Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Monday, April 30, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ April 30, 2012

SVAS Field Trip to Conecticut & West River valleys

Bird Notes



SVAS Field Trip: Bird Watching Along the Connecticut

It was the first field trip of the season and 32 degrees and sunny at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday. Not exactly the temperature that we would pick for our first bird walk of the season, in fact not for any birding day, with the exception of the Christmas Count.  The remarkable part of this walk was that an unprecedented 24 people showed up at Memorial Park at precisely the 8:00am meeting time. We started by birding part of East Orchard Street, then to the Retreat Meadows at the water treatment plant, on to Marina Road, and then the overlook at the Miller Farm in Vernon, with the last stop being at the Stebbins Road power line drive and overlook. By that time there were only 3 of us left. Despite the less than desirable conditions we were able to find 30 species of birds:

  1. Common Loon
  2. Great Blue Heron
  3. Turkey Vulture
  4. Canada Goose
  5. Osprey
  6. Bald Eagle
  7. Ring-billed Gull
  8. Rock Dove
  9. Mourning Dove
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Hairy Woodpecker
  12. Eastern Phoebe
  13. Blue Jay
  14. Crow
  15. Common Raven
  16. Tree Swallow
  17. Black-capped Chickadee
  18. Eastern Bluebird
  19. Robin
  20. Mockingbird
  21. Starling
  22. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  23. Chipping Sparrow
  24. Field Sparrow
  25. Song Sparrow
  26. Cardinal
  27. Red-winged Blackbird
  28. Common Grackle
  29. Goldfinch
  30. House Sparrow

Highlights were Bluebirds at the golf course, a Common Loon fly by on E. Orchard, an Osprey flyover and a perched immature Bald Eagle at the Retreat Meadows and a pair of Osprey that were busy making baby Ospreys on the railing of the power line tower near Vermont Yankee. We watched a second immature Bald Eagle fishing in the Connecticut River from our vantage point at the Miller Farm overlook. At the Stebbins Road power line driveway we set up the scope to view the eagle’s nest in a pine tree on the south side of the earthen part of the Vernon Dam. Our patience was rewarded with a look at an adult bird that raised up from the nest while all the time looking down at an egg(?) or a youngster(?). We should know the answer in a week or so. While this was taking place a Raven flew overhead announcing its presence with loud raucous croaks.


It was a great morning, with no thanks to the no-show of some of the expected species. Thanks do go out to the undaunted 22 that braved that frosty early morn to join us in the field. We hope to see you all on the upcoming field trips. (See the attached photo for a look at our group.)

---Al & Barb Merritt, W. Brattleboro, VT



There was definitely a nip in the air this morning birding Somerset in the Green Mts. The highlight was getting nice looks at a pair of WHITE-WINGED COSSBILLS before they disappeared into the forest about a 1/2 mile south of the reservoir. Other birds of note were 8 Pine Siskins, 5 Blue-headed Vireos, 2 R-b Nuthatches, 4 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 B&W Warbler, 1 Hermit Thrush and 1 Winter Wren.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



*NOTE: The first pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds has made their appearance at a feeder in Sullivan County, NY. It will not be long before they will be arriving in Brattleboro. Wash up those hummer feeders, fill them with sugar water and hang them up. They will be real hungry after that long trip from the south.




Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT






Saturday, April 21, 2012

FW: {BIRD NOTES} ~ April 21, 2012

Black Vulture © Floyd Austin


Bird Notes


Four Black Vultures were resting and preening in a tree overlooking the Retreat Meadows at the Rt 30 pullover from 5:30-6:10 this evening. They flew off to the northwest up the West River with the sun lighting up their silver tipped wings.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT


*Note attached photo by Floyd Austin, showing the dark head and white wing tips that distinguishes it from the Turkey Vulture that is more common to our area.



Lake Champlain and Environs

(4/16) Wickham Marsh State Game Management Area, north of Port Kent:
In the marsh: 15 Ring-necked Ducks, one pair of nesting Ospreys on top of a telephone pole, Downy w.p., Hairy w.p., Pileated w.p., Yellow-shafted Flicker, many Tree Swallows, 1 Eastern Bluebird, Bluejay, a few Song Sparrows, many Savannah Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos.

(4/17) Ausable Marsh State Game Management Area, north of Wickham Marsh:
In the marsh:  Black Duck, 100s of mallards, Green-winged Teal, Common Mergansers, Wood Ducks, Canada Geese (many nesting), Double-crested Cormorants, Ring-billed Gulls, two pairs of nesting Ospreys on top of telephone poles within 50 feet of each other, (lots of noise from the four ospreys when they were in the vicinity of their nests), 1 immature Bald Eagle, 1 Northern Harrier,  1  Sharp-shinned Hawk, two Great Blue Herons, one Belted Kingfisher, many Tree Swallows, Eastern Wood Pewees, Eastern Phoebes, Raven, a few song sparrows.
In Lake Champlain at Ausable Point: Several Buffleheads and several Common Goldeneyes.
Fun trip!

