Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Thursday, October 30, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ Oct. 30, 2008


Bird Notes





Today (10/26) there were 25 Horned Larks, 20 A. Pipits, and 1 Vesper Sparrow in the plowed field between River Road and Caldwell Rd in W. Northfield, Ma. The Vesper Sp. was by itself just on the edge of the field by River Road(south side). Good birding.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Today (10/26) we have had 4 Common Mergansers on our pond snacking, preening, and napping.  They are very beautiful.
---Susan James, Guilford, VT



The early snow finally prompted me to put out a couple of feeders this morning. (Bears are napping, I hope.) Within minutes three Purple Finches, two Titmice, a White-breasted Nuthatch, five Black-capped Chickadees, three Goldfinches, countless Juncos and a single Fox Sparrow had found the seed.  I often wonder if we underestimate their power of smell?  It's great to have them back, though now I can't get anything done as I keep checking to see what else has stopped by.  

---Molly Martin, Marlboro, VT



There are so many birds around today, feeding at the suet and the seed feeder.  They include a male cardinal, five bluejays, many juncos, several nuthatches and woodpeckers, and a few robins.  I wonder how long they will stay.

---Judy Myrick, West B.



Here in Waltham Mass. my woody acre, with brook, is almost devoid of the usual birds my records show were around last year.  No titmice, chickadees, goldfinches, one robin all year! None come to my feeder. Walking further afield, I had a Downy Woodpecker & one Carolina wren. 

---Doreen Pugh



Phyllis Benay reported having a Northern Harrier fly over her upper field off Black Mountain Road. Here at our little acre nothing new, though we keep hoping for Fox Sparrows. On Peck Road in Vernon we were happy to see a Bluebird and 2 Green-wing Teal. In the setback at the foot of Cotton Mill Hill we counted 30 Common Mergansers, 50 Ring-necked Ducks and 2 Hooded Mergansers. A drive into Massachusetts via Caldwell Road produced 3 Bluebirds, 2 Cedar Waxwings, 3 Savannah Sparrows and 12 American Pipits. At the Retreat Meadows there were 72 Ring-necked Ducks, a Great Blue Heron, 2 Common Mergansers, 4 Double-crested Cormorants and a Mockingbird that was standing guard over the Bittersweet vines on the fence at the water treatment plant.



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Keep in mind that if you are unable to get out in the field with one of our seven groups for the Brattleboro Christmas Bird Count on December 13th, you can help us by doing a feeder count on that day. Just contact me at .



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, October 24, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ 10/24/2008

Bird Notes



I did not get to tell you last night(10/21) about our Downy Woodpecker.  He has some interest in one of our Bluebird houses to the extent that he is drilling a hole in the back. He uses the front opening apparently, but insists on another door. Really, I think that he is finding some insects in the space between the box and the wooden bracket. I just thought that it is amusing. (See attachment) Thank you for the insights on birds that you give us!  

---Paul Miller, Vernon, VT  



Yesterday (10/18) I saw a flock of Rusty Blackbirds, probably about 15, settle into a tree in the NE corner of the cornfield behind the Marina. I got some photos from a distance but by they time I got closer they had dropped into swamp below. I went back today but found no trace of them. (See attachment.)

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



Today(10/20) in the set-back at the foot of Cotton Mill Hill we counted 28 Common Mergansers that were intermixed with a flock of Canada Geese. In Vernon at the Miller farm pond off of Peck’s Rd. we watched 22 Mallard Ducks tip up and feed in the shallow waters. Back at the Retreat Meadows near the water treatment plant we “pished” up several White-crowned Sparrows and a couple of White-throated Sparrows. While back here at Chipmunk Crossing we had a short visit from a Golden-crowned Kinglet and a Carolina Wren, two species that we don’t see enough of.  While taking a foliage tour of Marlboro we came across 5 Swainson’s Thrushes, 1 on Barrows Rd., 3 at South Pond and 1 at Sunset Lake. They used to be named Olive-backed Thrush and the “crutch” that we used to identify them was their eye ring, which made and “O” for Olive-backed.


A Reminder: The Christmas Bird Count will be held on December 13th.  If you wish to participate as a Field Participant  or as a Feeder Counter, please let me know. or phone 254-4820.


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


A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.








Friday, October 17, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ Oct. 17, 2008

Bird Notes



P  R  O  G  R  A  M


William Henry Jackson: Pioneer Photographer

7 p.m. Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brooks Memorial Library Conference Room


DAVID USHER will present this program on the subject of William Henry Jackson who was a pioneer photographer of the old west and will include many of Jackson’s original photographs. Jackson learned the new art of photography in Rutland, Vermont and after the Civil War went west with the Hayden expedition, photographing the Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Mesa Verde, and many other sites which became the foundation of the National Park system. His photos played an important part in the creation of the parks.


This program is FREE and open to the public and is sponsored by Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society.




S  I  G  H  T  I  N  G  S


West B. Birds

At Chipmunk Crossing we have been having daily visits from 5 Purple Finch which included a male, a female, and 3 youngsters. A Pileated Woodpecker has been making his presence known by occasionally sounding off. Today a handsome male flew in and checked out a crack in a hemlock tree that was oozing some sticky pitch. The ground beneath the feeders is covered with Juncos picking up spilled seed. There are also White-throated Sparrows scratching in the grass for their favorite tid-bits. On the feeder this morning was an imm. Indigo Bunting voraciously attacking the offering of mixed seed.



Guilford Birds

I've been seeing quite a few Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-crowned sparrows and White-throated sparrows.  There is a lot of food for them.  They are all very hyper and in constant motion.  We also have young Purple Finches muscling each other on the feeders.
---Susan James, Guilford, VT



Retreat Meadows

Yesterday (10/16) at the water treatment facility on Rt. 30 we encountered a large flock of sparrows on the grass inside of the chain link fence and in the wood chip roadway outside the fence. Many were Song Sparrows, but on closer scrutiny found a few Savannahs. Also saw 4 immature and 1 mature White-crowned and many White-throated Sparrows. The resident Mockingbird was busy scolding and defending its cache of bittersweet berries.  At the boat launch a lone Swamp Sparrow was busy fltting around on the mud at the base of the reeds, apparently catching insects. Overhead we watched as 17 Turkey Vultures circled up in a “kettle”.



Cape May at its Best

We have just returned from a very successful birding trip to Cape May, New Jersey under the able leadership of local resident Warren Cairo and Pennsylvania resident and Ornithologist, Dr. John Tramontano.


Cape May is a wondrous birder’s paradise during the spring and fall migrations as birds pile up along the coast waiting for the right time to take wing for the long flight over Delaware Bay. Although we didn’t hit it at its peak, we managed a trip total of over 100 species. Among the notables were Black Scoter, Royal Tern, Forster’s Tern, Black Skimmer, Peregrine Falcon, Black-billed & Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Willet, Hudsonian Godwit, Dunlin, and Piping Plover. But the topper of them all, that was a life bird for most of us, was a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE, well seen by everyone as it gave us a show of aerobatics with spectacular loop-the-loops, barrel rolls and swoops. It was awesome!


On the way home we made a stop at Brigantine NWR and added Dickcissel, 5 American Avocets, and a roost of Black-crowned Night Herons. Further north we stopped at Tuckerton and added two more species, American Oystercatcher and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow.


If you have never birded this part of the country in spring or fall, you should definitely put it on your “TO DO” list.



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, October 13, 2008

BIRD NOTES ~ Oct. 14, 2008

Bird Notes


Vermont Public TV (PBS) Program Note

Oct. 26: Sunday at 8 p.m., “Nature” presents “White Falcon, White Wolf” It traces the perilous parenthood of two species, white Gyrfalcons and Arctic Wolves, on Canada’s remote Ellesmere Island.



Birding Behind the Marina & Environs

I’ve been birding the swampy edges on the east and north sides of the cornfield behind the Marina Oct.2, 3, and 6 in the late afternoon. Each time, I’ve spotted 2 Lincoln Sparrows, a few white-crowned sparrows-1 mature, 4 immature, several swamp sparrows, many savannahs, a few chipping sp, white throated sp, and song sp. Who knows what other sparrows are skulking about...? On Oct 6 I got a nice look at 1 rusty blackbird at the north end of the field; my first of the year.  Also noted there: indigo buntings, palm warblers, myrtle warblers, c. yellow throats, killdeer, b-h vireo, db cormorant, gbh, 10 wood ducks, gw teal, 100’s of c. geese, red tailed hawk, 20-30+tv’s, etc. On the water yesterday at the Meadows were 13 c. mergansers. Behind the water treatment plant a marsh wren popped up and perched on the tall weeds for a bit of a show. Good Birding.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



A Very Lucky Bird

A new species made an appearance at the Franklin Mt. Hawkwatch near Oneonta, NY on 9/24, when a Macaw flew in and perched in a tree near the lookout.  Richard Hendrick, one of the counters that day, happened to have in his lunch a banana which he took out and held up.  The bird promptly flew down and landed on his shoulder where it devoured the fruit and remained the rest of the day.


An interesting enough experience, but the rest of the story is even better.  At the end of the count, Richard and Steve Hall contacted a local veterinary clinic who sent someone up to get the bird.  They

checked it over (it was IDed as a Severe Macaw) and found it healthy, and over the next few days tried to locate the owner via ads, radio announcements and phone calls--with no success.


After a few days, the bird began talking.  It repeated the same three names over and over.  Soon one of the veterinarians recognized the names as those of his landlord's family!  He checked, and sure

enough, it was their pet.  He had no idea they owned a macaw.


It turned out the bird had gone out in their yard with the landlord's wife, which it often did.  But the husband came out to do some work and started up a chain saw, startling the bird off into the woods.  It was on the lam for 3 days before it appeared at the hawk watch a mile or so away.


A very lucky bird to have avoided the regular Cooper's Hawks tallied at the hawk watch, to have found a sympathetic shoulder to land on, and to have talked its way back home!


A picture is available at:

---Andy Mason, Jefferson, NY 


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