Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Thursday, April 29, 2010

{BIRD NOTES} ~ April 27, 2010

SVAS Field Trip 4.24.10


Bird Notes

SVAS Field Trip, Saturday April 24

The sky was blue, and the air a crisp 34 degrees F. Not exactly an ideal temperature for seeking out early spring migrants. We only had the weatherman’s word that the thermometer would later attain higher digits. Regardless, sixteen undaunted birders enjoyed the invigorating walk along East Orchard Street and beyond to Gibson Road. There were a few good birds to look at: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Thrasher, and Field Sparrow as well as some nice patches of wildflowers, growing roadside: Red Trillium, Colts Foot and Bloodroot. Next stops were the fields surrounding the water treatment plant on Route 30 and then the cornfield along the West River Trail. Some of the bird species seen were several Song Sparrows, 2 Swamp Sparrows, 2 Savannah Sparrows, a Great Blue Heron, a number of Tree Swallows, 20 Turkey Vultures, 2 Red-tailed Hawks and a Coopers Hawk. At the end of the walk several of us drove to Vernon to check on the nesting Bald Eagles. We had a good vantage point to scope their huge nest of sticks. But, because the eagle was sitting so low in the nest only the very top of its white feathered head could be seen. This could only mean that it had the egg or eggs nestled safely in its brood patch. Time will tell. While there we added 2 more species to our list: Belted Kingfisher and Pileated Woodpecker. On the way home Barb and I stopped to check out the Miller’s farm Pond on Peck’s Road and saw a lone Green-winged Teal. All told we counted 35 species on a delightful Spring morning. It was just great to be out and about with such an enthusiastic group.

*NOTE: Hollie Bowen reported that later that afternoon she stopped to check out the eagles and found that one was sitting on a bare limb in the tree to the right of the nest.

PARTICIPANTS: Hollie Bowen, Bob Engel, Robyn Flatley, Susan James, Leo & Mary Laitres, Shaun Murphy, Paul Miksis, Jeff Nugent, Chris Petrak, Carol Schnabel, Dianne Shapiro, Marshall Wheelock, Lani Wright, and Al & Barb Merritt


Athens Hermits

There were numerous Hermit Thrushes in Athens yesterday along with Yellow-rumped Warbler, Winter Wren, and White-throated Sparrows.
---Mitch Harrison



Bennet Meadow, MA

On Sunday 4/18 I saw a Palm Warbler at Bennet Meadow and a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers on the rail trail between Northfield and Hinsdale.

---Lani Wright, Brattleboro, VT



Hinsdale Setback

On the 22nd we saw the first Rough-wing Swallows of the season along with the regular Tree Swallows. The Osprey pair was still busy with their nest building atop the north tower at the power line crossing.



Chipmunk Crossing, West Brattleboro

The pair of Ruffed Grouse that had been visiting our ground feeding station hasn’t been seen in a couple of days. While they were coming in we had a chance to study these two beautiful creatures like never before. Mostly you only catch a glimpse as they scurry across a back road or you just hear them “drumming” in the woods. We were surprised to learn something of their eating habits. They eat very little corn and wild bird seed but really enjoy their greens, eating dandelion leaves and buds on shrubs and trees. On the 22nd we had our first Hermit Thrush stop by, and have a pair of nesting Phoebes under our eaves. Other confirmed nesters include Black-capped Chickadee and Hairy Woodpecker.


The Spring migration is really starting to fire up. So, please keep those reports coming in so we can share them with everyone.



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.




Tuesday, April 20, 2010

{BIRD NOTES} ~ April 20, 2010

Common Teal from Google Images


Bird Notes



This afternoon there were two Osprey on the very top of the northern VY tower at the end of the trail out to the river in Hinsdale.  I watched one of them fly down to the river and back to the top of the tower with a stick three times - each time it seemed to put the sticks on a triangular platform/brace next to the red light.  A Great Blue Heron was working its way along the edge of the trail. 

     A Great Black-backed Gull, three Double-crested Cormorants, and several Canada Geese were farther down the river.  The Eagle was on the nest down by the dam, but I did not see the mate.  On the way back, a Hermit Thrush flew across the trail, and I heard a Ruffed Grouse drumming and a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  It seemed pretty quiet, but it was afternoon and it is a bit early! 

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro, VT



I saw a Hermit Thrush near the Daigle Hill Heron rookery in Putney.  A really odd thing was a Canada Goose 30-40 feet off the water in a heron nest at the top of a dead tree.  Maybe he was just sun bathing there.  I had a hard time imagining a goose landing on the pile of sticks.  Very strange. Also yesterday (4/14) I heard a Red-eyed Vireo.

---Lani Wright, Brattleboro, VT



A Eurasian or Common Teal was hanging out with several Green-winged Teal at Herrick’s Cove in Rockingham.

---Don Clark, Grafton, VT



Herrick’s Cove

This morning from 8-10:30 a pair of Blue-winged Teal, a pair of Black Ducks, 16 Green-winged Teal, pair of C. Mergansers, 3 Hoodies, a pair of Wood Ducks, Mallards, 14 Double- crested Cormorants, 1 adult Bald Eagle, 1 Osprey, 1 N. Harrier, and no Eurasian Teal. (However the Eurasian Teal was seen by myself and others on Sunday morning)

---Dave Johnston


Retreat Meadows

1 Osprey,9 Ring-necked Ducks, 1 Pied-billed Grebe, 1 Double-crested

Cormorant, at least 1 Barn Swallow with several Tree Swallows.

---Dave Johnston, W, Brattleboro, VT



Yesterday I noticed a lot of straw on my front step. When I looked up, there was a bird's nest perched on top of the porch light. Today a robin flew from the nest as I opened the door, and she has been in and out several times. I had to figure out a way to detour traffic and to come and go myself without frightening her away.  I placed a big plastic lawn chair on the sidewalk and taped on a sign:

  • GO TO BACK DOOR OR CALL ME AT 254-3484  

 The nest is above where I can see inside, although I COULD reach into it. That would frighten the mother of course. I cannot tell if eggs are there. I hope she'll stay. Meanwhile, I hope everyone respects my maternity suite sign and comes to the back door or leaves me alone.

---Maggie Newton, West Brattleboro, VT 



Chipmunk Crossing Birds

A Ruffed Grouse has been coming to our ground feeding station off and on for several days. (In fact it is feeding there now.) This morning I stepped out on the back deck and spotted a Broad-winged Hawk sunning itself in the cottonwood tree in our backyard. It immediately saw me too and flapped off over the treetops bordering Greenleaf Street. A second Broad-wing arose from the wooded area farther to the west and circled several times before disappearing behind the hillside. On Friday, the fruit laden ornamental crab on Greenleaf Street was covered with Cedar Waxwings gorging themselves on the over-ripe fruit. Across the street along Ames Brook, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has been announcing its territory with its recognizable staccato drumming.


EARTH DAY, April 22, 2010

Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year. Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Many communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.

In the United States, Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22. The United Nations celebrates Earth Day each year on the spring equinox, which is often 20 March. This is a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969. The first governmental recognition of Earth Day, authorized by the city San Francisco, was on the spring equinox in 1970. The United Nations adopted this holiday the next year and celebrated Earth Day for the first time on the spring equinox in 1971.


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.



Thursday, April 15, 2010

[BIRD NOTES] ~ April 5, 2010


Bird Notes


This morning, behind the Marina Restaurant in Bratt., a pair of Rusty Blackbirds picked through leaf litter on the wet, grassy south side of the cornfield finding worms to eat. At the north end of the field 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 1 E. Palm Warbler were busy catching insects in the brush along the marshy area. Other selected sightings at the Marina include a pair of Kingfishers, 2 Bluebirds, 2 Killdeer, 2 Savannah Sparrows, 3 Yellow-shafted Flickers, 3 Phoebes, and a pair of Wood Ducks. There were also 5 Common Snipe in the Land Trust field on the west side of Abbot Rd in W. Bratt. this morning close to the road near the farm machinery.
---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Keene State College Athletic Fields

Northern Shoveler - 1 continues in the flooded fields adjacent to the soccer fields.  Found by Ken Bergman the other day.

Osprey - 1 (FOY for me)

Red-tailed Hawk - 1


Spofford Lake

Red-throated Loon - 1 nice inland sighting


Hinsdale Setbacks

No Grebes or notable waterfowl!  Gone or just hidden from sight?

Great-blacked Back Gull - 4

Herring Gull - 1

Belted Kingfisher - 1

Tree Swallow - 2 (FOY for me)


Old Chesterfield Rd, Winchester

Golden Eagle - 1 Adult/2nd yr bird observed from a powerline cut on the road into Pisgah's south entrance.  I've had plenty in the mid-Atlantic but a state bird for me (I've spent many cold days on Pack Monadnock in the autumn to no avail!)


Forest Lake, Winchester

Common Merganser - 2

Double-crested Cormorant (breeding plumaged)

Belted Kingfisher - 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1


Swanzey Lake

Ring-necked Duck - 5

Northern Harrier - 1

Cooper's Hawk - 1


Dillant-Hopkins Airport

Mostly quiet but we picked up a few woodpeckers and birds in the pine stand along Airport Rd

American Kestrel - 1

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 1

Northern Flicker - 1

Red-breasted Nuthatch - 1

Brown Creeper - 1 singing loudly

Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1

Eastern Bluebird - 1 (our only one for the day)

Blackbird sp - 1 distant group observed from Rt. 32 in the area where the Rustys have been hanging out, but too far/too much heatwaves for us to firmly ID


Wilson Pond - Swanzey

Bufflehead - 2


Surry Lake - well flooded - the top of the Gazebo near the south end of

Village Rd is completely under water!

Wood Duck - 1 (our only one for the day)

Mallard - 1 (ditto?!  weird)

Am. Black Duck - 2 (ditto!)

Ring-necked Duck - 8

Common Merganser - 11

Cooper's Hawk - 1

Red-tailed Hawk - 1

Fish Crow - bird vocalizing - found by Lance, Phil Brown, and Peter Davenport the other day

Tree Swallow - 6

---Kenneth Klapper, Spofford, NH



F.O.Y. Warbler in Keene

My F.O.Y. Yellow-rumped Warbler was heard singing and seen hopping from tree top to tree top working its way north at Green Wagon Farm in Keene.
---Lance Tanino, Keene, NH



Yard Bird in Wilmington

 First of year  Fox Sparrow was under the bushes out back this noon! March 27th

---Barbara Cole, Wilmington, VT



Herrick’s Cove

An afternoon pass through Herricks Cove produced a good mix of waterfowl etc.
15 Bufflehead
 8 Hooded Mergs.
 7 Common Mergs.
 8 Common Goldeneye
   Wood Duck
 3 GW Teal
 1 American Wigeon
   Black Ducks
   C. Goose
 1 ad. Bald Eagle
 2 RB Gull
65+ singing Song Sparrows
---Don Clark, Grafton, VT




I have been trying to get pictures of a woodcock “peenting”; it took much trial and error, picking the right lens, the right settings for my camera, picking the right spot where the woodcock was going to land, when he flies in, and having less than 10 minutes to get the shots before the light is gone.  Last night I finally succeeded. The photos are here:

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



Retreat Meadow (4/1)

A quick after work check of the Retreat Meadows and the Marina yesterday yielded a pair of Bufflehead, 1 pair of Wood Ducks, 1 pair of Green –winged Teal, 1 pair of C. Mergansers, 1 C. Goldeneye, 6 Mallards, ~ 100 C. Geese, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Kingfisher, 3 Killdeer, 2 Tree Sparrows, and numerous Song Sparrows. At home in W. Brattleboro we had our 1st Fox Sparrow and Phoebes of the year.
---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



West Brattleboro Birds

A lone Raven flyover with three Crows in pursuit.

60+ Cedar Waxwings feeding on ornamental crabapples.

25 Robins were pulling worms in our side yard.

Red-tailed Hawk was circling overhead trying to evade the dive-bombing crows.



~   P   R   O   G   R   A   M   ~


On Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00pm there will be a program on Vermont Birds of Prey.  The southern Vermont Natural History Museum of Marlboro, VT will bring us live hawks, owls, and falcons.  This is an interactive program on Vermont's raptors with touchable artifacts, audience participation, and an engaging slide show. 

This program will be in the meeting room at Brattleboro's Brooks Memorial Library.

It is sponsored by Southeastern VT Audubon Society and is FREE and open to the public.



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.