Ted Allen, Eric Hynes, Ted Murin and I embarked on Stupid Gull Trip Number
1 today in the Champlain Valley. And what a day it was. Our intent was to
see as many gull species as possible. Our "survey area" was the Lake
Champlain shoreline from Shelburne Bay to the Rouse's Point Bridge in
Alburg. And our results: Well, um, er, OK, we did see lots of gulls today.
Some nice gulls. And, um, er, OK, we did manage to find a grand total of
three gull species: Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, and Great Black-backed
Gull. (Ted Murin's still double-checking to make sure we did the math
correctly.) We nearly managed to see a fourth gull species, but agreed that
Ted Allen's innovative notion of a dark-phase, first-winter Glaucous Gull
wouldn't fly (so to speak); so we were resigned to yet another first-winter
Herring Gull. In short, as Ted Murin put it, "There just isn't enough
winter out here for gulls." But we did manage to see the following notable
- Vesper Sparrow (1) along James Road about 0.3 miles east of Middle Road
in Swanton. (This is the second-latest winter Vesper Sparrow for which we
have records.) There was also a Northern Flicker there.
- Lapland Longspur (1) along Route 36 in St. Albans Town.
- Northern Shrike (1) along I-89 just south of Exit 17.
- Bald Eagle (1) off the Sandbar causeway and (1) at Shelburne Bay.
- Brown-headed Cowbird (2) at the Burlington Intervale composting project.
- Red-tailed Hawk (12) at the Intervale.
- White-throated Sparrow (2) at the Intervale.
We should point out that the Intervale composting project attracts lots of
birds (mostly American Crows and European Starlings) and warrants continued
attention. We'd also like to point out that, owing to the lack of gulls, we
did entertain the notion of a mad dash to West Rutland for the Townsend's
Solitare. But, hey, it wouldn't be a stupid gull trip unless we felt stupid
looking for gulls. We're proud to say that we did manage to encounter all
three merganser species, every regularly occurring Vermont starling
species, and each and every regularly occurring flicker species. So there.
Seeking your forgiveness,
Vermont Bird Tours
113 Bartlett Road
Plainfield, VT 05667
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]
Phone: (802) 454-4640
Enjoy Life. Watch Birds!