This is the Vermont Bird Report for Friday, December 26, 2003:
Rotten weather, including drenching rains, seemed to keep birds and birders
alike relatively quite in the past week. But this is Christmas Count
season, after all. So intrepid birders have been busy beating the bushes
(and landfills and lakes and everywhere in between).
Perhaps the greatest avian gift of the holiday season, a VARIED THRUSH,
remained in Montpelier, at least as late as December 21 (and perhaps on
December 23). The thrush has been visiting a bird feeder at the corner of
State Street and Bailey Avenue. The best way to view this westerner is to
park in the lot for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (next door
on State Street) and watch the feeder (and the Norway spruces) from the
porch. There should be a birder's vigil there on Saturday, December 27, in
an attempt to add this rarity to the Plainfield Christmas Count.
Meanwhile, the Ferrisburgh Christmas Count on December 20, with a total of
79 species, included the following highlights: Red-necked Grebe,
Double-crested Cormorant, Snow Goose, American Wigeon, Black Scoter,
White-winged Scoter, American Coot, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Winter Wren,
Eastern Bluebird, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, Lapland Longspur, Pine
Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, and Pine Siskin. (Forgive the lack of exact
locations for these species; but suffice to say that they can be located on
and along the lake in customary birding hotspots from Vergennes to Bridport.)
Farther north, highlights at Sandbar State Park and South Hero on Christmas
Day included: an American Kestrel, a Northern Shrike and a Snow Bunting.
Meanwhile, Common Redpolls continue to frequent feeders and birch catkins
across the state. A HOARY REDPOLL joined the flock of Commons at a feeder
in Northfield on December 13 (and hasn't been seen since). American Tree
Sparrows are also being reported from scattered locations. Notable were 30
Snow Buntings at a feeder in South Burlington on December 22.
Other winter visitors from the far north included a Snow Bunting and a
Lapland Longspur, one of each, at the Lebanon Airport (north side of the
parking lot) on December 22. Another highlight from the Upper Valley
included a Northern Shrike perched atop a tall tree overlooking George
Clark's feeding station in Norwich Village on December 23. "As might be
expected," George reported, "no other birds visited the feeders while the
shrike was present."
Carolina Wrens made appearances in Woodstock, Norwich and Bristol last
week. And a Song Sparrow was in Woodstock on December 23. Farther south, in
Westminster West, a BROWN THRASHER stopped by to eat thistle seed from the
ground. (Here's a photo: http://www.sover.net/~heron/thrasher.jpg)
Thanks to the following contributors whose observations were cited above
for the period: Paula Gills, Bryan Pfeiffer, Chip Darmstadt, Spencer and
Doug Hardy, George Clark, Brendan Collins, Mark and Debbie Lyter, Kent
McFarland, Julie Nicholson, David Hoag, Anne Riker, Elizabeth Alton, Ray
Barnes, Lee Allaben, Beth Hughes and many others we've no doubt left off
the list (sorry about that).
We encourage you to contribute all your sightings to Vermont eBird, an
on-line database for tracking birds across Vermont and North
America. Visit Vermont eBird - http://www.ebird.org/vins/ for more
information. If you're already a Vermont eBirder - thank you for your
contributions to the database.
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science offers natural history trips,
lectures and programs. To receive a copy of our program calendar, stop at
one of our centers, call the office during business hours at 802-457-2779
or visit the VINS' web site at http://www.vinsweb.org.
This Vermont birding report is a service of the Vermont Institute of
Natural Science. VINS is a non-profit, membership organization located in
Woodstock with regional centers in Montpelier and Manchester. Founded in
1972, VINS' mission is to protect our natural heritage through education
and research. Your membership supports these goals and this reporting
service. Updates are typically made on Fridays. Please report your
sightings of rare or unusual birds to VINS , or e-mail reports to
[log in to unmask]
Kent McFarland, Roz Renfrew, Chris Rimmer
(Bryan Pfeiffer sitting in for those good folks this week)
VT RBA Compilers
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
Conservation Biology Department
27023 Church Hill Rd.
Woodstock, VT 05091