Open Water in the CT River
A male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, 98 COMMON GOLDENEYES, 4 LESSER SCAUP, 30 HOODED MERGANSERS, 53 COMMON MERGANSERS, a WOOD DUCK, 4 RING-NECKED DUCKS, and 67 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS were seen on the Connecticut River in Hinsdale on January 13th.
W. Northfield, MA
I was snowshoeing at Bennet Meadow last week at about 5:00 pm. I stopped for a moment and looked up at the tree next to me, only to find I was being watched by a BARRED OWL, not more than 15 feet away. We watched each other for about ten minutes, when I decided it was time to leave. The owl did not seem at all concerned with my presence.
Last night when I was snowshoeing around our field in West Brattleboro, a small, dark rodent scurried across the snow in front of me. No owls in sight!
Cape Ann Rarities
I was finally able to get free for a day of winter coastal birding on Cape Ann this past Thursday. The SLATY-BACKED GULL reported at Niles Pond was on the ocean side during the morning - views were distant. By afternoon it moved to the pond and posed very nicely. After I left, first winter THAYER’S GULLS appeared for a show. Did not find the King Eider reported opposite the Elks Club, but had a good day (but then a day of birding is by definition a good day).
Photos of the Slaty-back are on my blog: www.tailsofbiridng.net
Additional photos of the Slaty-back & other birds of the day are at: http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n142/chrsptrk/
---Chris Petrak, South Newfane, VT
A Better Mouse Trap?
So much for my squirrel deterrent. The BARRED OWL is now a regular in the feeder area, spending entire days and nights perched in the old spruce on the wood edge or even in the branches of the cherry in which I hang my feeders. And after their initial absence, the squirrels are back, both red and gray, running with impunity across the snow right under our owl. My initial assumption, that the owl was here for squirrels, was based on the obvious presence of a ready supply of squirrels scampering under the feeders. Wrong assumption. There is another, less obvious prey that the owl seeks inhabiting the seed filled subnivean space under the feeders. It is apparently mice and voles that the owl is after and not the squirrels and, I think, the squirrels have figured that out.
COMMON REDPOLLS are still making occasional visits, every other day or so, in flocks of from 2 to 50 individuals. My last sighting was on 1/17.
Then the regulars: hairy and downy woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, titmice, white-breasted nuthatch, and blue jays.
---Ian Martin, 54 Lost Mile Rd. Newfane
Cedar Waxwings on Putney Road
My wife and I vacationed over the long w/e in Putney, VT, and I was on the prowl for Cedar Waxwings. A VT birder by the name of Al Merritt gave me some possible locations in the Putney/Brattleboro area to check out, and I hit the jackpot on Rt 5 out the north end of Brattleboro. Both Saturday and Sunday (and we saw them again today as we drove back to CT) there were probably 50 to 75 Cedar Waxwings in the trees out in front of C&S Wholesale Grocery Warehouse, just a short distance before the spot where Rt 5 crosses over I-91. Look for the Hampton Inn and the Red Roof Inn on the left side of the road (the motels are side-by-side) driving north on Rt 5 from Brattleboro and pull into the parking lot for the Red Roof Inn, which is the second one. If you look across the road at the C&S warehouse, you will see about 5 or 6 crab apple trees between the road and the chain link fence in front of the warehouse. The CWW's were perched in several large maple trees, along with some Pine Grosbeaks and unfortunately, many starlings, and then would dive down into the crab apple trees and the gorge themselves until a loud truck or other noisy vehicle frightened them back up into the maples for while. This cycle was repeated over and over all day, both days.
There seems to be a fair amount of fruit remaining on the crab apple trees so these guys should be there for a while. Obviously, be courteous in the Red Roof Inn parking lot since technically, you could be considered trespassers. I spent several hours up on the high snowbank in front of the Red Roof Inn, out as close to the road as I could safely get, along with my camera and 600mm lens mounted on a tripod and no one from the motel ever came out to check me out, but several cars honked their horns when they saw the size of the lens I was using (still not enough for good images of single birds from that distance - Rt 5 is really quite wide there and the trees are at least 15 ft or more back from the edge of the road on the other side - but for spotting scopes, this is nothing.
Enjoy the Waxwings while they are still in that area. No, did not see any Bohemians.......sigh!
---Gary Prestash, Hamden, CT
New Hampshire Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey
This was the 28th consecutive year that we have conducted the survey (since Winter 1980-81), and during that time the wintering BALD EAGLE population in NH has clearly recovered from the lowest of lows. For example, on survey day back in 1982, NH Audubon staff and volunteers located a grand total of only 2 bald eagles (1 adult, 1 immature) statewide. This year, we located a record-high total of 59 bald eagles (30 adults, 29 immatures) in New Hampshire on survey day, over 30% more than our prior NH mid-winter survey day high count of 44 birds in 2006.
Senior Biologist, Conservation Department
New Hampshire Audubon
At Chipmunk Crossing
12 COMMON REDPOLlS paid a couple of visits to our feeders over the weekend, but have not returned.
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.
W. Brattleboro, VT
BIRD NOTE archives:
Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website: