Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Friday, May 31, 2013

{BIRD NOTES} May 31, 2013

OSPREY with fish


Bird Notes



Retreat Osprey

Kayaking tonight (5/28) in the Retreat Meadows at 6:15 we saw an Osprey hover, dive head first making a huge splash, and come up with a fish.  Beautiful.  

---Connie Woodberry, Cicely Carroll, Bob Lawson


NOTE: The Osprey hovers above its prey in the water and dives with talons extended and head aligned behind the talons. It can carry off a fish equal to its own weight keeping the head of the fish pointed forward while in flight.



Shorebirds At Herrick’s Cove

12 Black-bellied Plover out on the point along with 1 Semi-palmated Plover at Herrick’s this morning.  Most of the black-bellied were in gorgeous breeding plumage. All looked similar size, but too distant to notice if any were golden.
---JoAnne Russo



A COMMON TERN was seen at Spofford Lake in Chesterfield on May 25th.

---Mark Suomala



Gulls and a Darling Starling

Visited the Welland Canal Lock 3 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada a couple days ago.  There were over 500 gulls resting on the upstream end of the canal works.  They would occasionally fly over or pick up some food item from the surface of the rising water in the lock.  Was not expecting but not entirely surprised by the starling on top of a light pole imitating in high fidelity the "Scree!" call of the gulls.  I sort of miss starlings.  

---Tom Prunier




Photography by Chris Petrak

I am honored to be exhibiting my photographs as artist of the month – June, 2013 – in the:

      Crowell Art Gallery

        Moore Free Library

        23 West Street

      Newfane, VT


Open House and Reception on Saturday, June 1

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM


Moore Free Library Hours:

Tuesday – Friday 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Saturday 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM



Please share your birding news with us.

Any new migrants?

What have you seen while on a trip?


Al Merritt



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

{BIRD NOTES} May 28, 2013


Bird Notes



3rd Warning—Bears are Out and About and they are HUNGRY!

Well, it happened.  Looked out this morning and saw a branch down and lilac blooms all over the ground. Went out to take a closer look - NO bird feeder. Can't find it anywhere in the yard, so it appears my visitor just took the feeder with him for a snack later.  So, beware, my friends in the Greenleaf Street area. He/she has returned!
---Laurie Miner, W Brattleboro, VT


Westgate Catbird

Yes, for the first time I have a Catbird at my suet feeder in Westgate, West Brattleboro.

---Lynn Martin 


Cove and Marina Sightings

Two Black Terns brightened the cold rainy gray of Herrick’s Cove this morning. At the Marina in Brattleboro 2 Dunlin, 6 Least Sandpipers, ~12 Semi-palmated Plover, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs, and 6 Spotted Sandpipers were working the mudflats and shallows. A female Common Merganser was leading her 13 ducklings about including a lazy/smart one riding on her back.

---Dave Johnston, W. Brattleboro, VT



Birds of Brazil

Just back from a trip to Brazil, on the Atlantic coast between Sao Paulo and Rio, on the Tropic of Capricorn. (Our son lives there!) Saw and heard lots of birds and wish I were more knowledgeable.

These are the birds I am sure of:

Masked Water Tyrant

Southern Lapwing

Black Vulture (lots!) And the following:


Green-headed Tanager © Cornell Lab



Brazilian Tanager © Arthur Grosset



Red-necked Tanager © Arthur Grosset


The tanagers were magnificent -such colors.  Saw lots more in the distance that I couldn't ID - swallows, flocks of parrots, "little brown birds", various sparrow-types. Lots of fun - next time I'll try to be better prepared.

---Marj Wright, Marlboro, VT


Nighthawks Over Panasian

About 9 P.M. or so last night, Meg and I were coming out of Panasian in the Staples plaza, and heard a Common Nighthawk peenting overhead. First one we've heard in probably several years.  


