Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bird Notes ~ November 30, 2009

King Eider, Gloucester, MA and Eurasian Collared-Dove, Norwich, VT



Bird Notes


Retreat Meadow

A stop at the boat launch on Rt.30 yesterday afternoon: 2 male Bufflehead, a lone Common Merganser and of course the ever present hundred or so Canada Geese.



Eurasian Collared-Dove in Norwich, VT

A Eurasian Collared-Dove has been confirmed coming to a feeder in Norwich, Vermont. Its location is a little over an hour drive north of Brattleboro taking I-91. If you are interested in tracking down this bird for your year list, or perhaps your “life” list, let me know and I will be glad to furnish you with directions. By the way, this is a first confirmed report for this species in the state of Vermont. (See attachment)



Cape Ann/Plum Island


On the weekend of November 21-22, we led a group of 9 birders from the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club of Orange County, NY, on a trip up the Massachusetts coast from Magnolia to Newburyport. The weather was fantastic for a mid November weekend, though it started with a chilly easterly breeze as we scoped Gloucester harbor early Saturday morning. The Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-throated Loons and Red-necked Grebes didn’t seem to mind it at all as they took turns diving beneath the foaming white-caps. Rafts of Common Eider were scattered about the harbor and once in a while a Harbor Seal would poke its nose up out of the water for a breath of air.

     At the cove in Magnolia we watched Horned Grebes, Surf Scoters, Buffleheads and Common Loons swimming and diving in more placid waters. A Peregrine Falcon perched atop the highest granite outcrop on the island just offshore and remained motionless as we strained to get a better look down the barrel of a 40X scope.

     The State Fishing Pier didn’t live up to our expectations, however. There were tons of gulls on the roof tops of the cold storage facilities, but no white-wingers. Best bird there was our second Peregrine Falcon of the morning perched atop the mast of an anchored schooner.

      A stop at Eastern Point lighthouse produced good looks at all three Scoter species. At Niles Pond we added Ring-necked Ducks, Mute Swans, Buffleheads, 2 Pied-billed Grebes and a thousand more of the three common gull species that were bathing in the fresh water pond.

     Moving over to Brace Cove we found a few Bonaparte’s Gulls riding the waves and at the high tide mark on the beach were two Iceland Gulls feeding with several Mallards at the edge of the grass. It was unclear what they were feeding on.

     Next stop was at Good Harbor Beach where a male King Eider had been reported last week. Sure enough, it was still there. The main source of food      attracting the bird was a red colored species of crab that it was voraciously scoffing down.  See the following photos:

     At Cathedral Ledge in Rockport, we counted 45 Harlequin Ducks and several Purple Sandpipers. Around the corner at Andrew’s Point we watched in awe as one after another of the sleek white Gannets flew back and forth close enough to be naked eye birds. They dove and sliced the water with the grace of an Olympic platform diver going for the gold and sometimes came up with good sized fish.  We didn’t spot a Black Guillemot until we returned the following morning, after which we drove on to Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Here we added 15 more species to our list, most of which were waterfowl: Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Common Goldeneye and Hooded Merganser. A stop at the Wardens area produced a lone Snow Bunting and the first Tree Sparrows of the season. At Bill Forward pool we added Black-bellied Plover and a large flock of Dunlin. All told eleven of us counted a total of 64 species over the course of the weekend. Here is the complete listing:


Red-throated Loon

Common Loon

Pied-billed Grebe

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Northern Gannet

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Canada Goose

Mute Swan


American Wigeon

American Black Duck


Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Ring-necked Duck

Scaup (Species)

King Eider (Good Harbor Beach)

Common Eider

Harlequin Duck

Surf Scoter

White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter

Long-tailed Duck


Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Peregrine Falcon

Wild Turkey

Black-bellied Plover

Purple Sandpiper


Bonaparte's Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Iceland Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Black Guillemot

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Downy Woodpecker

Blue Jay

American Crow

Black-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

American Robin (1 on Penzance Rd.)

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

American Tree Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Snow Bunting (1 at the Wardens)

Northern Cardinal

House Finch


House Sparrow


This is a great time of year to visit the coast for those once a year birds and to enjoy the brisk salt air, the spectacular views of the rocky coast of Boston’s north shore, the miles of sandy beaches at Plum Island and of course the succulent seafood.




Brattleboro Christmas Bird Count

Saturday, December 19, 2009



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, November 25, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~ November 25, 2009


Bird Notes


Black Scoter in Newfane

Thanks to JoAnne Russo's posting on VTBird list, and Chris Petrak's blog, I drove to Newfane early this morning(11/22) and was able to get some photos of the Black Scoter on the pond next to the Four Columns Inn. It's a life bird for me. It's a beautiful bird, glossy black with a bright orange knob on its beak. It was much smaller than I imagined. Here are three photos:

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



The 110th Annual Christmas Bird Count

The 110th Christmas Bird Count will run from December 14, 2009 through January 5, 2010. Last year, thousands of volunteers counted nearly 60 million birds across the Americas and beyond. Each count occurs in a designated circle, 15 miles in diameter, and is led by an experienced birder, or designated “compiler”. Read more to learn where Vermont CBCs are located, date of counts and compiler contact information...

     The longest running citizen science program in the world, the count originally began on Christmas Day in 1900 when ornithologist and legendary birder Frank Chapman posed an alternative to an earlier traditional holiday "side hunt." Chapman proposed “hunting” birds to record their numbers. Instead of firing a shotgun, now we have an annual snapshot. Decades of data have added up to results envied by other scientists who don’t enjoy such a fleet of volunteer help, or creatures as easily seen and counted as birds.

     While there is a specific methodology to the CBC and you need to count birds within an existing Christmas Bird Count circle, everyone can participate! If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. If your home is within the boundaries of a Christmas Bird Count circle, then you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeder or join a group of birdwatchers in the field. If you have never been on a CBC before and you want to participate in a count this year, including feeder counting, please contact the count compiler prior to the count. 

*NOTE: Brattleboro Count is Saturday, December 19

Al Merritt (Brattleboro compiler)



Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Closed for a Day

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge will be closed on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 for deer culling.  A controlled, white-tailed deer hunt is a part of a comprehensive Refuge Wildlife Management Program.  This program helps maintain the deer population at a level commensurate with foraging habitat.

---Sue McGrath, Newburyport, MA


Happy Thanksgiving!


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.





Saturday, November 07, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~ November 7, 2009

Bird Notes




Retreat Meadows

Late this afternoon (11/02) a juvenile Red-necked Grebe was swimming about in the Retreat Meadows, viewed from RT 30. Other water birds included a few hundred Canada Geese along with several Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Black Ducks, and Mallards.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT




More at the Meadows

Wednesday (11/4) there were 3 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 22 Hooded Mergansers, 20 Common Mergansers, 6 Buffleheads, several Ring-necked Ducks,  and 1 Great Blue Heron. 100s of Canada Geese continue to come and go each day. Let me know if you see any yellow banded or collared Canada Geese.

---Al Merritt, W. Brattleboro, VT



Yesterday (11/3) I saw two male Buffleheads from the West River Trail, and a juvenile Bald Eagle today.

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT




Herricks Cove

A quick stop at the Cove today (11/6) gave us good looks at a flock of 26 Green-winged Teal that were hanging out in the first open water as you drive in the entrance road.




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