Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Saturday, October 30, 2010

{BIRD NOTES} October 30, 2010

Yellow Legs in Flight? © Hilke Breder

Bird Notes

Snow Geese field Trip

On Sunday morning October 24, we pried ourselves out of our warm beds at about 4:30 in order to get ready to meet any other crazy birders at Memorial Park and leave by 6 a.m. By 6:15 no one showed up (which really didn’t surprise us at this ungodly hour) so we headed north to the Snow Goose viewing area at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison, VT.

     We arrived 2½ hours later and were soon joined by three other members of SVAS. But, where were the geese? It was very quiet. Not much activity except for a few fly-by Mallards and Black Ducks that dropped down out of sight behind the dead cornstalks of the field to the south. A large contingent of blackbirds flew overhead and landed in some nearby leafless trees. A look down the barrel of the scope proved them to be Red-wing Blackbirds, male and female. In the short grasses of a large field to our left, was a dark bird that at first glance looked hawk like. Again our scope came into play. The dark form didn’t move, just sat and faced the other direction. Finally it turned its head and we could see that it was a hawk by its hooked bill. We all took turns staring and looking for a field mark. It eventually showed its dark streaked breast and flew off. It was an immature Merlin. We saw the bird again later sitting in a tree that was visible from the Brilyea Access road. Meanwhile the only geese were some flights of Canadas and two Snow Geese that were foraging in the cornfield across the road from us.

     While planning our next move, 5 Common Loons flew over that appeared to be heading toward the south portion of nearby Lake Champlain. We decided to head for the lake to a good viewing area known as Oven Bay. The lake was unusually calm, almost mirror like. Here we saw some diving ducks, but when we scoped them they proved to be 4 Horned Grebes in winter garb. We also got good looks at a couple of Common Loons that were fishing more than they were on the surface. Not much else, so we headed back to the viewing area.

     Voila! There in the far south field were perhaps a thousand Snow Geese milling around and flapping wings. They were quite a distance away, so were best viewed through a 30X scope. Overhead was a couple of small flights of these white birds with black wingtips heading for the grounded group. They too dropped into the gabbling crowd. This is what we came for. It would have been nice if they were a bit closer but, this is what birding is all about. You pay your money and you take your chances.

     Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that it was cold and rainy for most of the day. A much deserved “well done” for the three tolerant young ladies that accompanied us on this outing. Remember, fair weather birding doesn’t always produce the best birds. It was a good day.



What Birds Are These?

Yesterday, early afternoon, (10/25) I observed a flock of 23 long-billed birds flying south high over the Retreat Meadow in Brattleboro. No vocalizations. See photo attached.

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT


West Dummerston Birds

Right now in my yard (10/25) there are probably 50-70 Robins (many of them singing!), dozens of Juncos, 20-30 Cedar Waxwings. a few White-throated Sparrows, 3 Fox Sparrows and a Swamp Sparrow. Also there were Golden-crowned Kinglets, a few Yellow-rumps and a late Common Yellowthroat.
---Hector Galbraith, W. Dummerston, VT


Hinsdale Setback & West B. Bird Behavior

Yesterday (10/28) I walked along the river in Hinsdale.  The leaves, particularly the sumac, are still quite spectacular.  The birding was slow - other than the regulars, I did find a LINCOLN’S SPARROW and a Common Yellowthroat along the path out to the towers.  Also, a large flock of Cedar Waxwings, including many juveniles, was feeding high in the trees just north of the gate. 

     A bit of interesting bird behavior:  recently, we were trying to cut a dead branch out of a birch tree that had broken in one of last winter's heavy snowstorms but was hung up.   Shortly after Vic started cutting with a pole saw, a Chickadee flew into the tree and worked his way onto the branch and started scolding.  That attracted the neighborhood Chickadees, and before we were done, there were at least 8 agitated birds in the tree.   Instead of retreating, they showed no fear of Vic and seemed intent on defending the tree.  As far as we know, there was nothing special about that branch.

     Golden-crowned Kinglets are in the same birch tree this morning!

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro, VT



Blazing Hillsides

During the month of October, Mother Nature turns the Vermont landscape into a myriad of colors with a few strokes of her paint brush. The clear blue skies gather gray clouds and the gentle north winds soon become gusty and cool. Nights grow even cooler as the winds die under starry moonlit skies and Jack Frost takes his turn dusting the valleys with sparkling crystals of frost. Overhead can be heard the mournful calls of the first flights of Canada Geese as they wing their way toward southern climes. If you are lucky you may catch them flying across the face of a full moon. An awesome sight that will remain etched in your mind forever.

     Meanwhile winter is slowly creeping in. The trees have shed their bright foliage. The landscape has turned bleak, and our familiar bird friends have departed for warmer climes. The hardier species are busy, busy, digging in and preparing for the frigid temperatures of the all too familiar New England winter. Soon that white stuff will be drifting our way and we’ll be shoveling ourselves out with sweet visions of Spring dancing in our heads.




Please share your birding news with us.

What have you got coming to your feeders?

Are there any birds nesting in your yard?

What have you seen while on a trip?

Drop us an e-mail

 Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

and touches your heart.




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