This is the Vermont bird report for Friday, October 24, 2003.
This time of year, you don't have to sit out at the Lake or head to Dead
Creek to witness the biannual miracle of migration! It was an especially
hot week for waterbirds. CANADA GEESE are migrating en masse, and SNOW
GEESE have been showing up in strange and new places this year. Whether
this is a result of a good production year, a response to changes in
stopover resources, or some other factor(s), the result is a treat for
birders in the upper valley area, who have spotted flocks of 10-80 SNOW
GEESE in various fields and ponds. It would be interesting to know if folks
in other areas far from Dead Creek are experiencing this new phenomenon. As
usual for this time of year, they have also been seen in the thousands at
Dead Creek (estimate on the 18th was 8,000), including the occasional
ROSS'S GOOSE, and flocks in the dozens to hundreds migrating over the
One of the most interesting sightings this week was a fallout of scoters in
the Bennington area on the 22nd. On Benedict Pond in East Dorset there were
three SURF SCOTERS, 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and over 110 BLACK SCOTERS
(plus another 10 on the nearby Bullhead Pond)! Lake Peran in North
Bennington had 25 BLACK and 3 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and there were 59 BLACK
and 8 SURF SCOTERS at Miller Pond in Arlington that day. The next day,
however, all of the BLACK SCOTERS had moved on.
A tour of ponds in southern Vermont on the 23rd was rewarded with several
waterfowl species. Visitors at Lake Paran included COMMON GOLDENEYE,
RING-NECKED DUCK, PIED-BILLED GREBE, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. At Lake Raponda
in Wilmington on the 23rd, BUFFLEHEAD, RING-NECKED DUCK, and COMMON
MERGANSER were found, and 3 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were seen at Ryder Pond
in Wilmington. WOOD DUCK and RING-NECKED DUCK were found at Sadawga Pond in
Whittingham, and PIED-BILLED GREBE and GREEN-WINGED TEAL were seen at the
A highlight this week was a record flock of 9 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES seen
from the shores of Lake Champlain in Charlotte on the morning of the 22nd.
The highest previous count for this species was only 2 in one day! Two more
were seen on the 23rd. Despite low winds in the morning on Oct. 18th,
several species were still seen moving through from the same shores,
including RED-THROATED and COMMON LOONS, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, BLACK,
WHITE-WINGED, and SURF SCOTERS, COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, and
LONG-TAILED DUCK. But sightings on the 22nd eclipsed those of the 18th,
with 14 species of ducks, including all 3 SCOTER species, 254 RED-BREASTED
MERGANSERS, and 58 LONG-TAILED DUCKS. Also seen were 97 BRANT and the
latest record in the state of COMMON TERN. Highlights on the 23rd included
12 RED-THROATED LOONS to outnumber the 11 COMMON LOONS seen, and 3 LITTLE
GULLS. Other treats along the lake included RED-NECKED GREBE at Button Bay
and Dead Creek on the 19th.
NORTHERN PINTAIL, HOODED MERGANSER, BUFFLEHEAD, PIED-BILLED GREBE, TEAL
spp., a DUNLIN, and a few GREATER YELLOWLEGS have been seen at Dead Creek
from the 17th - 19th. BUFFLEHEAD were also spotted at Richville Pond in New
Haven on the 17th, and GREATER YELLOWLEGS were seen at Delta Park on the 23rd.
The north winds that started up on the 19th brought a flurry of raptors
reports from Plainfield to Burlington. Sightings included RED-TAIL,
SHARP-SHINNED, COOPER'S, and RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, NORTHERN HARRIER, TURKEY
VULTURES, PEREGRINE FALCON, and a few ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS.
AMERICAN ROBINS have been reported everywhere over the last two weeks; one
observer counted 246 in one morning! GOLDEN-CROWNED and a few RUBY-CROWNED
KINGLETS have been reported throughout the state, and it's been another
wonderful week for sparrows: CHIPPING, FOX, SONG, LINCOLN'S, SWAMP,
WHITE-CROWNED, and large flocks of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS have been
reported from birders around the state. Flocks of SLATE-COLORED JUNCOS and
CEDAR WAXWINGS are widespread, as well as small flocks of HERMIT THRUSH and
PURPLE FINCH. A CAROLINA WREN and EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were heard in Charlotte
by the lakeshore on the 18th. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was seen on the West
Rutland Marsh walk on the 18th, and as usual, AMERICAN PIPITS have
accompanied the goose spectacle at Dead Creek.
Warblers are now few and far between, with reports of some MYRTLE WARBLERS,
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and in Northfield, a PALM WARBLER. On the 19th on Mt.
Peg in Woodstock, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was spotted in a mixed flock of
chickadees and kinglets, foraging in the bushes along a mixed wood/old
Thanks to the following contributors whose observations were cited above:
Sue and Mary Elliott, Bill Shepard, Linda Becker, Pam Hunt, Barbara Powers,
Allan Strong, Rosalind Renfrew, Ted Murin, Jim Osborn, Bruce Flewelling,
Stefan Sturup, Frank Rounds, Rick Renaud, Kent McFarland, Bryan Pfeiffer,
John Harbison, Mike Resch, Carl Runge, and Larry Haugh.
This message is also available by phone recording: call 802-457-1053 and press
3. This will put you into a menu where you will be directed to press 5 to hear
the RBA. If you have any interesting birds to report, you can leave a message
by pressing 6, or you can send your sightings to the RBA via e-mail at:
[log in to unmask] Or enter your sightings on Vermont eBird at
Roz Renfrew, Kent McFarland, Chris Rimmer
VT RBA Compilers
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
Conservation Biology Department
27023 Church Hill Rd.
Woodstock, VT 05091