This is the Vermont bird report for Friday, September 5, 2003, covering the
period August 29 - September 4.
Reports of fall migrants were dominated by shorebirds and the season's first
jaegers, all from the Champlain Valley. Despite the recent passage of several
weak cold fronts, passerine fallouts have either been nonexistent or
The first reports of jaegers on Lake Champlain were of 3 separate birds,
all PARASITIC JAEGERS: one from Missisquoi Bay in Highgate Springs over the
weekend and again on Sept. 3, and two birds seen hours apart along the west
shore of Grand Isle on Sept 4. Recent autumns have featured a regular
procession of all 3 jaeger species down Lake Champlain, so observers should be
on the lookout for these and other pelagics. Most are to be expected later in
A juvenile SABINE'S GULL was observed along the west shore of Grand Isle on
Sept 4, and this or a similar bird was sighted several hours later off
Charlotte Town Beach. Also present at Charlotte was a RED-NECKED GREBE, 10
BLACK TERNS, and large numbers of BONAPARTE'S GULLS.
A good diversity of migrant shorebirds was reported from the Dead Creek area.
On August 29 at the Brilyea access, highlights included 2 juvenile BAIRD'S
SANDPIPERS, 4 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, and 1 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, as well as
"numerous" LESSER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. The
day at Brilyea yielded 1 juvenile STILT SANDPIPER, 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS,
and a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, among the more common species.
Also reported from the Dead Creek area on Aug. 29 and 30 were an AMERICAN
BITTERN, 4 GREAT EGRETS, 6 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, an immature BALD EAGLE,
1-2 PEREGRINE FALCONS, and 2 HORNED LARKS. Unusual away from the Champlain
Valley was a subadult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in Middlesex on the 31st. An
adult BALD EAGLE was observed at Herrick's Cove on Aug. 29.
An interesting observation from Newport on Sept. 3 was of >60 TURKEY VULTURES
entering a roost at 6:30 pm, suggesting that this species is on the southward
Raptor migration appears to be off to a slow start. Observations beginning on
Aug. 23 at a long-term hawkwatch site on Putney Mountain yielded 19
BALD EAGLES, 2 NORHERN HARRIERS, 29 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, and 38 BROAD-WINGED
HAWKS through Sept. 2.
In the Lake Memphremagog area around Newport on Aug. 30, highlights included 5
PIED-BILLED GREBES, 2 MERLINS, and 15 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. Later that day
in Island Pond, 20 NORTHERN FLICKERS and 6 BOREAL CHICKADEES were notable. At
Moose Bog in Ferdinand on Aug. 31, an apparent family group of 7 SPRUCE GROUSE
was observed at close range. Also reported from this site was an
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, an intriguing record as the species is not not
breed in VT, yet is generally not found as a migrant in the state before the
3rd week of September.
Reports of other migrant passerines were scarce during the past week. A
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was observed at Basin Harbor in Charlotte on Aug.
30. On the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline on Sept. 3, presumed passage migrants
included 1 VEERY, 13 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS, 3 BLACK-THROATED GREEN
WARBLERS, 2 OVENBIRDS, and an immature male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. Local
resident species heard included a singing WINTER WREN, 3 calling BICKNELL'S
THRUSHES, and a singing BLACKPOLL WARBLER. In Norwich on Sept. 2, an EASTERN
WOOD-PEWEE and RED-EYED VIREO continued to sing on their breeding territories.
Thanks to the following contributors whose observations are cited above:
Colborn, Chip Darmstadt, Sue Elliott, David Hoag, Beth Hughes, Hank Kaestner,
Maeve Kim, Mark LaBarr, Dick Lavallee, Scott Morrical, Ted Murin, Frederick
Chris Pratt, Bill and Jeanne Prue, Chris Rimmer, Bob and Lyla Slayton, and
This message is also available by phone recording: call 802-457-1053 and press
6 as directed. If you have any interesting birds to report, you can leave a
message by pressing 5 or send your sightings to the RBA via e-mail at:
[log in to unmask]
Chris Rimmer, Kent McFarland, Roz Renfrew
VT RBA Compilers
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
27023 Church Hill Road
Woodstock, VT 05091
802-457-2779 ext 120