Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bird Notes ~ March 19, 2008

Bird Notes



The following report was submitted by Dave Johnson, West Brattleboro:



I observed a pair of GREEN-WINGED TEAL just above the Vernon Dam.



Late this afternoon(3/14) I observed 10 WOOD DUCKS (7 drakes) drifting down the West River on the Marina side in Brattleboro. Also, there were 4 PINTAILS (3 drakes) present along with C. MERGANSERS, HOODIES, BLACK DUCKS, MALLARDS, and C. GEESE.

  This morning there was a flock of 42 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS next to our house in W. Bratt., and about a mile down the road a flock of 25 CEDAR WAXWINGS with a couple of Bohemians mixed in were perched by the road. The Bohemians have been in W. Brattleboro for a week now. The pine grosbeaks appear to have moved on.



Marina side of West River in Bratt.


1 mature BALD EAGLE


Along Rt 142 to Vernon:

1 N. SHRIKE across from Cersosimo Railway Center Several C. GRACKLES and 15 CEDAR WAXWINGS

A pair of RED-TAILED HAWKS in a tree at Broadbrook

7 AMERICAN WIDGEONS above Vernon Dam

Caldwell Rd., W. Northfield, MA, just south of Vernon ~30 SNOW BUNTINGS with ~60 HORNED LARKS in the manured fields



Tuesday marked the 12th day of BOHEMIAN bliss. Over this period of time the flocks in W. Brattleboro have ranged from ~40 to yesterday's 230-240. I have not been spotting any cedar waxwings within these flocks, but have observed separate small flocks of between 10-30 cedars in the same general area. The waxwings are feeding mostly on bittersweet.



S. Newfane Owl

A BARRED OWL has been a regular visitor to our feeder this winter, and we wanted to send you this photo taken from our living room window. (See attachment)

---Linda Aldrich and David Miller, South Newfane, VT



Vernon (3/16)

Kestrel (at corner of Gov. Hunt and Rt. 142)

Red-tailed Hawk (a pair on Pond Rd.)

Bluebird (1 on Pond Rd. and 1 in Paul Miller’s yard)

Canada Geese (Several skeins flying north)



West Northfield, MA (3/16)

Horned Lark  10

Red-tailed Hawk

Robin   25

Cardinal M&F

Cedar Waxwing  5

Bluebird  M

Canada Geese (many Vs heading north)



Turkey Trot

We have two groups of Turkeys visiting us at Chipmunk Crossing. There are ten in each group that consist of a few jakes with their harem of hens. When they first started coming it was one big group, but as spring approaches the Toms start feeling their oats and gather up their hens. We couldn’t afford feeding them mixed seed as they were gobbling (no pun intended) it up like crazy. So 100 lbs. later they were switched to cracked corn. Which seems to satisfy them just fine and we see them twice a day.


Yesterday I watched as a crow landed near them to partake in the bounty. One of the hens immediately ran toward it and it flew to the top of a snow bank. The hen followed with neck outstretched and feathers ruffled. The crow retreated and flew up to a low tree branch, again the hen followed and the crow flew up higher to another tree and voiced its displeasure. The chase stopped there and the hen returned to eating the corn. The crow became very vociferous but soon flew off from its lofty perch.



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:





Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bird Notes ~ March 14, 2008

Bird Notes


During a quick trip today(3/13) over the border to a shopping plaza in Keene, NH, I saw my first NORTHERN SHRIKE. It was singing way up in a tree. Fortunately I had taken my camera along and so got some pictures; also, in the same area I got photos of a RUSTY BLACKBIRD in dark breeding plumage. In addition I saw two first TURKEY VULTURES cruising through the air. It was a good trip!

I posted some photos here:

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



A BOREAL CHICKADEE has been visiting bird feeders at a home on the Newfane/Wardsboro town line regularly this winter. It comes with a flock of Black-capped Chickadees, usually several times a day. I was able to visit the home owners this morning. After waiting about ten minutes, the Boreal Chickadee made several visits to the suet feeder and a couple of quick trips to the seed feeder.

     It is rarely reported as far south as Windham County. The last report that I know of was during Christmas Count week (3rd week in December) in 2000 when a Boreal Chickadee made a very brief visit to a feeder in Brattleboro.