---Amy and Ed Klein, Orange County, NY

This morning (4/17) at Herrick's Cove, a very vocal Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Brown Thrasher.
---JoAnne Russo, Saxtons River, VT


We have a very active pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in our neighborhood on Kelly Road along with their smaller cousins.  Also, Bluebirds and (Tree) Swallows vying for nesting rights in the bluebird houses.  Go Blues! 

---Greg Moschetti, Brattleboro, VT


There was a pair of Towhees at Indian Pond (just off Gulf Rd. in Chesterfield, NH) this morning! (4/17).

---Lani Wright, Brattleboro, VT


On the CT at Wells River, VT we twice watched an adult Bald Eagle dive on small ducks about 4 times before the ducks flew off.  In the potholes where the Ammonusic River enters the CT we also saw 3 Otters which jumped into the water and then popped up to check us out one more time.(4/17) .  

---Tom Prunier, Westminster West, VT


The Hummers Are Coming, The Hummers Are Coming!

After a marathon migration from Central America and the southern U.S., hummingbirds will soon be back—and boy are they going to be hungry!




Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ April 17, 2012

Hermit Thrush © Wikipedia


Bird Notes

Grout Pond (4/17)

There were several Hermit Thrush at Grout Pond singing and displaying some aggressive territorial behavior.  In addition, 1 Common Loon, many Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Broad-winged Hawk, and two flickers.

--Mitch Harrison, Wardsboro, VT    


Herrick’s Cove (4/16)

JoAnne Russo & I birded Herricks Cove in Rockingham this morning. Highlights were 1 Purple Martin, 1 Horned Grebe, G Yellowlegs, Pairs of RB Mergansers & G Scaup. Upper Meadows, Rockingham had 2 calling V Rails & 3 E. Meadowlarks.
---Don Clark, Grafton


West Brattleboro (4/15)

2 Brown Thrashers today (4/15) in W. Brattleboro; one was on the side of Bonnyvale Rd and the other was singing from the top of a tree on Gateway Farm Lane. Also, two R-c Kinglets were busy feeding along Bonnyvale Rd.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT


West River Marina (4/15)

Don Clark and I had a Great Egret flyover, heading north, at the Brattleboro marina this morning also an Osprey with a fish, Vesper Sparrow and lots of Savannah and Song Sparrows.
---JoAnne Russo, Saxtons River, VT


Sand Hill Road, Putney

Hi AL, I have been birding Sandhill Rd in Putney a few times in the last 2 weeks.  There have been a pair of Kingfishers, several pair of Common Merganser seen on every occasion, Red-bellied Woodpecker several times, numerous Redwing Blackbirds, nesting Canada Geese, Wood Duck, and today (4/13) 3 Great Blue Heron. 

---Marilyn Tillinghast, Putney, VT


W. Brattleboro (4/17)

A Barred Owl has been giving out with an occasional daytime hoot the last few days in the wooded area behind our home on Greenleaf Street.

---Al & Barb Merritt


Earth Day

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mission Statement:

“To inspire a revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations.”




Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT







Thursday, April 12, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ April 12, 2012

Bird Notes


Deerfield River Eagle

Last Wednesday (4/4) I had the pleasure of a canoe trip down the Deerfield below Shelburne Falls.  Below Dam #2 we saw an immature Bald Eagle with some white feathers in the tail rise up ahead of us and proceed to climb up 800 to 1000 feet while moving downstream away from us.  Enroute a Raven dive bombed it 4 or 5 times resulting in wingovers and talon display from the eagle.  We lost sight of the eagle after this.  A mile downstream a mature Bald Eagle took off from a tree and flew overhead at tree top level headed upstream.  In about another mile there was perhaps the same immature eagle perched in a tree.   Wondering if the climbing behavior was an effort to keep clear of a territorial adult. 


Hurricane Irene did an amazing job scouring the Deerfield.  Below Dam #2 the debris was 15 to 25 feet above normal river levels.  Despite that we encountered an occasional hatch of flies, a fisherman who was not complaining too hard and the eagles.  

---Tom Prunier



Wilmington Eagle

Last week, for the very first time, I had a Bald Eagle fly across my yard--past my window--and into a tree at the edge of the woods!  I then saw him/her briefly in a tree--white head and all--until our resident crows arrived and complained loudly. Then he flew off into the woods.  This was right in Wilmington near the Deerfield River.  Eagles have been seen around Lake Whitingham, but never saw one here! Exciting! I am addicted to the Eagle Cam at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, so I was thrilled.

---Mary Ann McLeod, Wilmington


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT






Tuesday, April 10, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ April 10, 2012

Northern Harrier, male © Google



Bird Notes


The Vernon Gray Ghost

At about 5 pm this afternoon (4/9) we were crossing the riverside cornfield at the Miller Farm when we spotted a large, very light colored raptor showing white rump, dark wing tips, rise up from the grassy pasture. A quick grab for our binoculars and we focused in on a handsome male Northern Harrier flying low, tipping and pumping its way across the field in the direction of the farm house, then dropped from sight. We are in the habit of seeing them in their brown immature and/or female plumage, but this guy was gorgeous in his silver gray finery.


Moving along to the overlook at the field’s edge we saw 7 Common Mergansers, 2 Black Ducks, and a fly-by Double-crested Cormorant in the river below.  At the Stebbins Road overlook we watched a mature Bald Eagle fly past us and go up and over the earthen dam. At the Miller farm pond there was the usual Mallard pair and 2 Tree Swallows. Meanwhile, back at the dam, we counted 7 Turkey Vultures circling above.

---Al & Barb Merritt, W. Brattleboro


Retreat Meadows (4/7)

At the water treatment plant on Rt. 30, we counted 5 Northern Mockingbirds hanging out on the bittersweet covered fences. The lone Snow Goose is still with the 20 or so flock of Canada Geese. Sometimes grazing, sometimes snoozing in the sun with head tucked back. It is acting like it will stay awhile, so if you haven’t seen it, stop by. Not a rare bird, but let’s say unusual for our area.


Peacock in West Brattleboro

We have witnesses. We have pictures. There really was a Peacock around the yurt on our property, late yesterday afternoon. It wandered around for some time, and displayed several times. Yurt is clearly visible from Bonnyvale Rd., just beyond the corner with Miller Rd. The presumption is that it wandered from further out Bonnyvale, where there are some folks who keep exotic birds. Last seen this morning (4/8) at 10:15.     Cheers,

---Ned Pokras and Meg Kluge


There was a lone Snow Goose with about 100 Canada's by the Brattleboro water treatment plant on Rte. 30 yesterday afternoon (4/5).
---Pieter van Loon, Marlboro, VT


White-throated Sparrow singing in Retreat Meadow woods...(4/4)

---Judith Kinley, Brattleboro, VT


This morning (4/6) at Ray’s Pond on Abbott Road in West Brattleboro, were a pair each of Common Mergansers and Wood Ducks. Nearby in the fields at the Gateway Farm was a very large flock of migrating Robins.



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT




Monday, April 02, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ March 31, 2012

Bohemian Waxwing © Hilke Breder

Snow Goose © Paul Miller


Bird Notes

Saw the first Savannah Sparrow at the back of the fields by the marina in Brattleboro yesterday afternoon (3/30).  Nice crisp plumage with a fresh wash of yellow through the eyebrow.
---Pieter van Loon, Marlboro, VT


Thanks to Dave Johnston’s heads up, Hilke Breder was able to get some good photos of the Bohemian Waxwings feeding on the fruit of the crabapple trees at C&S on Putney Road. See attachment for a great shot. See also:

---Chipmunk Crossing


Last evening(3/30) at Herricks Cove it was still relatively quiet, but several Green-winged Teal have arrived. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was calling and pecking this morning (3/31) in Saxtons River.

---Mitch Harrison


Snow Goose in Vernon

Hi Al, Enclosing a photo of the Snow Goose that is with the Canada Geese here at the farm. It is tamer than they normally are. He was right by the barns where we drive by and not too disturbed. (See attachment)

---Paul Miller, Vernon, VT


Local Birding

Today's birding (3/25) started out nicely finding a Greater Yellowlegs at the edge of the pool inside of the water treatment plant on RT 30 in Brattleboro. A chance meeting with Hector Galbraith there led to more birding with him in Vernon on Miller farm land overlooking the Connecticut River. By the time I got there he had scoped Bonaparte's Gull sitting on a log with about 6 Ring-billed Gulls. As I was watching the gull, Hector spotted a pair of Long-tailed Ducks. As he was watching them, I spotted a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers. Some beautiful birds in a very few minutes... Tree Swallows were plentiful with a modest count of 130. Finally, by the Miller Farm Pond, Hector picked up the chip of a Yellow-rumped Warbler in a nearby tree, and we watched as it flew north.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro


FOS Chipping Sparrow

A Chipping sparrow was chowing down in the back yard this evening. Spring marches on!
---Charlie La Rosa, Brattleboro, VT


The Return of Spencer Sparrow

Each year about this time we watch for the return of a Song Sparrow that we have nicknamed Spencer.  Last Friday (3/23) I heard Barb remark that “Spencer is back!” Sure enough there it was scratching in the leaves under the willow bush. Three days later its mate showed up. Since the weather has been a little milder this year, they were a few days early. It is usually around the first of April when they both arrive. But, whatever the date, it is always a treat to see them for the first time in the Spring.

---Chipmunk Crossing, West B.


Ruffed Grouse and Siskins in Marlboro, VT

Two reports of Ruffed Grouse in the Marlboro area, one from Bob Engel and the other from Hollie Bowen. It’s good to know that they are still active up there in the high ground “boon docks.”. Bob also reports that Pine Siskins are still in his area.


As Many as 6 Sandhill Cranes at Bristol Pond?

FYI I picked out two Sandhill Cranes at Bristol Pond yesterday afternoon. These two cranes lifted off while I was watching them, flew south, then wheeled around and headed north. Moments later I spotted four more cranes flying north over the marsh. Possibly the first two birds had circled around behind me and then joined two more cranes, but I don't think so. Alternatively, there may be as many as six cranes in the vicinity.  Confirmation requested.

---Bruce MacPherson, S. Burlington, VT


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT