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October 2003


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Ian Worley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 31 Oct 2003 05:57:12 -0500
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Hi Linda,

I do a lot of flying in the Champlain Basin.  I do see, from time to
time small, low level flocks of snowgeese overland in Franklin and
Chittenden Counties on the Vermont side, but seldom any distance from
the lake (almost exclusively west of I-89) or far from a few of the
larger open fields between St. Albans and Swanton.  I also see similar
flocks over the lowlands north of Plattsburgh on the New York side of
the lake.  [This is not scientific inventory, so other folks might be
able to add to this picture.]

I see low level flocks are regularly scattered over all parts of the
lake, from Mississquoi Bay (often in abundance) to the narrows south of
the Crown Point Bridge.  Many large and small flocks at low levels can
be seen throughout most of Addison County west of Route 7.  My
experience is that the low level flocks are visible for about a month,
with many being "regulars" in certain areas off and on for a couple of
weeks or so.  These flocks are much more active once hunting begins, and
fly in all different directions.

Flocks at higher levels (say 1000-5000 feet above the ground, and
sometimes higher) tend to be much more oriented to arriving, departing,
or transiting the Champlain Basin.  In the fall these are certainly more
abundant on days following cold fronts when the winds are northerly or
northwesterly.  Their flight paths seem focused on the lake and the
intermountain Champlain Basin as they proceed southward.  Once this
action begins in earnest I do see the migrating flocks not only over the
lake and adjacent lowland terrain, but a little farther inland on both
sides of the lake to foothill country.  (In Chittenden County this would
mean occasionally as far east as Underhill, Richmond, Hinesburgh, etc.).

I don't personally know their paths to and from the Champlain Valley.
 Perhaps someone else can fill in that part of the story.



Linda McElvany wrote:

>Hi Ho Folks - I've been having such fun watching the "under the feeder"
>birds; White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos,
>and for the last three days (in heavy rain) - two very soggy but still
>glorious Fox Sparrows. Watching the ground so closely,  I nearly missed the
>Carolina Wren in the feeder. I have neither seen or heard  a CARW in the
>neighborhood since August. This is only the second year I've had them at all
>so it is still big news.
>Question - with all the Snow Geese at Dead Creek, why do I never see  flocks
>overhead in Chittenden County? Are they all coming from the Northwest, thus
>over the Adirondacks and only cross the lake at Addison County? ...or am I
>Linda McElvany - Williston, VT