. 142 in Vernon. The PINE GROSBEAKS have been around Bratt. all week, but the flocks of redpolls have been noticeably absent since Wednesday.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro



Al -- I looked back over my Bird Notes from past years and didn't see much reference to PINE GROSBEAKS. Am I right in thinking that this year's flood of the birds is unusual?  If so, does anyone have an explanation as to why?  ---Anne Wheelock


Anne -- Yes, it was an unusual year for that species that is normally found north of the border. In looking back at the last decade of Christmas Bird Counts, there is only one other report listed and that was in 2001. The food crop in Canada was almost non-existent this year and reports had it that huge flocks of Pine Grosbeaks were piling up and becoming an irruptive species in our bordering states where the food supply has been extremely plentiful. Their preferred choice has been the fruit of the ornamental crabapple. Locally the favorite trees have been those around C&S Wholesalers, the Thompson House in back of the hospital, and behind the West Brattleboro Post Office. Though there have been multiple sightings in various locations throughout town. This may be the only chance for seeing them in our area. Possibly, for another ten years. So, I would suggest you take advantage of the opportunity. They are truly a striking species with males pink to red and the females an iridescent green/gold.



*  *  *


In 1934 the first LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (a European Species) was recorded in North America.  As late as the 1970's it was a "rare bird" and much sought after.  By 1990 it had bred in western Greenland.  Last year it successfully bred in MAINE!  This first record resulted in a hybrid with a Herring Gull, but was successful in fledging a chick.  With birds wintering in North America in the thousands now, more breeding is bound to occur.  I doubt it will be long before more, bonified pairs, remain to breed in the northeast. 

---John Haas, Yankee Lake, NY



Jeff Nugent reported seeing a cormorant, which he believed was a DOUBLE-CRESTED, from his Office window that overlooks the river. It was swimming, diving and then standing on the ice with wings outstretched (in its drying the feathers position). An unusual sighting at this time of year.


A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.


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, January 13, 2008

Bird Notes ~ 1.13.08


Bird Notes



I finally got a photo of the BARRED OWL that's been hanging around the feeders looking for squirrels. (See attachment)

---Ian Martin, Lost Mile Rd., Newfane



Today I came out of Staples and saw a mad MOCKINGBIRD at the top of an oak tree at the edge of the parking lot.  Sitting about 8 feet away in the same tree was a NORTHERN SHRIKE seemingly unbothered by the Mockingbird. I watched for about 10 minutes and the Shrike flew off. Earlier in the week a huge flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS began coming to an apple tree in the yard which still has lots of apples. One day there were 4 species of birds eating apples at the same time: CEDAR WAXWINGS, ROBINS, STARLINGS, and 2 gorgeous PINE GROSBEAKS. This has been a super bird week.

---Susan James, Guilford



I saw the PINE GROSBEAKS at my house on Look RoadWilmington last week and also at the old Whitney Farm on Higley Hill Road, Marlboro about 3 weeks ago. Every day there are approximately 50 COMMON REDPOLLS at my feeders.
---Gail Look, Wilmington



A NORTHERN SHRIKE perched in various treetops around our house today most of the morning until mid-afternoon. It made a couple dives into our forsythia bushes for tree sparrows but came up empty. PINE GROSBEAKS have been very noticeable this week throughout Brattleboro and W. Brattleboro. I've seen several flocks of between 8-26 birds. Today, in W. Bratt., there was a flock of 18 pine grosbeaks feeding in the same cluster of trees as a flock of 100+ CEDAR WAXWINGS, 5 BLUEBIRDS, and 2 ROBINS. We also had a lone EVENING GROSBEAK vocalizing at the top of a larch pine on 1/1. As of 1/1, we've had daily visits from COMMON REDPOLLS. Earlier in the week the flocks were in the 40-60 range; the last three days the flock size increased to ~ 100 around our house. A male RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues to visit our trees and suet.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro



A large flock of 75-80 CEDAR WAXWINGS were very flighty between the heliport at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and The Thompson House as they fed on the fruit of the crabapple trees. With them were 27 PINE GROSBEAKS equally as nervous but determined to get their share.


Hollie Bowen reports seeing a BARRED OWL sitting on a “Wrong Way” sign on the Exit 9 ramp on Interstate 91.




Peck’s Road:

  Horned Lark (24)


Scott Road:



Pond Road:




Blogett Road

  Cedar Waxwing (70)



Vernon Dam

  Hooded Merganser (3M, 3F)

  Common Merganser (M)



West Northfield, MA

Caldwell Road

  Horned Lark (23)




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, January 09, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ 12.29.07


Bird Notes


I stopped down river road off 142 in Northfield, MA yesterday and found a flock of about 30 HORNED LARKS and here in Putney, I have a flock of about 30 REDPOLLS along with all of our other feeder C&S on the corner of Old Ferry Road in Brattleboro, a hundred CEDAR WAXWINGS and several PINE GROSBEAKS in the fruit trees just inside the front entrance.

---Marilyn Tillinghast, Putney



For three days we had several male and female pine grosbeaks eating the berries on our crabapple tree right outside our picture window.  Lovely - haven't seen them before, and we've lived here more than eight years.

---Judy Myrick, West Brattleboro



For those Vermont birders who are interested in gulls: there are two SLATY-BACKS at Cape Ann, Mass. Today (12/25), Taj Schotland and I had one, possibly two of them at Gloucester, together with a DOVEKIE, a TOWNSHENDS SOLITAIRE, about 50 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, several KUMLEINS and GLAUCOUS GULLS, plus all the usual HARLEQUINS, KITTIWAKES, RAZORBILLS, etc. For more details on the slaty-backs go to Massbirds website. Well worth the trip across.

---Hector Galbraith PhD



Friday morning, W. Brattleboro-10 PINE GROSBEAKS and 4 EVENING GROSBEAKS flocking about and a flock of ~30 CEDAR WAXWINGS. Brattleboro, Upper Dummerston Rd area- 6 BLUEBIRDS, 1 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 3 PINE GROSBEAKS, 2 REDPOLLS hanging out with 4 HOUSE FINCHES and 4 GOLDFINCHES.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro



There are 30-40 COMMON REDPOLLS coming to the feeders of Carol Schnable on Green River Road in Guilford. While driving on Hinesburg Road this morning we came across a small flock of Pine Grosbeaks feeding in the right lane of the road. They were probably picking up grit.



About the Brattleboro CBC

We always look forward to the Christmas Bird Count as the last big event of the year. It is always a fun time for being with friends, and pursuing our hobby of birdwatching. This, believe it or not, was the 45th participation in the CBC for Barb and I.

  We arrived in Vermont in 1979 and soon after became involved. We didn’t know many birders back then but the late Louise Mullen was the local naturalist that wrote an article on nature and birds in particular, for the Brattleboro Reformer. At the time she was working for John Kristensen’s Law Office that was located on Grove Street. It was in one of the meeting rooms there that we met after a day in the field, to talk over the sightings for the day and to tabulate the count. I can’t recall just who all attended, but I do remember Louise, John, Al Watson, Doug Wilson and Whit Nichols. It was a small group in comparison to the way we do it today. Back then our repast consisted of hot tea/coffee and cookies. Wouldn’t you know that I would remember the food part of it. It wasn’t long before we started hosting a pot luck supper for the event. Then it spread to others in the group as it became more popular.  The last several years Hollie Bowen and Paul Love have been the gracious hosts.

  This year on the 15th of December we had 26 people making up seven teams in the field. Temperatures varied from 9 degrees in the morning to 18 degrees in the afternoon. Wind was NW 0-5, with 8” of snow on the ground. Rivers, streams and ponds were mostly frozen. Skies were partly cloudy.

  The area covered is the usual 15 mile diameter circle with its center off Sunset Lake Road near Rt9. To give you an idea of the area, it is Marlboro to the west, Newfane to the north, Chesterfield, NH to the east, and Green River to the south. We also had several people doing feeder counts that came up with 450 individuals. These were added to the sum of the field birds for a grand total of 3,380 individuals.

  The number of species counted was 56 including 8 species seen during the count week. Two new species were added: YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and AMERICAN WOODCOCK. This brings the CBC cumulative total to 101 species.


Happy New Year!



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


BIRD NOTE archives:


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website:






Monday, January 07, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ Jan. 3, 2008


Bird Notes



At my feeders, I have just the every year winter visitors, with none of the unusual birds that many have been seeing. However, my "every year" visitors always seems to include just one, as far as I can tell, CAROLINA WREN.

---Steve Medved, Putney



Sunday morning a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER made a brief stop on our willow tree. Seven PINE GROSBEAKS were feeding in the tops of some maple trees. About 25 CEDAR WAXWINGS also made an appearance.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro



Here are a few bird observations made over the Holidays at Lost Mile Rd, Newfane:

12/27 – BARRED OWL perched above the feeders.

  Hunting squirrels? Flew off after 1 hr.
12/26 - 2 COMMON REDPOLLS at feeder. 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS flew through   the meadow below the house. TREE SPARROWS at feeder. PILEATED WOODPECKER working a cavity into the old beech in the front yard.
12/23 - Solitary SNOW BUNTING perched on the deck.
12/21 - 15+/- COMMON REDPOLLS at feeder

These observations along with the feeder regulars – black-capped chickadees, titmice, white-breasted nuthatch, downy and hairy woodpeckers, and blue jays. The red-breasted nuthatches have been absent since November.

--–Ian Martin



It's always the timing isn't it. I caught a waxwing concentration in the trees surrounding the Nissen outlet, in front of C&S, and behind the Red Roof Inn today, primarily from noon to one. There were well over a thousand CEDAR WAXWINGS. Of the 400 or so closest to me I found only two BOHEMIANS. I confirmed at least 12 PINE GROSBEAKS.

---Paul Miksis, Brattleboro



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: