Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Friday, July 27, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ July 27, 2012

Bullwinkle © S L Merritt 7.26.12


Bird Notes


My sister Sandy writes from Colorado in reference to the attached moose photo:  Look at that rack! This guy, that we've appropriately named Bullwinkle, visited us a couple of days ago walked up our driveway and then headed for the horse trough behind the garage.  It took a very long drink of water and proceeded to eat aspen leaves.  When he snapped the top off a nice aspen tree we shooed him away and believe me, shooing that guy wasn't easy. 


John Kristensen reports that Bears have convinced him to shut down the bird feeding stations at his home in Guilford. The bears showed their disapproval of no more seed, by dismantling part of his garden stonewalls.  When he reported it, the game warden suggested that since it was a bad berry season the bears were hungry enough to go into the wall after bees and hornets nests to supplement their diet. Barn Swallows nested successfully in his barn again this year and Chimney Swifts again chose his chimney for their abode. He also has a couple of Black Squirrels that show up regularly along with the gray and red. Black Squirrels are not a different breed, but just a morph of the gray.


Lani Wright, spent last weekend with the Wellfleet Audubon group at Monamoy NWR off the coast of Chatham, MA. She saw only several bird species, but all were life birds for her including Roseate Tern, Hudsonian Godwit and Marbled Godwit. The group chased after what was believed to be a Bar-tailed Godwit, but never officially identified it. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is located on Morris Island and is only accessible by private boat or commercial ferry from Chatham.


Mystery Songster

All season, spring and summer, I have been hearing what I think is a bird singing, especially morning and evenings, the tones to “Kumbaya” in various rhythm patterns at a high pitch, like on a fife or piccolo.  In musical terms it is an ascending broken major chord:  F-A-C-C-C usually, but the patterns vary and are always on the same treble tones of the F key.  I often whistle back to him in imitation (I am a musician) and he answers back with a great variety of rhythm patterns as if he is testing my musical ear. I desperately want to know the name and appearance of this bird.  I have never seen it, just heard it all around our place here in north Windham.  Could you please identify this musical creature for me?   Thanks!
---Radina Welton , Windham 

NOTE: My answer to Radina was: From your description I would guess Winter Wren.


Nest Construction of the Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebes build two kinds of nests: statant and adherent. A pair tried to build its statant nest in a corner above the main entrance to our house; not a good location. So I scraped it off. They switched to an adherent location, the trim above the back entrance to our porch. Here are photos of this process on my blog at:


Here is a comment on the first photo taken from Birds of North America Online:

 "...when building on a linear substrate without visual irregularities, such as an I-beam, a substantial linear base is occasionally constructed along the surface before a cup location is chosen."


Further on:

 "Adherent nests are begun by deposition of a base of mud and vegetation. From this initial mass, material is added upward in a half moon pattern against the surface. Once this initial attachment is completed, additional material is added to this base until the nest form is complete."

 ---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT


Springtree Road Shorebirds

Hector Galbraith called me @7:45AM reporting a mixed flock of shorebirds on the mudflats in the West River behind the Marina Restaurant, the highlight being 4 Sanderlings, along with a few Semi-Palmated Sandpipers and a dozen or so Least Sandpipers. I made a very brief stop @8:20 and the birds were still present.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


Sunday, July 22, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ July 22, 2012


Bird Notes


The Blueberry Bandits

My computer had some glitches so you may not have gotten the images I sent a few days ago, but I thought you might like to see. I titled them THE BLUEBERRY BANDITS. They got inside my blueberry bush netting so I was able to get close for photos. (See attachment)

---Paul Miller, Vernon, VT


Of Hens and Poults

I had a similar experience with Wild Turkeys to what you describe, Al. Wednesday morning, somewhere around 9:30, I turned off Meadowbrook Rd. onto Upper Dummerston Rd. westbound. Almost immediately I had to stop to avoid running over a large group of poults, easily over a dozen. They were accompanied by at least two adult hens. I couldn't stop long enough to get a full count due to traffic, but it was quite an entourage.

---Ned Pokras, W. Brattleboro VT


Green Herons

This morning (7/21), about 7:30, there were 3 immature Green Herons perched in a dead tree on Mather Road in West Brattleboro. Tree is to the left of the home with the backyard swimming pool. Strange place to find them since there is no water (only the pool) or marsh nearby.

---Al Merritt, West Brattleboro


Hi, Al, I've been surprised to find a (Green Heron) nest 1/3 - 1/2 mile from what I think are good feeding grounds.  I suspect that your birds are another example of how far from water they may nest.  It’s amazing how far away they may be.   And kingfishers similarly.....   

---Betty Gilbert



White Pelican

VT birders might want to keep their eyes open for a White Pelican that I saw on 7/21 flying south low over the Mass Pike (I-90) just east of the Connecticut River.  That puts it about 40 miles south of the NH/VT/MA state line.  The way these birds wander who knows where it might be right now.  Maybe it will use the CT River as a thoroughfare to visit multiple New England states this summer.
---Mike Resch, Pepperell, MA




Please let us know what you are seeing/hearing so we can share it with everyone.




Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT

Friday, July 20, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ July 19, 2012



Bird Notes



Birds at the Curves

12 Great Egrets flew into a shallow area of the West River, viewed from the Curves parking lot off of Putney Road in Brattleboro, and were feeding from 7:30-8:30 this morning (7/17). 8 Least Sandpipers, 4 Killdeer, 2 Spotted Sandpipers, and 3 Great Blue Herons were feeding in the same general area.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Cheaper by the Dozen

Yesterday (7/16) afternoon we were surprised by 4 Hen Turkeys when they arrived in our yard with their entourage of 19 poults that were in various stages of development. They trailed behind the hens mimicking  everything they did; Pecking grass and wildflowers that had gone to seed, jabbing at the ground, scratching the ground and pecking at it, etc. Amazing how they watch, learn and quickly retain that knowledge. They marched through the yard stopping once to grab an easy snack beneath the bird feeder, then continued on their way, finally disappearing into the heavily foliaged underbrush on the hillside. It was the largest contingent of young turkeys that we have ever witnessed here at Chipmunk Crossing. Today (7/18) they returned and were feeding in the wildflower meadow on the west side of our property. The hay is very tall there and most of the poults were out of sight.  Their presence was only revealed by the wiggling of the grass..                                                          



Balancing Owl Act

While riding his bike to Guilford, Burt Tepfer saw two large birds sitting on a wire that stretched overhead across the road in the distance. As he pedaled closer he could see that they were owls. Closer scrutiny discerned that they were young Barred Owls sitting side by side with heads turned slightly toward the side of the road. Looking in that direction he spotted the parent bird watching over them. Their unsteadiness led him to believe that it may have been their maiden flight from the nest.



The Owl in the Bird Bath

Al -  Do you want the picture of the owl sitting on the birdbath taken through a window at 5 a.m.? It’s not as clear as digital pictures taken close up.  (Martha, It is a Barred Owl)  Thank you, I'm glad to know exactly what it was.  (See attached Photo)  Now I can go look him up in my bird book.  I hope they like to eat red squirrels.         

---Martha Fenn, Brattleboro, VT    

NOTE: She also supplied the photo of the Black Bear



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



Sunday, July 15, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ July 14, 2012

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Red Feather Lakes, CO © Sandy Merritt

Bird Notes



Sora Rails (7/7)

This morning 1 adult SORA RAIL and 3 chicks were busy feeding around the edges of the Miller Farm Pond in Vernon. Nice surprise!
Also there were 2 Great Egrets in the West River behind the Marina Restaurant.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Little Egret in Quebec

Since I am in St. Albans for the summer, I went to see the Little Egret (adult nonbreeding) which was found on July 6 at the Recre-o-parc in St. Catherine, Quebec, on the south side of the St. Lawrence River near Montreal.  It is still there as of late morning today, 7/9/12, feeding actively along the shore.  It is the second record in Quebec, the first occurring in 1980.  

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro, VT   



Broad-tailed Hummingbird

My sister sent me this photo (See attachment) of the assemblage of Broad-tails that greets her each morning at about 5 a.m.  It is the common hummingbird at her home in northern Colorado.  Note in the picture the hummer with tail fanned directly in front of her, is living up to its name. They are fearless little creatures that attack the feeders before she can hang them on her deck. Frequently they land on her hands and arms if she is slow in hanging their food. She also writes that there are now 3 Rufous Hummingbirds that have joined the early morn fray. At the peak of the season she admits to going through 10 pounds of sugar a week.  Yipes!

---Chipmunk Crossing, West B.



Nature’s Insect Removers

Basically we still have the same group of avian creatures frequenting our little acre as we did last time. That is, all except one. A young Crow has taken up the chore of gleaning the insects that inhabit our grass. We watch with amusement as it walks back and forth and around the perimeter of the yard pecking in the grass. Sometimes raising its head to expose a large beetle in its beak or a smaller unidentifiable insect. It seems to be reward enough for its efforts because it continues this practice for hours on end. The only time the bird flies is when it arrives or leaves the area. This all takes place during the day shift.

          The night shift checks in at about 8:45 p.m. with the arrival of 3 Little Brown Bats that take over the flying insect eradication process. They flutter ‘round and ‘round overhead, black images against the waning light of the sky, vacuuming mosquitoes and other night flying pests. I found that they are roosting in a niche in the peak of our log home directly beneath the roof’s edge. Their droppings on the blacktop gave them away.

          Then too with the approaching of darkness, Fireflies start blinking in the garden like so many mini Christmas lights. When the month of June passed with no sign of them, we thought that possibly the lack of snow last winter froze them out. But, now in July they are showing up with numbers growing each evening. Somehow they managed to survive and are appearing a month behind schedule. For what reason, we don’t know, but it is a wonderful sight to see the trees and bushes twinkle again as soon as darkness falls.




Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

{ BIRD NOTES } ~ July 9, 2012

Baltimore Oriole © Dan Mosheim       and       Prairie Warbler © Hilke Breder

Bird Notes


Bird Notes

Perhaps you have noticed that the frequency of Bird Notes issues has slowed considerably. Correspondence from everyone came to a virtual halt immediately after the migration stopped. Take note that now most adults of the species are busy feeding young, and teaching them songs and call notes. The fledglings are receiving flight lessons and feeding instructions and if you are putting out rations of feed to attract some of these birds, as we are, you must be noticing that they are coming around in pairs and at times with their young in tow. At Chipmunk Crossing we have developed quite a list and I am sure that you all have lists too. Please share them with us so that we in turn can include them in Bird Notes for all to enjoy.


Chipmunk Crossing so far this week:


  1. Rose-breasted Grosbeak= 3 males, 1 female, 1 imm.
  2. Indigo Bunting= M&F, 1 imm.
  3. Chipping Sparrow= M&F, 1 imm.
  4. Cardinal= M&F
  5. Catbirds= 2
  6. Tufted Titmouse= M&F and imm.
  7. Veery= 2 (heard)
  8. Ovenbird
  9. White-breasted Nuthatch= 4
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Hairy Woodpecker= 2
  12. Robin= 2
  13. Phoebe
  14. Cowbird= M&F
  15. Crow= 3
  16. Goldfinch= 2 M, 2 F
  17. Purple Finch= 1 M, 1 imm
  18. Chickadee
  19. Red-eyed Vireo
  20. Ruby-throated Hummingbird= M,F, and Imm.


Abbott Road:


Barn Swallows


Song Sparrow

Red-tailed Hawk



Somerset Loon & Thrush

We stopped by Somerset Reservoir one day last week and saw a Common Loon paddling around the dam area. Along the road we heard the Swainson’s Thrush singing. We had not heard one in a couple of years. It sounds very much like a Veery song in reverse.



Baltimore Orioles in Dorset

Kit says the orioles are eating us out of house and home. . . she’s going through about a jar of jelly a week.  Even some of the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are eating it.  I took some pictures of the orioles this evening (See attachment)  . . . I love the tail feathers . . . enjoy!

--Dan Mosheim, Dorset, VT



Prairie Warblers in Montague, MA

(See attachment) I missed Bob Engel's talk on the Montague Sandplains IBA and the excursion to hear Whip-poor-wills since I was in Cape May, NJ at that time. So I ventured there on my own.  It is a fascinating habitat to visit and go birding, although I missed out on hearing Whip-poor-wills despite staying until after dark.

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



In the last issue of Bird Notes I reported having a Zebra Swallowtail butterfly on Hogback Mountain in Marlboro. Since I was the only one to see it and had no photograph to confirm my sighting, it will only be taken as a “possible” since it would be a first sighting in Vermont. On another note, Connie Woodberry reported seeing a Summer Tanager on her property in Dummerston on June 19. She had observed the species at Cape May and knew they shouldn’t be here so immediately notified us. We drove up to her home and spent close to an hour searching in the area that it was seen, but no luck. So, here we are again reporting it as a “possible”. But, at least it makes the list and alerts us to the fact that it could be hanging around the area.


Please let us know what you are seeing/hearing so we can share it with everyone.




Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT