Piping Plover © Paul Miksis
It has been a while since my last communiqué. I hope you had a productive May bird-wise. Now it is nesting season, so any species you come up with now are nesting or in the process. Keep those reports coming in so we can share your findings.
Right now there is a good bird being seen at Minard Pond in Bellows Falls. It is a summer plumage Old Squaw duck or as it is now called Long-tailed Duck. Go north out of Bellows Falls on Rt. 5 and turn left on Pond Road. Follow it to its end at the Water Treatment facility. Park along the road before the chainlink fence and walk in on the blacktop pavement for a couple of hundred yards to the reservoir. This duck dives a lot and stays under for up to a minute, so be patient.
Your HELP is Needed
VELCO is beginning to cut along the power lines this week in preparation for the addition of a second row of large transmission lines and towers. This runs about 58 miles from Vernon to central Vermont. VELCO is cutting an additional 100 feet all along this 58 miles, which will wipe out the new generation of many nesting birds who are nesting in the vegetation and trees along the power lines. Many birds will not re-nest, and many need the edge for their primary habitat, such as, Rufous Sided Towhee (Eastern Towhee). Criss Carr, a VELCO employee, was sympathetic and is contacting their forester to see if the cutting can be delayed a week or so. That may be the best we can get. It may help if more people call her to underscore the concern. Her number is 802-770-6357.
---Susan James, Guilford, VT
Plum Island Birding
Robyn and I just returned from our annual week's vacation at Plum Island. Though this year's sightings were perhaps not as spectacular as last year's, rarity wise, the week was especially memorable anyway. We saw 106 species on the refuge. One high point was a whip-pooor-will, heard and seen in the daylight. The warblers were the treat. On the first three days we were treated to very large numbers of maybe six or eight species, including blackburnian, chestnut-sided and bay-breasted. Though later in the week there was no fallout, the species were still there but not in numbers. In those days I had life birds: mourning and nashville warblers, several clearly identified flycatchers, and a least bittern. We had 19 species of warblers, and, on the marsh, sora, moorhen, virginia rail, black-crowned night heron. And this little piping plover at Sandy Point(See attachment).
---Paul Miksis, Brattleboro, VT
Three Feeder Birds and an Owlet
I just want to report a vision of a titmouse, an indigo bunting and a male cardinal sharing my bird feeder together. Also, I came across an owlet on Orchard Street Saturday and stopped to get him/her off the road. He wasn't budging, but fortunately a policeman pulled up and called the wilderness people. Together we managed to persuade the little creature to hop over to the grass and it was suggested I go home to get a box for him until they showed up. The phone rang while I was there and the policeman reported that the mother owl had shown up and was talking to her child. She persuaded him to fly up to a branch and we figured she could manage him from there. He was the cutest ball of fluff you ever saw--I could have kept him as a pet! A barred owl, it turned out--easy to pick out in the book.
---Jean Pett, W. Brattleboro, VT
A Colorful Array
In our yard in Westminster West, we've had a colorful assortment of birds: Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Baltimore Oriole, multiple Warblers and American Redstart for a few. They showed up despite no feeders this spring because of a bear problem.
---Steve Belczak, Westminster West, VT
Not an Easy Find
I got my first Mourning Warbler yesterday, right here in Marlboro. I followed a power line cut into the woods for about a quarter of a mile, where the cut got wider. Amid the open, scrubby ground I noticed a small bird flitting around in a bush. It turned out to be the mourning, and I had diagnostic looks at it. Made my birding day! My current quarry is black-billed cuckoo. I heard one yesterday but couldn't find it. The search will continue.
---Michael King, Marlboro, VT
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
A friend is someone who reaches for your hand
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