Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Saturday, August 30, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ August 30, 2008

Nighthawk by Paul Miksis

Bird Notes



Marsh Wrens YES, Sedge NO

Al, I was down at Herrick’s this morning(8/24--nothing much there) and stopped in at Allen’s on my way back. I went equipped with my Ipod loaded with Stokes bird songs. I played both marsh and sedge songs but the only birds that responded were two recently fledged marsh wrens on the right side just where the road begins crossing the marsh.  They came right up and I had really good lengthy views. Both were recently out of the nest and still had their gapes. They had only very indistinct grey supercilia and had some barring on their wings, but were still the typical unstreaked rufous on the mantle and wing coverts. Both were in heavy body moult. At first glance one of them seemed to have a streaky cap (like sedge) but when I got a closer look I saw that what had looked like streaks were in fact the quills of the new emerging feathers showing thru. Tricky little boogers!

---Hector Galbraith, PhD

Director Climate Change Initiative

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences



We saw two COMMON NIGHTHAWKS flying over our field yesterday (Sat.) evening, about 7:45.
---Ned Pokras, W. Brattleboro, VT



We spotted a flock of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS, 50-60 at least, feeding high over the River in downtown Brattleboro at around 6 p.m.(8/27) Then I had another 25 over town, 7 p.m. There was one lone CHIMNEY SWIFT among the latter flock. ---Paul Miksis & Robyn Flatley, Brattleboro, VT


Hey Al & Barb, I know, nighthawks again. But they are, as you know, so cool. Rob and I were relaxing in our canoe in a Vermont side setback.

There were numerous WAXWINGS and BLACKBIRDS busy feeding on the bugs.

Suddenly there appeared a flock of 25 NIGHTHAWKS, low and directly over us. They busily had their dinner for maybe a half hour, then moseyed on south. It was sheer bliss to lay there and watch.

---Paul & Robyn



17 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were feeding in West Brattleboro last night(8/28) at 6:15, in the vicinity of Dunkin Donuts.  Flying ants were present in high numbers.

---Cliff Seifer, Keene, NH



At South Pond in Marlboro, on Sunday afternoon, (8/24/08), a single OSPREY was observed circling, hovering, and fishing (successfully) before it flew off low over the town beach.
---Anne Wheelock



Vermont Sandhill Cranes

At 8:00 a.m., the family of four was in their usual spot -- a field on the east side of the Monkton-Bristol Road between Church Road and Mountain Road (about 1/4-1/2 mile north of the New Leaf Organics farm stand). They were VERY close to the road -- great looks possible without binos.

--Miriam Lawrence






Birdwatcher, painter, writer, teacher, scientist and inventor of the modern field guide, Roger Tory Peterson would have been 100 years old on August 28. Although Mr. Peterson died in 1996, his legacy lives on at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York. The Institute houses a 10,000 book library, over 150,000 slides, limited-edition prints, film reels as well as thousands of original pieces of artwork in its museum, which is open daily 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.

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



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT






Saturday, August 23, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ August 23, 2008


Bird Notes



We just had about a dozen turkeys pay a visit to our apple trees.  The three adults and nine little ones are relatively new to the neighborhood.  Now if we could just train them to pick up all the drops!


On the other hand, the five crows who frequent our backyard have discovered the pears in the pear tree.  One just flew off holding a pear by the stem in its beak!  I'm not quite so happy about that! 


I have a very territorial male hummingbird who spends his days guarding the feeder.  If any other hummer approaches, he quickly escorts them away.  I have also watched him do battle with a Hairy Woodpecker over the suet feeder!  I guess the entertainment will be ending soon!

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro, VT




Here in Waltham, Mass. the bird count seems to be sharply down.  The orioles, chickadees, titmice, mallards, and woodpeckers are almost nonexistent.  We do see one GREAT BLUE HERON, lots of CANADA GEESE, three RED-TAILED HAWKS and one very loud CAROLINA WREN.  Sometimes there are two WOOD DUCKS, herded by a female. 

---Doreen Pugh



East Dorset Birds

As I was tallying the bird activity in my yard around 6 pm on Thurs., a sky scan picked up a small pointed winged bird high overhead.  I excitedly first thought- Merlin - but soon realized it was a lone Night Hawk winging its way south - a unusual treat, nonetheless.


Other activity:

Red-eyed Vireo - 2 (feeding young!)

Rose breasted Grosbeak - male

Scarlet Tanager - male


House Finches - 6

Tufted Titmouse - 4

Black-capped Chickadee - 5

Gold Finch - x

House wren  1

RT Hummingbird - 3

I'm sure there were some warblers out there too, but I never could pick them up in the leaf cover.

---Ruth Stewart, E Dorset, VT



Retreat Meadows

There is a GREAT EGRET and a GREAT BLUE HERON hanging out at the West River side of the Retreat Meadows. Also seen regularly are BELTED KINGFISHER on the guy wires of the WTSA radio tower and CEDAR WAXWINGS in the treetops in that same area.



Sunset Lake Loons

Chris Petrak reports that while kayaking on Sunset Lake he was able to get very good looks at a pair of COMMON LOONS and of watching a family of HOODED MERGANSERS floating down the river that borders his property in South Newfane.



Sedge Wren at Allen Bros. Marsh

We arrived about 9 Thursday morning trying for a glimpse of the Virginia Rails. We instead found two small wrens that we identified as SEDGE WREN. As you enter Henwood Hill Road from RT. 5 it’s on the right roadside wet area. I hope others can check this out and get a look at these rare occurring birds.


Other birds seen there were SOLITARY SANDPIPER, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 18 to 20 Wood Ducks, Great Blue Heron, 4 Green Heron, 3 Belted Kingfishers, 6 Kingbirds, Red-eyed Vireo, 2 Phoebes and other regulars.



W. Brattleboro Bobolinks

We observed 18-20 non-breeding BOBOLINKS on Abbott Road this morning(8/23). Several were along the roads edge and many more were sitting in the shrubbery and golden rod at roadside. They are undoubtedly in their migration mode and will soon be winging their way to the bobolink wintering grounds in South America.



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.

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



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT




Monday, August 18, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ August 18, 2008

Bird Notes



Marlboro Cuckoo

A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO flew to the edge of our woods this morning(8/14) and lingered long enough for us to get a diagnostic view of him through our scope, including his eye with the black pupil surrounded by red.  It was a very special treat and a big surprise.

---Michael King and Molly Martin, Marlboro, VT 



Herricks’ Egrets

Just before sundown last night(8/13) I watched two GREAT EGRETS flying north over Herricks cove, amazingly beautiful in flight. There were hundreds of mixed swallows flying all over the Williams River area and 50 or so diving into the water bathing. The water looked like it was exploding there were so many birds all bathing at the same time. No signs of any shorebirds yet. An adult BALD EAGLE made the rounds over Herricks Cove to end the day.

---Peter Manship, Ludlow VT



Migration Over Brattleboro

This Sunday evening, 6:30 to 7:45, from our roof, in downtown Brattleboro: CHIMNEY SWIFTS: 100+ (swirling after insects low, then higher and higher, then gone); RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS: several flocks of dozens heading to roost; SWALLOWS (sp?): several flocks, maybe 50 total individuals; NIGHTHAWKS: 20; All heading south.

---Paul Miksis & Robin Flatley, Brattleboro, VT




Field Trip to Phyllis’ Marsh, 8/16/08

Saturday was a great day for the scheduled walk. Patches of blue sky and warm early morning sun was incentive enough to walk on through the dew laden grass of the newly mown trails in search of avian treasures.  After a short distance, the high pitched notes of the CEDAR WAXWING diverted our attention to the tops of the dead pine trees that dominate the inner marsh. The numbers increased as more Cedars appeared, sometimes hovering in quest of a delectable flying insect.  Most were immatures probably learning the ropes and getting pointers in survival techniques from their parents. A rata-tat-tat interrupted the scene. It was the easily identifiable tapping of a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER that drills multiple holes in the bark of trees to allow the sap to ooze to the surface. Insects are attracted to it, thus an instant meal for the Sapsucker or an enterprising Hummingbird. We were lucky enough to see both on a nearby black birch tree. A WOOD PEEWEE sang its name  . . . peeee a weeee, from its lofty perch, then jumped off quickly to snag a high flying bug. A CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER in fall plumage and a female CANADA WARBLER made a brief appearance in the leafy understory. In a distant tree a male SCARLET TANAGER ablaze with color was spotted. Ooohs and Aaaahs were soon heard as each of our group focused their binoculars on it. Nearby the bright orange of a BALTIMORE ORIOLE caught or attention as it gleaned a tree branch holding a web worm nest.  And so it went during this wonderful meeting with nature.  Eleven enthusiastic birders counted 23 species of birds on a gorgeous summer morn.


Many thanks to Phyllis Benay for allowing us access to her wonderful nature preserve.



Yardbird News

The numbers of birds coming to our feeders is phenomenal as more and more parents introduce their youngsters to our yard. The daily appearance of the INDIGO BUNTING family, male & female parents and male & female youngsters has been a real joy.  Normally this is a bird that we only see and hear a couple of times in the spring of the year.  This morning we had a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, a RED-EYED VIREO and 2 imm., male PURPLE FINCH.


*   *   *

There have not been a lot of bird reports coming in, so there haven’t been a lot of BIRD NOTES to be sent out. (Hint, hint.) It is your comments and reports that make up the bulk of this report. Please keep them coming. Believe it or not the migration has started.


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.

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



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT