Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Friday, November 09, 2012

{BIRD NOTES} ~ November 8, 2012

Bird Notes


Pine Grosbeaks & Orange-crowned W.

I saw my first Pine Grosbeaks this year, 3 females feeding on ornamental crab apple trees. I posted my sighting on the VT Bird List but omitted to mention that this was on private property. Anyway, the birds have moved on, but I have seen several other reports today in VT and NH of sightings, so expect we'll see more.  A week or so ago I saw an Orange-crowned Warbler on Herricks Cove, a lifer for me. This moved me to write an article on warbler migration in the blog "Birding is Fun" where I am a contributor.

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro


Mergansers at Setback

There were 18 Common Mergansers paddling around and diving in the waters of the setback at the bottom of Cotton Mill Hill this morning (11/6). We also spotted a Great Blue Heron sunning itself at waters edge just beyond the road’s guard-rails.



Retreat Meadows Scaup

Just off the Rt. 30 boat Launch at the Retreat Meadows, we counted 6 Lesser Scaup playing in the placid water accompanied by a large flock of Canada Geese and one pair of Mallards.



Power Canal, Turners Falls, MA

1 male & 2 female Bufflehead along with the usual large number of Canada Geese. We did not see the reported Cackling Geese.



A Flight of Golden Eagles in Oneonta, NY

Liza and I usually try to visit the Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch in Oneonta, NY once a year if favorable winds happen to coincide with a weekend. We usually have gone in late November and December when it was freezing cold. We had thought of going earlier this year. Andy Mason had posted last week on New York Birds that the weekend was likely to be good.  So after seeing 2 Golden Eagles at the I-84 Overlook(near Port Jervis, NY) on Saturday we wondered whether to go on Sunday to Oneonta to see more Golden Eagles. The most we have ever seen at Franklin Mountain in a day has been 8.
We decided to be "greedy" and went. Within five minutes of getting there 3 adult Golden Eagles flew in a tight bunch visible in one binocular field fairly low directly over the watch. Five minutes later there was another. Then it began intermittently snowing but over the entire day we had 21 GOLDEN EAGLES, 151 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Goshawk, 1 Merlin, 1 Bald Eagle.
I missed only one of the Golden Eagle when I went up the hill to look for White-winged Crossbills which had been seen there 15 minutes before but had flown.

There were two interesting sightings:
1. One of the eagles I found was a distant bird with a dihedral seen with binoculars which went behind a tree at #1 and then rose above it coming moderately low and directly toward us.. Its head was whitish and many called it a Bald Eagle. However with the dihedral and its flap ending in an upstroke, the lack of white in the axillaries or anywhere on the underwing I called it a Golden Eagle and explained that the late evening sun was hitting the golden hackles making them look white, as Pete Dunne says in his book Hawks in Flight on page 151 of the first edition "more than one Golden Eagle has been pronounced an adult Bald Eagle for this reason."
2. Someone found a partly leucistic Red-tailed Hawk flying very high. I was able to find it in my scope and its entire dorsal surface [upper wing and back] was white while the ventral surface [underwing and body] were of a normal coloration. If you have looked at a distant gull flying in a thermal, the way it seems to disappear when it turns because of the pale mantle getting lost against a cloudy sky and seems to reappear when it's ventral surface is facing us, this hawk was exactly the same.


Franklin Mountain data can be seen at .

---Ajit & Liza Antony, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY

November 11, 2012



Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT



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