This is the Vermont bird report for Friday, October 31, 2003, covering the
period October 24-30.
The past week was notable mainly for the numbers of observers who reported
their sightings, many no doubt in response to the Vermont eBird "Fall Flight"
kick-off from Oct 24-27. As of today, some 100 checklists have been submitted
to the VT eBird website http://www.ebird.org/VINS/, and a summary will soon be
available there. We hope this trend continues, as eBird promises to be a
powerful and user-friendly tool to organize Vermont bird records, with many
valuable conservation spin-offs.
Loon migration does not yet appear to have begun in earnest, with scattered
reports only of 1-4 COMMON LOONS from several sites on Lake Champlain, and 1-2
birds on several "inland" lakes and ponds. All 3 regularly-occurring grebe
species were reported. Five PIED-BILLED GREBES were observed on Lake Bomossen
on Oct 24 and two birds on Berlin Pond on the 28th. Up to 5 HORNED GREBES
found on Lake Champlain in Charlotte on Oct 25, and 7 birds were reported from
Lake Memphremagog on the 28th. Three RED-NECKED GREBES were observed on Lake
Champlain off Charlotte on Oct 25.
In Shoreham, 4 GREAT BLUE HERONS were observed on Oct 25. A late TURKEY
VULTURE was seen in Shoreham on Oct 25, and a surprisingly large group of 14
was reported from Colchester on the 27th.
Predictably, waterfowl reports dominated cyberspace, with SNOW GOOSE
Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area (DCWMA) exceeding 8,000 on Oct 25. A
single ROSS' GOOSE was identified and photographed among the Snows on the
25th. Dabbling Ducks at DCWMA included maxima of 50 MALLARDS on Oct 30, 15
AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS on Oct 25, 30+ GREEN-WINGED TEAL on the 26th, and 1
NORTHERN PINTAIL on Oct 30. Other waterfowl reports from around the state
included 30 WOOD DUCKS, 2 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 88 BLACK SCOTERS, 11 HOODED
MERGANSERS, and 7 COMMON MERGANSERS on Lake Bomossen on Oct 24. Lefferts Pond
yielded 60 CANADA GEESE, 3 WOOD DUCKS, 5 AM. BLACK DUCKS, 4 RING-NECKED DUCKS,
11 HOODED and 5 COMMON MERGANSERS on the same date. Other diving ducks
reported from Lake Champlain, all on Oct 25, included 6 and 7 BUFFLEHEADS at
Potash Bay and the Charlotte Ferry, respectively, 3 BLACK SCOTERS at Charlotte
Town Beach, 14 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 10 LONG-TAILED DUCKS at the Tri-Town
Plant, and a mixed raft of ~100 BLACK and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS at Potash Bay.
Notable waterfowl on Berlin Pond on Oct 26 and 28 included 2 GADWALL, 3
RINGED-NECKED DUCKS, 5 BUFFLEHEAD, 18 BLACK SCOTERS, 2 LONG-TAILED DUCKS,
HOODED MERGANSERS. Rounding out waterfowl reports, 42 RING-NECKED DUCKS and 3
HOODED MERGANSERS were observed on a small pond along Berlin Pond Road in
Willamstown on Oct 30.
Raptor reports included a 1 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK in New Haven on Oct 25 and
several light and dark morph birds at DCWMA on the same date. NORTHERN
HARRIERS were reported from several locations in DCWMA on Oct 25, and a single
PEREGRINE FALCON was observed in Charlotte on the 25th. A late OSPREY was
reported from Chittenden Reservoir on Oct 24. The only owl reported was the
season's first SHORT-EARED OWL from the west shore of Grand Isle on Oct 27.
A lone AMERICAN COOT was on Lake Pinneo in Quechee on Oct 30, probably the
bird seen there a week earlier.
A few lingering migrant shorebirds were noted. At Button Bay in Charlotte on
Oct 25, 3 GREATER YELLOWLEGS were found, while a single bird was at DCWMA's
Brilyea access on Oct 30 and 3 additional birds later that day on Little Otter
Creek in New Haven. A late WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was observed on the Brilyea
causeway on Oct 30, and 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS were along the flooded Little
Otter Creek in New Haven on the same date.
Reports of passerines, migrant or otherwise, were scarce. Single CAROLINA
WRENS were noted in Brandon (singing) on Oct 24 and at a Williston feeder on
Oct 30. Twenty EASTERN BLUEBIRDS in E. Dorset on Oct 26 were noteworthy,
birds were found at Lake Bomoseen on the 24th. Two VEERIES were reported at
McCuen's Slang in Addison on Oct 25, an extremely late date for this
VT. The only warblers reported were YELLOW-RUMPEDS, with single birds in
Norwich on Oct 27 and 28, 30+ at McCuen's Slang on the 25th, and 10 at
in Addison on the 25th. Sparrows continued to be well-reported. Highlights
included single FOX SPARROWS in Shelburne on Oct 24 and Norwich on the 27th,
and 2 individuals in both Rutland on the 24th and Williston on the 30th.
AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS are either late in arriving, or going unreported, as
only reports to date have been of 1 bird in Chittenden on Oct 24 and 2
Grand Isle on the 29th. A single CHIPPING SPARROW was also reported from
Isle on the 29th.
Blackbird reports included 5 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS from Grand Isle on Oct 28.
Several large flocks of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and COMMON GRACKLES were
at various spots in Addison County. The season's first reported SNOW BUNTINGS
included 26 in Grand Isle on Oct 29 and a single bird at DCWMA's Brilyea
access on the 30th.
A DICKCISSEL, identified among a flock of HOUSE SPARROWS at a West Brattleboro
feeder on Oct 20, was still apparently present on the 25th, but has not been
Boreal finches continue to be scarce statewide, represented only by scattered
reports of PURPLE FINCHES at feeders, 2 PINE SISKINS in Norwich on Oct 28, 1
EVENING GROSBEAK in Norwich on Oct 28 and 2 in Woodstock on the 30th.
Thanks to the following contributors whose observations are cited above: Ted
Allen, Carl Anderson, George Clark, Michael Cosgrove, Sue Elliot, Paula Gills,
John Harbison, David Hoag, Linda McElvany, Laurie Miner, Katherine Olgiati,
Pilcher, Barbara Powers, Frederick and Chris Pratt, Bill and Jeanne Prue,
Rimmer, Shelagh Smith, Ruth Stewart, John Sutton, Sue Wetmore
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
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]
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