---Ned Pokras, West Brattleboro


Acrobatic Hummer

The male Ruby-throated Hummingbird has only been here a few days and already he is chasing the female through the yard.  As the female hides in the new shoots of the Bee-Balm, he puts on his acrobatic pendulum act where he dives down over her head then quickly elevates and dives again back and forth forming a “U” shaped pattern in the airspace above her. If he is lucky she will fly out of hiding and join up with him. Today she stayed hidden and he gave up and flew off. She eventually revealed herself and flew off in a different direction.


Please share your birding news with us.

Any new migrants?

What have you seen while on a trip?


Al Merritt



Sunday, May 26, 2013

{BIRD NOTES} May 26, 2013



Least Bittern --Google


Bird Notes




LEAST BITTERN was reported from the Connecticut River in Hinsdale on May 18th.

---BirdEast Hotline



Guilford Sights and Sounds

The lushness of the vegetation and the richness of the song takes my breath away this time of year:  finches, RB Grosbeaks, Bobolinks, (a few). A Scarlet Tanager, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Tree Swallows, a Kingfisher, an Indigo Bunting, Song Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, a Blue-winged Warbler, Eastern Kingbirds, and more.  But no House Wrens - I wonder why?

---Susan James, Guilford, VT



This is the first time I have ever had Catbirds in my yard.   Also I have a Downy Woodpecker drinking from the hummingbird feeder. I think this is highly unusual. I saw the same thing down in CT just recently.

---Geraldine Golet, W. Dover, VT


Shorebirds Continue at Retreat Meadows

Thanks to Hector Galbraith’s report of the shorebird fallout we were finally able to visit there today (5/25).  Looking down the barrel of our scope we were able to get good views of the dozen or more Semi-palmated Plovers, 2 Least Sandpipers and half dozen Spotted Sandpipers that were working over the sandbars. We missed the Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitchers that apparently have moved on north. We also heard the rattle of the resident Belted Kingfisher somewhere up stream along the West River.




Please share your birding news with us.

Any new migrants?

What have you seen while on a trip?


Al Merritt



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

{BIRD NOTES} ~ May 22, 2013



Bird Notes




Retreat Meadows Shorebird Fallout

After last nights severe and protracted storms there was a fall-out of shorebirds at the retreat meadows:

Short-billed dowitchers   53  (all of race griseus, no hendersoni)
Semi-palmated plover   4
Greater Yellowlegs   6
Least Sandpipers  10
Spotted Sandpipers   8
---Hector Galbraith



Hummers in West B.

Just before lunch, I put out our hummingbird feeder for the first time this season.  I was somewhat skeptical about doing so, but while we were eating lunch, the first one arrived (though it disappeared quickly due to our movements).

---Judy Myrick, West B.



Seen or heard on Sun Hill Road in Putney recently:

Eastern Kingbird, Myrtle Warbler, many Bobolinks, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Chipping Sparrow, Ovenbird, Least Flycatcher, and Scarlet Tanager

Good Birding!

---Burt Tepfer, Putney, VT



Herrick’s Cove

One late Bonaparte's Gull. Singing Black-billed Cuckoo, Willow Flycatcher, Northern Waterthrushes, Magnolia and Wilson's Warblers.

---Joanne Russo



N.E. Kingdom Grand Slam

Just got back from a two-day stay in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.  Spent most of our time on the South America Road and the Moose Bog Trail and, for the first time in several years, managed to see the area's Grand Slam of boreal birds -- Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Grey Jay and Spruce Grouse, the latter giving us long and varied views as he flew back and forth off the bog trail a mere 50 ft. away.  The hardest bird to find by far was the Grey Jay and once it made itself known, flew off almost immediately.  In the past, we've had these birds follow us along the road in Victory Bog begging for Trail Mix.  This bird and his partner were not interested in such interaction, a big disappointment since it's one of my favorite birds.  The snub was somewhat mitigated when we saw our first Nashville Warbler and Northern Waterthrush of the year.  All in all, a very good birding trip to the Kingdom.

---Molly Martin & Michael King 



Adventure at Phyllis’ Marsh

A quick walk around the marsh was surprising in more than a few ways: there was not only a drop in temperature, but also several FOY's.  A Brown Thrasher was pecking at the remnants of bird seed, a pair of American Redstarts were singing in the nearby brush, and about 50-75 Barn Swallows were soaring about the marsh.  That would have been more than enough, but as I was watching the swallows, an Osprey swooped down and then flew up to a nearby tree with a swallow in its talons.  Stayed there for about ten minutes and then flew off.  Quite an amazing start to the day.

---Phyllis Benay, Brattleboro, VT



Arrivals at Chipmunk Crossing

Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrived today (5/21) from their winter quarters in South America. They found the sipping syrup that we mixed up and poured into the glass containers hanging from the eaves of our log home. We are sure that they are the same ones, or at least from the same family, that have spent numerous summers with us.  They knew the exact location of the feeders and hurriedly tested all the orifices. Simply amazing!  Imagine a journey of thousands of miles without a compass or GPS and finding their target. Think about it!  A day later we welcomed the arrival of a male Indigo Bunting in all of its splendor. Last year we were privileged to have a pair visiting our yard. In the wooded area on the hillside we hear the Veery singing its sweet song and the Ovenbird calling out “Teacher-Teacher-Teacher”. The Red-eyed Vireo never seems to tire of its “tooweet-tooweet” in the tops of the cottonwood trees. Not to forget the squeaking and mewing of the Catbird in the honeysuckle.


F  I  E  L  D    T  R  I  P

Saturday, May 25 @ 7:30am


“Phyllis’ Marsh”

Join SVAS birders for a walk through a private preserve with

mixed edge, forest, and wetland habitats and a potential for

 a wide variety of species on the cusp of their breeding season. 

Meet in Hanaford’s parking lot.



Please share your birding news with us.

Any new migrants?

What have you seen while on a trip?


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT








Sunday, May 05, 2013

{BIRD NOTES} ~ May 5, 2013



Bird Notes



West Brattleboro Spring Migrants (5/5)

A Louisiana Waterthrush was singing his heart out along the Whetstone Brook just north of my house this morning.  I wonder if it was the same one that I heard behind Discount Beverage a few days ago.  An Ovenbird was calling from the woods across the street, and a Yellow Warbler was singing by the bridge.  Amazingly, after not having any all winter, I now have a feeder full of very noisy Pine Siskins.  Similarly, Blue Jays were absent this winter, but have recently returned in good numbers.  I have seen what I think is a Broad-winged Hawk circling overhead and flying to and from the woods between Meadowbrook Rd and Orchard St several times over the past few weeks.  Nesting, maybe?  For the first time ever, I have Bluebirds - they are in the nest box ordinarily occupied by Tree Swallows, who moved into the box usually occupied by House Wrens.  Haven't heard the Wrens yet!

---Nori Howe, W. Brattleboro, VT



Migrants at Herricks Cove

A few nice migrants at Herricks Cove, Rockingham this morning including Nashville, B-t Green, Thrasher, Redstart, Marsh Wren & Orchard Oriole (male).
---Don Clark, Grafton, VT



They are Coming!

The migrating birds are doing just that. Many reports have come in from the Catskills of New York State, not in big numbers yet, but the advanced guard of the species that we would expect in the first waves; Palm, Pine, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Chipping, Song, Savannah, Field, Swamp, Fox and White-throated Sparrows. In New York’s Ulster County at the Shawangunk Grasslands area last week good eyes reported a Smiths Longspur! Way out of its Arctic range. I am told that it hung around for about a week. Be vigilant and for those with good ears, LISTEN !


We expect to be absent from the Brattleboro area for a time. But, please keep sending in your sightings and we will play catch-up when we return.





Warbler Walk


Saturday, May 11 @ 7 a.m.

Join local birding expert Richard Foye as he searches for Spring

songbirds along the trails of the Brattleboro Retreat and other

“migrant traps” along the Connecticut River. Meet at the “pull over”

opposite the intersection of Cedar Street with Route 30 at 7 a.m.

Sponsored by Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society




Bears are out and about. Time to bring in the bird feeders!



Please share your birding news with us.

Any new migrants?

What have you seen while on a trip?


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT





Friday, May 03, 2013

FW: {BIRD NOTES} ~ May 03, 2013

              Indigo Buntings

Bird Notes

Juvenile Red-throated Loon ~ Hinsdale Setback

Last Saturday I drove out to the Hinsdale setbacks to see the juvenile Red-throated Loon that's been hanging around there for the past couple weeks according to Hector Galbraith. It was very early and the water was smooth and mirror like. The bird was quietly floating about 75 ft off shore on the upstream side of the causeway to the power tower, perfectly exposed in the morning sun.


RED-THROATED LOON (juvenile) © Hilke Breder


Other birds:

2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers

1 Palm Warbler

1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

1 Great Blue Heron

1 small flock of Yellow-rumped warblers

1 Black-and-White Warbler

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



Ski-birding at Stratton Mt.

Thought of you Sunday on Stratton Mountain.  I skinned up the ski trails with my tele skis to the sounds of Winter Wrens, along with Juncos and White-throated Sparrows.  Their songs remind me of being on Monadnock.  I hear juncos and the white throats singing all the time over there.  Also saw a moose at the top of the ski area.   Second one I've seen in a week. 

---Jeff Nugent, Brattleboro, VT



BLACK VULTURES © Konchog Norbu


BLACK VULTURES at Morningside (4/27)

This morning I was walking/birding in Morningside Cemetery when I chanced upon this pair of Black Vultures. They were perched on the east side, in the trees along Frontage Road by the river. Specifically, they were just north of the obelisk where one of the former governors is buried ( Douglas ?), opposite a big memorial with the name Averill on it, and one that has several parallel Greek columns. I understand this is a bit of a rarity in Vermont , and maybe there's never been any evidence of a breeding pair? I saw them at about 9AM, then when I saw how rare they were, rushed back out to get pix about 9:30. Anyway, hope another pair of eyes gets on these birds.

---Konchog Norbu, Brattleboro, VT



Greentree Road (Marina)

The Killdeer are back in the plowed field below the Marina.  It was peeping not far from me, but sounded like it was coming from every direction. 

---Lynn Martin, Brattleboro, VT


SVAS Field Trip ~ 4/27/2013

Many thanks to all of you for joining us Saturday morning on this annual early spring bird walk. The weather was near perfect, though it was a little chilly (34 degrees) at the start, but it turned into a beautiful sunny morning in the 60s.  It was the kind of day that gave us all a chance to shake off the winter blahs and enjoy spring at its finest with a great group of birders, on the back roads of Brattleboro. If you stuck with us until the noon hour and you saw or heard all of the species counted, you would have realized 30 on your list. They are as follows:


  1. Canada Goose
  2. Double-crested Cormorant
  3. Turkey Vulture
  4. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  5. Killdeer
  6. Greater Yellowlegs
  7. Rock Pigeon
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Belted Kingfisher
  10. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  11. Downy Woodpecker
  12. American Crow
  13. Tree Swallow
  14. Black-capped Chickadee
  15. Tufted Titmouse
  16. White-breasted Nuthatch
  17. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  18. American Robin
  19. Brown Thrasher
  20. European Starling
  21. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  22. Chipping Sparrow
  23. Field Sparrow
  24. Song Sparrow
  25. Swamp Sparrow
  26. White-throated Sparrow
  27. Northern Cardinal
  28. Red-winged Blackbird
  29. Common Grackle
  30. House Finch


Phyllis Benay, Jan Drechsler, Bob Engel, Henry Glejzer, Richard Glejzer, Susan James, Patty Meyer, Greg Moschetti, Anne Moore Odell, Chris Petrak,

Emily Talley, Susan Whittemore, Malcom & Marj Wright, and trip leaders Barbara & Al Merritt.



Man-made Platform Attracts Osprey

The Ospreys have chosen the platform atop the power line tower leading from Vermont Yankee. Yesterday the birds were both at the new nest of sticks practicing landing techniques, or maybe it was a courtship ritual. When we checked them a second time they were seen copulating. Guess they plan on staying.



Please share your birding news with us.

Any new migrants?

What have you seen while on a trip?


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT