Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~January 28, 2008


Ivory Gull, Gloucester, MA© Hector Galbraith and Hawk Owl, Peru, NY © Jeff Goulding


Bird Notes


Redpolls & Siskins

There were 7 Common Redpolls with 10 Pine Siskins feeding on birch catkins on Wantastiquet Drive in Brattleboro this morning (1/25). There was also one male C. Redpoll brightening up the flock of ~ 40 Pine Siskins at our feeders on Bonnyvale Rd. this afternoon.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Great Horned Owl in Chatham

In Chatham on Cape Cod this week, we enjoyed hearing a pair of Great Horned Owls calling to one another through the evening. 


The fourth call down on the list of recordings on this website:


is exactly what we heard.  It made for a change from the Barred Owl calls we hear more regularly in Southern Vermont.  My Audubon field guide says the Great Horned Owl is "one of the first birds to nest, laying its eggs as early as late January when there is still snow on the ground." 

---Ann Wheelock



Hungry Visitor

We bought a new bird feeder - squirrel proof- recently and suspended it from a tree branch. All of a sudden when we looked this a.m. it was empty of seed!  When my husband went out to refill it, he discovered deer tracks and poop droppings nearby.  At least it wasn't a bear, for which we are thankful!

---Judy Myrick, West Brattleboro, VT



Hawk Owl

Jeff Goulding shares his photo of the first Hawk Owl of the season that was hanging out in Peru, NY, a short time before the Eden, VT owl arrived.(See attachment) By the way, that Eden Owl was still in the same area as of Tuesday 1/27.



Ivory Gull in Gloucester, MA

The Ivory Gull is an inhabitant of the Arctic and only makes an occasional appearance south of its polar cap home. On the 17th the news hit the birding world that there was one hanging out near the lighthouse at Eastern Point in Gloucester, MA. Several days later a second bird was found in Plymouth, MA. I remember a decade ago when an adult bird was discovered in Cornwall Bay on the Hudson River, 50 miles north of New York City. And again two years ago when another adult was discovered at Piermont Pier on the Hudson, just a few miles north of NYC.


As you can see it isn’t an every winter occurrence, so on the 19th I accompanied Hector Galbraith in a quest for this extremely rare find. We arrived at Eastern Point at about 10:15 a.m.


Nearing our destination on Eastern Point Blvd., there were cars parked on the right shoulder for about a quarter mile. So, we parked behind the last car and I scrambled out into the deep snow bank clutching my gloves, with warmers inserted, along with a hat with ear-flappers. The wind chill off the ocean was frosty and biting.


When we got close enough, we could see that it was wall to wall people. They were pressing their eyes to the eyepieces of their scopes, but looking in all directions. That’s not a good sign, I thought, the bird can’t be here. It wasn’t. It had been seen a half hour ago(the story of my life). But, we were all in the same boat, so to speak, and there were other things to look at and talk about. There was a Nelson’s Gull, a possible Thayer’s Gull, an Iceland Gull, a couple of Horned Grebes, several Gadwall ducks and a couple of Snow Buntings. But the conversation always drifted back to “will it come back?” We were all very optimistic though and our two hour wait finally paid off when we heard a voice shout “here he comes”! All binoculars swung in unison to the pure white bird that was now only yards away. It swooped by the crowd on a tail wind, hardly moving its wings. We could hear the multitude of oohs and aahs being emitted as each drank in its beauty. Completely white, black beady eyes, black legs & feet, and as it passed ever closer we could see the dark bill with orange tip. How could anything so plain white with black accessories be so beautiful? It banked around the cove and passed back by us again and landed on the snow covered Dog Bar Jetty, where it sat in the sun and posed for pictures.


Looking down the barrel of the scope, I burned him in my mind, so that when I closed my eyes I could still see him sitting there in the sun. By the way, it was a “life” bird. Awesome!

---Al Merritt



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.







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