I saw a flock of Cedar Waxwings in the flowering crab trees at the former Prouty Center at the corner of Oak & High.. Also saw a mature Bald Eagle Sunday AM as I was driving north on I-91 at
mile marker 16.6 (about a mile before the Putney exit).
---Hollie Bowen, Brattleboro,VT
In late September I was scoping gulls at the St. Albans Town Park, when I noticed a Ring-billed with a band on its leg. I was able to read the number, so I decided to report it. Today I received an email letting me know that the bird was a female and had been banded in Varennes, Que in June of 2015 by somebody from the University of Quebec at Montreal. Varennes is on the St. Lawrence River, a little east of Montreal, and about 2 hours north of St. Albans. They also indicated that it was hatched in 2012 or earlier. Kind of fun to know a bit about the history of the bird!
---Nori Howe, West Brattlebro, VT
I saw a Black-crowned Night Heron on Tues 10/4 at the pond next to the rowing shed by the Marina. (The pond with the big antenna in it.)
--- Phyllis Benay, Brattleboro, VT
Birding Tour in Bhutan
Bhutan is a difficult place to get around and to get to. It has a population of 200,000 and the capital city of Thimphu has no traffic lights. (They tried them and didn’t like them!) The only remaining Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom, Bhutan was closed to outsiders until 1960. English is used as the language of business in the Bhutanese government.
Their transportation on the tour was a Toyota bus from which they birded and which they also used as a blind. Their bus was supported by two trucks which carried their tents, sleeping bags, portable showers, luggage, food, etc. Roads in the country are only 20ft wide and the country is currently undergoing a road improvement project. While on the tour they only spent five nights sleeping in tents, however the tent latrine was set up for them every time they stopped. The remainder of their nights were spent in hotels. The highest hotel in which they stayed was the Dochula Resort at an elevation of 10,000ft, providing them with a 360 degree view of the sacred mountains. Their buildings are elaborately painted and traditionally built.
The Bhutanese have a policy of Gross National Happiness. Traditional dress is required for schools, government workers and those who have contact with tourists. Carol reported that they saw many monks while touring Bhutan. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan, and they use both traditional and compound bows. Everyone works in Bhutan. Jobs are assigned on a local basis and the women do most of the roadwork.
Carol shared her photos of some of the flora of Bhutan. She said Primroses were everywhere. We saw beautiful photos of Iris, Jack-in-the-Pulpit three feet high, giant ferns (fiddleheads were often served for dinner), Red Rhododendron, Pink Rhododendron, Azaleas, and invasive White Snakeroot. Fauna seen included Large-eared Pika, Macaque, and Capped Langur. Domestic animals seen were dogs, Yaks (domestic and wild), dairy cattle, Southern Red Muntjac, and the national animal the Takin.
According to Carol’s research, 70% of Bhutan is forested and protected. On her tour 240 species were seen by the group. She herself saw 220 species, 170 of which were life birds. There are four kinds of pheasants in Bhutan and she showed photos of the Blood Pheasant and the Kalij Pheasant. Next came photos of the stunningly beautiful Satyr Tragopan, Snow Pigeon, Oriental Turtle Dove, Black-tailed Crake, Ibisbill (a 16” long shorebird), Verditer Flycatcher, Small Niltava, Himalayan Bluetail, Gray Bushchat, Plain-backed Thrush (25% bigger than our robin), White-tailed Nuthatch, Paddyfield Pipit, Coal Tit, Olive-backed Pipit, Great Hornbill, and Rufous-necked Hornbill. We also saw photos of: Green-tailed Sunbird, Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (tiny birds about 5” in length), Hoary-throated Barwing, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler, Rufous Sibia, Striated bulbul, Pale-billed Parrotbill, White-crested Laughingthrush, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Bhutan Laughingthrush, and the White-throated Laughingthrush. The last photos she shared were of the Oriental White-eye, Strip-throated Yuhina, and the Brown-throated Treecreeper.
--Carol Weiss is a member of the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club of Orange County, NY
I sent a copy of this to Dr. Burton Tepfer previously of BMH, who has been to Bhutan on business a couple of times. He sent me this reply:
I'm in Bhutan now, as it happens. This is my third visit for a month each, volunteering to teach at the hospital in the capital, Thimphu. I haven't been able to get to the prime birding areas here this time. Nice to hear someone has done some serious birding as there are so many birds here, and many have really never found their way into books. Yesterday I did see one bird that I did get pictures of last visit, the Himalyan Monal, an exquisite pheasant with wonderful colors- irridescent indigo in the male... georgeous.
Only one other comment- the population here is more like 700,000 people. It is small, but not that small.
Addison Snow Geese
Saturday was a good day to take another suite of photos of the Snow Geese at Dead Creek WMA from the air. At about 11:30 am the flock was assembled right at the front of the viewing area along Route 17, very densely packed. 6796 geese were counted by individuals from the photos. Searched by air Lake Champlain south from the mouth of Otter Creek to Ticonderoga, as well as most of western Addison County, but found no other flocks, large or small, of Snow Geese.
Back on the 8th of November, a similar count from photos from the air at the WMA was 7522 geese.
---Ian Worley, VTBIRD
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