Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Friday, August 28, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~ August 28, 2009

Bird Notes


Common Nighthawk Migration

I hope you've been witnessing the Common Nighthawk migration.  Last night (8/24) a tight flock of 62 Nighthawks were observed from the north end of Route 63/Stuart & John's Sugar House parking lot (Westmoreland, NH) flying with great speed south over the CT River in front of a shower band.  And close to 30 Nighthawks were flying back and forth over Green Wagon Farm/Stone Arch Village parking lot at the north end of Court Street (Keene, NH).


It's like the pre-season to fall hawk migration but in many ways much more rewarding:

1)  They are easy to identify.  Their flight pattern and general impressions are easier to remember.

2)  They fly relatively low.  Many times they fly just above buildings and trees.

3)  They fly mostly south but sometimes they fly north too in the same evening (just in case you missed them the first time).

4)  They can be easier to count than hawks because they seem to leave lots of space between each other.

5)  They seem to concentrate their migration through inland river valleys.

6)  Entering your observations is REALLY easy on

7)  Your observations help to understand the INCREDIBLE Common Nighthawk migration.  They fly south and over the Gulf of Mexico!

---Lance Tanino, Keene, NH



West Brattleboro Birds

An immature Broad-winged Hawk sat on a low branch overlooking our driveway and was undisturbed by our vehicle’s presence as we drove by. We think it is the same one that appeared in the pine tree two days later watching the birds fly in and out of our feeder. We thought it strange that the Chickadees and Titmice paid little attention to this comparatively huge predator not 10 feet away. It finally appeared to be bored with the situation and flew off into the wooded area on the west side of our property.


For the most part, the flocks of swallows we observed gathering on the wires along Abbott Road have dwindled down to only a handful. Today (8/25) there were only 3 Barn Swallows and 1 Cliff Swallow to be found. Bobolinks appear to be gone too, the field at the Gateway Farm was alive with them just a couple of weeks ago.


The many species coming in to the feeders has also slackened off. Although Chickadee numbers are increasing as families of them are showing up. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have introduced their two youngsters to our sipping syrup stations and the Goldfinches arrived in good numbers today bringing with them their wing-fluttering offspring. We heard a Catbird mewing in the shrubbery and saw a female Common Yellowthroat skulking along the low evergreen bows.



The Retreat Meadows

A Great Egret is still hanging out around the sandbars and islands bordering the meadows. Today we counted 3 Great Blue Herons there and several Cedar Waxwings shagging flies high over the river. Many Canada Geese are still present, one pair had a lone gosling with them that was nearly as big as they were.


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





Thursday, August 13, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~ August 13, 2009


Bird Notes



Black Bear in W. Brattleboro

Though I have some interest, Black Bears are not my forte and was the last thing that I expected to see when I drew the curtains to check the early morning visitors at our bird feeders. If it were the 11th of April it would not have been a surprise, but I thought it highly unusual for the 11th of August. Anyway, there it was lying on its belly, all 180(?) pounds, (See attachment) lapping up the remains of a pile of sunflower seed it had dumped after dislodging a feeder from the overhead wire. It looked quite content lying there licking its chops as I scrambled to get my camera. Forgive the poor quality, but I snapped a quick picture through two panes of glass and a window screen before it arose with nose in the air and for no reason bolted off into the brush and wooded area in the direction of Mather Road. So, all those in the West B. neighborhood, BEWARE THE BEAR!



Early Evening Grosbeaks

Two Evening Grosbeaks appeared at my feeder 2 days ago(8/8). Harbingers of early fall? Photos are on my blog at

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



Jeffrey’s Ledge Whale Pelagic Trip

These observations were made during an afternoon (2:10 PM to 6:40 PM) Granite State Whale Watch out of Rye Harbor, NH.   Ask them about an Audubon membership discount.


  8 Cory’s Shearwater

696 Greater Shearwater

349 Sooty Shearwater

  4 Manx Shearwater

496 Wilson’s Petrel

  5 Northern Gannet

  X Double-crested Cormorant

  5 Red-necked Phalarope

  X Herring Gull

  X Great Black-backed Gull

  X Common Tern

---Lance Tanino, Keene, NH




P  R  O  G  R  A  M





Tuesday, August 18, 7:00 pm


Putney Mountain Hawk Watchers (Phil, Alma, and Marshall) will describe the basics of identifying hawks that migrate over the Putney Mountain hawk watch site during the months of September and October.


Brooks Memorial Library Community Room

Sponsored by Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Program is FREE and open to the public.



South Pond Loon

Following the tip from Charlie LaRosa we drove to South Pond on Tuesday to see if we could locate the reported Common Loon.


As we sat at the boat launch we could see and hear many swimmers on the beach and sitting aboard the float just across the way. In the distance were a couple of kayakers paddling toward the far shore. It caused us to wonder where the loon would be with so much activity. We didn’t wonder long. While scanning the placid water I saw the loon rise up and flap and shake its wings before settling down again and disappearing underwater. It was under so long before surfacing again that we thought it must be part fish. The second dive took it left out of our sight so we waited patiently for its resurfacing. Minutes later it broke water not 50 feet from the end of the boat launch and proceeded to dive and resurface several times as it headed into the cove to our right. It finally made its way around the cove and back out into deeper water again seemingly oblivious of the bathers and paddlers and they of its presence.


You were correct Charlie, someone with a camera could have snapped some good close-ups of this magnificent creature. Thanks for the heads up.




I just received this note from a friend in New York State:


For all those interested, Brigantine NWR, with which many of you are familiar, is hopping with wonderful shorebirds. Among the species (41) that Sharon and I managed to find yesterday were many whimbrels (several dozen), black-bellied plover, plenty of peeps, mostly semi-palmated sandpipers, semi-palmated plovers, roseate spoonbill, dowitchers, several clapper rails (including two standing side by side), plenty of common and Forster's terns, a tri-color heron as well as many great egrets, great blues, and snowies. There are also several osprey nests with fledglings, and a peregrine which perches on a tower with nest box in the middle of the refuge. Just be aware that the flies were also in great abundance, so bring plenty of Deep Woods Off. ---David Baker, E.A. Mearns Bird Club, Orange County, NY


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT

A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.






Monday, August 10, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~ August 10, 2009


Bird Notes


Red-necked Grebe

We kayaked Lowell Lake in Londonderry today, 8-6-09. Saw one lone Red-necked Grebe out in the middle of the lake!

---JoAnne Russo



Bald Pates

We have noticed a couple of Red-winged Blackbirds with balding on their heads and necks.  Has anyone else seen this?  What causes this balding?  

---Susan James, Guilford, VT



Retreat Meadows

Today (8/6) at the Meadows we watched 9 juvenile Common Mergansers cavorting in the West River and diving along the eastern shoreline. On one of the sandbars a lone Great Egret was stalking a lunch entrée. A Great Blue Heron was also present at the opposite end of the island. On 8/7 the number of Common Mergansers in that group had increased to 14.



South Pond Loon

Just a reminder that the resident Common Loon at South Pond is still there, keeping the fish in constant jeopardy. It's quite successful. It also is fairly comfortable with people in boats and if someone wants to get a good photo they may want to give it a try. Thanks for doing such a wonderful job with Bird Notes.

---Charlie La Rosa, Brattleboro, VT



Spotted Owl News

Following pressure from American Bird Conservancy and other groups, the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced that the Bureau of Land Management will withdraw a controversial logging plan affecting federal forests managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon. The Secretary also announced that decisions by the previous administration to reduce designated critical habitat and establish a recovery plan for the Northern Spotted Owl were also being reversed. A new Northern Spotted Owl recovery plan will now be developed.

---American Bird Conservancy




by Nancy Jo Gambacurta


Do Flickers Flick? Do Ravens rave?

Can Razorbills give you a shave?


Do Dippers dip? Do Pipits Pip?

And what made Poor Will get the Whip?


I want to know if Kingbirds reign?

I wonder if most Loons are sane?


Have Killdeers ever killed a deer

Or Mourning Doves produced a tear?


Are Bitterns bitter, Crossbills cross?

Do Grouse complain about their boss?


Are Creepers creepy, Scrub Jays clean?

Do Kinglets search to find a queen?


And are the Game Birds really game

For all implied by that false name?


The lesson found within this fable

Is one can’t trust in any label

That’s given without sure consent

Of the poor soul for whom it’s meant.


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




Wednesday, August 05, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~ August 4, 2009

What Woodpecker by Barbara Ritchie and Wild Parsnips (file photo)


Bird Notes



Can anyone help to ID what kind of woodpecker did this?  It is a Ponderosa Pine, in the Cascades of southern Washington, Trout Lake area near Mt. Adams. (See attachment)


---Barbara Ritchie, Newfane, VT



Beware the wild parsnip!

Now in full bloom along roadsides, in fields and sunny disturbed areas all over Vermont, this tall yellow-flowering plant that looks like a yellow Queen Anne's Lace (See attachment) can pack blisters or burns worse than poison ivy if you get the juice from the plant on your skin and your skin is then exposed to the sun. Phytophotodermatitis it's called. The blister/burn scars can remain for a long time on people who are more allergic. 


Check out these websites for more information on this exotic invasive and how to prevent injury, or treat it if it's too late, and don't pick the pretty flowers!


--Ann Pearce

Master Gardener

Professional Gardener

And yes, I got a burn a few years ago when it first started appearing around here, and the doctors thought it was poison ivy.

---Submitted by Karen L. Davis



Bunting and Kingfisher

I took advantage of the nice days recently to do some birding. There was an Indigo Bunting on the West River trail behind the Marina at the end of the cornfield. I took a photo but it did not come out as well I would have liked and so I went back this morning. I did not see the bunting again, but did see a Great Egret by the sandbar in the river.


A couple of days ago I watched a Belted Kingfisher over the pond behind the Target store in Keene. It hovered, beating its wings rapidly, and suddenly plunged arrow-like down in the water to grab a fish. Check here for some photos:

Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT




Hill Farm Road, Arlington, VT (7/22)

Among the notables of the 29 species observed this day were:

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel

Black-billed Cuckoo

Pileated Woodpecker

Willow Flycatcher

Brown Creeper


Yellow Warbler

Swamp Sparrow

Indigo Bunting

---Lance Tanino, Keene, NH




Fall Warblers and Gathering Swallows (8/3)

In our yard today: Black & White, Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green. We also have had the return of the male Indigo Bunting and a male Purple Finch.  On the wires at Gateway Farm on Abbott Road: 39 Barn Swallows, 3 Rough-wings, and 3 Cliff Swallows.



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.