Photos are at: Tails of Birding -

---Chris Petrak, South Newfane, VT



One day this week there was a COMMON REDPOLL singing and singing on top of an apple tree, and 100 feet away two BLUEBIRDS were warbling to each other.  It was fun to be serenaded by both  winter and spring. Thank you to Mary Miller for the wonderful photo of a Magellan Woodpecker

---Susan James, Guilford 



There was a lone KILLDEER resting on the snow in a field across from the Brattleboro C.C. Tuesday morning,3/4. It hung around for about an hour before taking off.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro






There were 9 N. Pintails at the Retreat Meadows in Brattleboro today.

---Don Clark, Grafton



Yesterday I took my dog for a run on the West River path by the Marina but did not stay too long because of an icy northwesterly wind. The river was open in place but no birds anywhere in sight, not even crows nor yet any red-winged blackbirds.

     However at my feeder, which hangs in a sheltered and sunny area, I found in addition to the usual flock of mourning doves and resident downy woodpeckers a female red-winged blackbird picking up fallen seeds underneath - surprisingly colorful in fresh, not yet worn away, plumage. There was also a brightly colored male house finch, first singing loudly and sweetly from the top of a nearby tree, and then visiting the feeder. Today a red-bellied woodpecker came by.


I posted photos at

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT




I have just been watching a large (35-40) flock of mostly BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS from my kitchen window.  They are flying around the treetops along the Whetstone (Brook).

     Last Friday while snowshoeing at Pauchaug Brook in Northfield, MA, I was surprised to hear, and then see, a BELTED KINGFISHER along the brook.  There were several WOOD and BLACK DUCK pairs, as well as the usual MALLARDS.  A pair of RED-TAILED HAWKS circled overhead, while a single (!) RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD called from the swamp.  I am sure that by now he is no longer alone! 

     On our way home, we walked along the east side of the West River and watched an adult BALD EAGLE cruise by and land in a tall pine at the southeast end of the Retreat Meadows. 

     The other interesting sighting was a leucistic ROBIN in with a large flock of Robins in my backyard yesterday.  Because of its strange markings, I did my best to make it into a Fieldfare, but with no success!! 

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro



We had our first flock of approx 15 male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS in our yard on Sunday, March 9 (sorry for the late report).

     I didn't have much time to sit and watch today(3/12), but about 3:00 this afternoon I saw 3 RW's, 2 GRACKLES, 2 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, several JUNCOS, 1 male and 1 female (appear to be first-year) CARDINALS out under the feeders and 1 TURKEY VULTURE circling over our backyard.  Finally, spring signs...

---Laurie Miner, W. Brattleboro



Marina Road at Retreat Meadow


Common Merganser (2)

Hooded Merganser (3)

Red-winged Blackbird

Canada Geese (12)



Common Merganser (2M, 2F)

Hooded Merganser (4M, 5F)



Red-winged Blackbird (8)

Downy Woodpecker



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:



Saturday, March 08, 2008

Bird Notes ~ March 8, 2008

Bird Notes


Watch for these Migrants the Week of March 9

Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Kestrel, Killdeer, Robin, Northern Pintail, American Widgeon, Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebird, Grackle, Rusty Blackbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Cowbird and Song Sparrow.



Spring is Near

The weather has been less than satisfactory, unless you are addicted to cold and snow, but, longer days and warm sunshine has given us hope that spring is near.


Blackbirds are being reported throughout the state and are appearing in all bird alerts. Soon they will become overlooked as just another junk bird, but for now they are wonderful additions and harbingers of spring.

     Take note of those large flocks of blackbirds and look for one with a yellow head. It would certainly be rare but not an impossibility to find a Yellow-headed Blackbird in those large flocks of migrants.


This morning (3/8) a phone call from Dave Johnston got us out to his place on Bonnyvale Road in W. Brattleboro to take pleasure in the sight of a very large flock of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, estimated to be 200+ with a smattering of CEDAR WAXWINGS mixed in. Both species are so regal in appearance, with the Bohemians slightly larger and having dark rusty under tail coverts. After several minutes of watching and counting them, in a whirring of wings, they all took to the air in unison and were gone. Sorry they didn’t hang around for more birders to partake. They will undoubtedly be heading back north soon as the 32 degree isotherm approaches from the south. What a nice start to an otherwise dreary, wet morning.


Also in West Brattleboro Dave reported a PILEATED WOODPECKER and at Chipmunk Crossing a second Pileated was seen checking out a dead ash tree. In the backyard the 11 Wild Turkeys are still making an appearance a couple of times a day. Also in West B. were two TURKEY VULTURES tipping their wings as they sailed over the firehouse.



Green River Road

On my morning walk yesterday (Friday, March 7)  I first heard and then saw 3 male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS along the Green River Road by the wetlands near my house. 

---Carol Schnabel, Guilford



Vernon Birds(3/7)

Pond Road:

Eastern Bluebird

Song Sparrow

Red-tailed Hawk (2, probably a mated pair)


Blodgett Road

Red-winged Blackbird

Common Grackle


Vernon Dam:

Bald Eagle (2)



More Vernon (3/8)

This may be old news - but there's a whole flock of ROBINS in my yard!  (I'm in South Vernon)... Can spring be far away??  :o)

---Sandra Sweet


My husband Paul just returned from a two week project in Chile, Wednesday, March 5.  There was a man working with him who now has a life list of 2,216 birds.  He added Common Diva-finch, Thick-billed Siskin, Grassland Yellow-finch, Black Chinned Siskin, as well as this MAGELLAN WOODPECKER pictured here (see attachment). They saw a lot of Southern lap-wing which are about the size of a Crow, but look more like a giant Killdeer. Most of the birds they saw were new to Paul except the barn swallows. 

---Mary Miller, Vernon



Lost Mile Road

I haven't reported in for awhile, but the bird notes email this morning prodded me into writing.


The BARRED OWL has remained a regular around the feeders and it is going after squirrels now. I watched it stoop on both a red and a grey squirrel yesterday. Both attempts where unsuccessful. We have 4 male TURKEYS cleaning up under the feeders on a daily basis. 4 GOLDFINCHES visited the feeders on 2/27, the first I've seen since late fall.  Our last REDPOLL sighting for the season was on 2/1 when a solitary bird spent an hour at the feeders.

---Ian Martin, Newfane


Reset Your Clocks—Spring Ahead


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


BIRD NOTE archives:


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website:





Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bird Notes ~ March 5, 2008


Bird Notes




UMass Owl

Last night (2/7) at approx. 7 PM I sighted a BARRED OWL flying across a major roadway on the UMass Amherst campus. I turned my car around to see if I could follow it. I found it perched in a tree about 50 ft. from the road and it took flight when I got out of my car. It flew to a pine outside a dorm hall and sat there perched about 20 ft. off the ground, illuminated by the building's flood light. I decided to let it be since I know that the owls are struggling this winter. I hope it success in the hunt.

---Ben Riseman, Guilford


 A “Murder” of Crows

Thursday evening at dusk while standing in the Staple’s parking lot we saw a huge black cloud of birds appear in the sky flying westward. It was at dusk and hard to distinguish what they were. Too big for blackbirds, too small for Canada Geese but holding their proximity to each other as we had often times seen blackbirds do when flying in migration. We grabbed the spare binoculars from the glove compartment and identified them as Crows. They were undoubtedly heading for a nearby roost for the night. We had never seen them fly in this tight-knit group before. They are normally scattered and/or in long lines when heading for their roost.



A “Raffle” of Turkeys

Here at Chipmunk Crossing the turkeys are still showing up for their daily rations of cracked corn. The numbers have settled in at an average of eleven. Most are young males (Jakes). When the sun came out for a short time this afternoon they took advantage of its warmth to dry their feathers by standing around and stretching wings, fanning tails and preening feathers. (See attachment)


The Greenleaf Street crabapple tree that has been attracting Robins, Cedar Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks for a couple of weeks now is finally without fruit and the gatherings of birds has ceased.



Easter 2008

Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.
Here's the interesting info. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:
1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).
2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!


Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead on Saturday evening.




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: