Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Sunday, January 31, 2010

BIRD NOTES ~ February 1, 2010

Northern Hawk Owl-(Google File)


Bird Notes


Northern Hawk Owl

The location is 2.5 miles east of the John Boyland State Airport at a snowmobile crossing off Route 105. The Northern Hawk Owl was approximately 500 feet south of Route 105 in an open area along the Nulhegan River. The GPS coordinates for our viewing location were N 44.78001  W 71.78243. This location is about 6 miles east of Island Pond, VT.(See photo attachment)

---Mark Barriger, Cheshire, CT



Vernon Dam Waterfowl

Above the Vernon Dam is the premier viewing spot for the waterfowl roost in Lake Wantastiquet during the afternoon thru dusk. Here are three reports submitted this past week:


Viewed from the NH side of the Vernon Dam from 2:35 to 4:15 PM on 1/23:

128 American Black Duck

 79 Mallard

  7 Hooded Merganser

  4 Common Merganser

  2 Bald Eagle

  1 Cooper’s Hawk

  5 Ring-billed Gull

  2 Herring Gull

 28 Rock Pigeon

  1 Belted Kingfisher

  1 Red-bellied Woodpecker

  1 Hairy Woodpecker

  1 Blue Jay

  5 American Crow

 20 American Robin

210 European Starling

  7 Snow Bunting

  1 American Goldfinch

---Lance Tanino, Keene, NH



Saturday (1/23), 4:35-5:05 PM viewed from Vernon above the dam:

  1 drake Barrow's Goldeneye

135 Common Goldeneyes

 30 Hoodies

 25 Common Mergansers

 25 Black Ducks

  6 Mallards

  2 Wood Ducks

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT


Saturday(1/30), 4:30-5:00 PM, viewed from Vernon above the dam:
  1 drake Barrow's Goldeneye
180 Common Goldeneye
 40 Black Ducks
 30 Common Mergansers
 25 Hooded Mergansers
 12 Mallards
All estimates are on the low end.
Ducks were still flying in as I left.
---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Connecticut River from Hinsdale, NH

Seen 1/23 at 2:10 PM from a vantage point below the dam at the Hinsdale Shooting Range:

  5 American Black Duck

  5 Mallard

  1 Common Goldeneye

  1 Herring Gull

  5 American Crow

  1 White-breasted Nuthatch

 51 American Robin

  1 House Finch

---Lance Tanino, Keene, NH


Wardsboro Snow Bunting

I saw a lone Snow Bunting along South Wardsboro Road near Shine Road in Wardsboro.

---Mitch Harrison. Wardsboro, VT



Bellows Falls Birds

While doing errands I took a short diversion to bird Mill Street in Bellows Falls. This is the road that dead ends at the municipal wastewater treatment facility and provides good views of the ice free Connecticut River down stream of the hydro power station.  Not much was seen in the way of waterfowl and no Bald Eagles were spotted.

 12 Mallards
  3 Hooded Merganser  
  1 Pileated Woodpecker  
  1 American Crow  
  3 Black-capped Chickadee  
  1 Tufted Titmouse  
  1 White-breasted Nuthatch  
  3 Eastern Bluebird (feeding on American bittersweet and rose hips)
  2 Northern Cardinal (male & female)
  8 House Finch  
  2 American Goldfinch  

---Ken Cox, Bellows Falls, 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.

Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society


A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.





Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BIRD NOTES ~ January 20, 2010

Red Crossbill (Google file)


Bird Notes





A tragic earthquake and now an equally devastating aftershock in Haiti has killed and distressed hundreds of thousands of Haitians. Relief efforts are underway through numerous organizations. If you'd like to help, it's easy to donate through the American Red Cross at



Red Crossbills at Marlboro College

The crossbills (apparently a male and female) were close to the Science Bldg. at the College.  There is a dirt road that sweeps around the campus and ends up there.  There were bits of the sand/salt mixture that seemed to have their attention.  With the approach of my car, they flew up into a small tree.  I stopped, turned off the engine, and waited.  She fluttered back down; he sat where he was.  Against the snow, I could see the end of her crossed bill (one forgets how big the whole bill is).  Perfect field marks, including her yellow rump.  He was brick red.

     I did get to see the hummer film (Thursday).  I had seen the saber-billed job in Ecuador at 11,000 feet.  There's a reserve up there and a guy rides a bike out the several miles and fills the feeders. Hummers and other nectar feeders galore. The other one from that habitat was the little guy with the puffy white leggings (just a few frames of it). It was also fun to see the stuff from the Chiricahuas and to consider the idea that black chins might nest near a Cooper's hawk. (The last time I was in Cave Creek, I saw one with a huge, bulging crop.) 

     Having grown up with Anna's hummers, it was great to get the low down on the sound at the bottom of the dive.  I had always assumed that it was vocal.

     Thanks for the heads up on the hummers!

---Bob Engel, Marlboro, VT



Hummers on TV

Thanks for the heads up on the Hummingbird program.  We really enjoyed it, and are looking forward to the return of our Hummingbirds in a few months!

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro, VT



A Thank You Note

Al, Chris' program (Birds of the Rio Grande Valley) turned out to be a wonderful treat tonight. 


Karen Davis



CT Buntings

This must be the year for Snow Buntings!  You probably saw that I had 150-200 yesterday in Hadley.  It was really interesting to read of all the recent sightings up your way. Thanks for keeping me in the Vermont loop, Al.    Happy New Year and Good Birding!

---Nancy Eaton, Enfield, CT



Vernon Buntings & Longspurs

I returned to the cornfield east of Stebbins Rd in Vernon this morning(1/18) to see if the Lapland Longspurs were still around. There was a flock of ~400+ Snow Buntings, a flock of ~ 150 Horned Larks, and 2 Lapland Longspurs associating with the Horned Larks. Beautiful day!
---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



NJ Wrens

We have lots of birds coming to our feeders down here in Sussex, NJ, including two Carolina Wrens who seem to enjoy the black oiled sunflower seeds as well as the peanut butter suet.  Beautiful little birds. Be well.

---Molly, Martin & Michael King, Sussex, NJ



Dorset Dove Roost

HI Al ... I read your notes from time to time. My wife Calista, reads them all the time ... Anyway, she thought you might enjoy a blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Here's the link...

--Dan Mosheim, Dorset, VT



White-breasted Nuthatch

Yesterday morning we heard a male White-breasted Nuthatch sing, a tiny sign of spring. Their courtship begins very early and on January mornings look for the male to begin his courtship singing of "werwerwerwer" as he bows down with each note. The female arrives soon and they go off together, keeping in contact with their little "ip-ip" calls. They roost separately in tree holes at night and may even sleep in a bird house. In spring they nest in an existing hole in a tree.

     White-breasted Nuthatches, found across much of the country, are best known for their habit of storing food in bark crevices and their amazing ability to move headfirst down trees. The birds often move along trunks and branches in a jerking, zigzag motion looking like little windup toys. You can follow their behavior throughout the year for they stay together in pairs on a range of 25-45 acres, claiming a smaller portion of this for a breeding territory. 

     Attract them to your bird feeders with suet and sunflower seeds, which they may carry away and store, or wedge in a crevice and hack open. You may have several pairs of nuthatches at your feeder, as their winter ranges can overlap.

---Don & Lillian Stokes Newsletter



West Brattleboro Sharpie

A flock of wintering Robins was foraging in a scattered pile of dead maple leaves in a roadside field along Abbott Road on Sunday. I could see them flipping leaves as I approached the spot. They spied me too and a few flew up into the low branches of the maple. Soon the whole flock of about 20 birds flew up and scattered in all directions. I lowered my binoculars and just sat and watched as they flew to distant trees along the hedgerow. Then to my surprise I saw the cause of the sudden evacuation, it was not me after all, but a handsome adult male Sharp-shinned Hawk that had landed on a low snag not 20 feet away. He sat with head cocked to one side looking down at the abandoned leaves. It had spotted those red-breasted thrushes too. I raised my binoculars again and focused on this magnificent creature dressed in his finest silver-gray jacket with horizontally striped, reddish-brown crew neck and bright yellow stockings. He hopped one branch closer and just stared at me with those piercing red eyes . . . and then in a blink of an eye he was gone.

     On Mather Road another small flock of Robins was observed feeding on rose hips in a roadside floribunda tangle. No accipiters here to harass them, only a territorial Mockingbird that at this moment was absent from its guard post.



Power Canal Birds

A stop at the power canal in Turner Falls, MA was fairly uneventful except for a few Canada Geese, several Mute Swans, the usual gull species, a lone female Common Goldeneye and 3 Belted Kingfishers.

     At the Turner Falls Rod and Gun Club we found 4 Bluebirds enjoying a cache of rose hips.


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


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society


A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.





Tuesday, January 12, 2010

BIRD NOTES ~ January 12, 2010

Snow Buntings© Hilke Breder  1/7/10

Bird Notes



If you missed the program about the hummingbirds you still have a chance to catch it on the New Hampshire PBS Nature Series. “Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air” will air Thursday the 14th at 9:00 p.m. and again on Tuesday the 19th at 1:00 p.m. Don’t miss it. The photography is fantastic and the narration is very informative. It is really a MUST SEE.



Turkeys in Putney and Birds in LA LA Land

Al & Barb, it is always fun to read about your turkeys, but now I understand! On the same Sunday your turkeys showed up, I spotted a turkey in my yard for the first time in the 13 years I have lived here in Putney.  After moving room to room to get a better view, I was able to determine there was a small flock foraging just below the hill. But was I surprised when they started marching single file up the hill and across the yard to see 1 tom and 17 hens! They fed under and up in a crabapple tree for a while, and then all of a sudden up and flew off down the hill and over the tree tops.  This week I have seen more tracks, evidence of additional visits.  

  Also, while visiting my sister in LA for the holidays we visited Sepulveda Wildlife area in Van Nuys.  What a great birding site nearby, which is a major roosting site for white pelicans, egrets, cormorants, 4 types of herons, home to many waterfowl such as pied billed grebes, as well as a habitat for many hummingbirds, songbirds and flycatchers, and of course hawks.  A welcome relief from our winter!  

---Marilyn Tillinghast, Putney, VT



Vernon Buntings, Larks and Longspurs

There were ~60 Snow Buntings, ~40 Horned Larks, and 2 Lapland Longspurs in the large cornfield east of Stebbins Road in Vernon this morning. Also, below Vernon Dam, a Kingfisher flew in front of me as I watched 6 C. Mergansers and 5 Hoodies fishing.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Snow Buntings in Manchester Center

I found a flock of about 80+ snow buntings feeding in a field on the North Road in Manchester Center after being alerted of their location by my husband (He does pay attention). They are located just after Overlook Road going toward Route 7 on the right in the cornfield. This is the second time my husband has found them there so they seem to be hanging around and feeding.

---Barbara Powers, Manchester Center, VT



The Snow Bunting photo in the attachment was taken by Hilke Breder while birding at Salisbury Beach Reservation, MA. For more information and several excellent photos of more birds seen in the Cape Ann area see:



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.

A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society



Tuesday, January 05, 2010

BIRD NOTES ~ January 4, 2010

Great Horned Owl © Bridget Cole and Snowy Owl © Steve Hersey


Bird Notes



Great Horned Owl in Colorado

Here is a picture of a Great Horned Owl at dusk taken by Bridget Cole, Elizabeth CO.  Note the bright eyes. (See attachment)

---Barbara Cole, Wilmington, VT



Brattleboro Area Barred Owls

A late day walk in the Pleasant Valley Reservoir area yesterday produced a Barred Owl fly by, but not much else.  Today, on a walk out to the Vernon Dam from the Hinsdale side, there was another Barred Owl fly by!  Two Bald Eagles were sitting at the top of a tree directly across the river from the nest.  There were a male and female Hooded Merganser and two pairs of Mallards on a log above the dam, along with a Belted Kingfisher who was patrolling along the riverbank.  Several ducks below the dam were too far away to id without a scope.  Numerous Tree Sparrows, Robins and Cedar Waxwings were in the trees and brush along the rail bed. A nice way to start the new year!

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro



Snowy Owl at Plum Island

My wife, baby & I got out on the blustery day today(12/26) to look  for the Snowy Owl at Plum Island.  We searched for a while without any luck - many thanks to the folks in the SUV we flagged down who told us to look in the marsh behind the maintenance buildings.  We did, and found the Owl a few hundred yards out into the marsh.  By that time it was sleeting a bit and visibility was a bit poor, especially for photographing a white owl.  (See attachment)
---Steve Hersey, Westford, MA



Waltham, MA Yard Birds

3 Chickadees, 2 Titmice, male & female Cardinals, one Carolina Wren; also five Blue Jays, and either a Sharpie or a Coopers, too fast to tell.   Birds have been scarce all year.

---Doreen Pugh, Waltham, MA.  



Turkeys Return to Chipmunk Crossing

It is good to see the Wild Turkeys again. They arrived during Sunday’s snow to glean the seed that had fallen from the pole and wire feeders and a handful that I had thrown on the ground beneath the pine bows for the Dark-eyed Juncos. There are 5 of them. A Tom with 4 hens. They apparently are roosting nearby, for they arrive here bright and early.



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.