19 people joined Rutland County Audubon on a
marathon birding expedition through the Champlain
Valley yesterday. 57 species were tallied.
This report is a little long so I will start with
a question. Two snow geese were seen at Dead
Creek WMA. They were in the usual goose-viewing
area. Both were immatures. According to the field
guide they should have been in mature plumage by
January. Does anybody have any thoughts on why
this would be?
Shelburne Bay produced some nice waterfowl
including ring-necked duck (14), common merganser
(9), lesser scaup (1), bufflehead (24), common
goldeneye (1) and a belted kingfisher (1).
Meach Cove added more bufflehead (16), common
merganser (6), hooded merganser (3), common
goldeneye (5) and more belted kingfisher (3). Of
particular note was a rough-legged hawk (flying
in a northerly directon!).
Birds at Charlotte Town Beach and vicinity
included, barn swallow and northern rough-legged
swallow, red-breasted merganser (1), more
bufflehead (22), common goldeneye (3), red-tailed
hawk (1) and a northern harrier (1).
Charlotte Ferry was pretty quiet and included
bufflehead (5) and belted kingfisher (1).
Cedar Beach was also quiet with bufflehead (11)
and belted kingfisher (1).
Lewis Creek fishing acess yielded osprey (1),
wood duck (1), American black duck (2) and hooded
Long Point added more bufflehead (17), common
goldeneye (2), common merganser (4), hooded
merganser (1), great blue heron (1) and a
yellow-bellied sapsucker (1).
Basin Harbor Road along the Otter Creek included
osprey (3, with one on nest), great blue heron,
wood duck (4), and green-winged teal (1, in a
small farm pond). Basin Harbor itself produced
common loon (12), common merganser (3) and
Button Bay was a real treat with common goldeneye
(2), common loon (1), bufflehead (9), common
merganser (4), gadwall (12), lesser scaup (12),
ring-necked duck (5), northern shoveler (5),
horned grebe (2), green-winged teal (2) and
Tri-Town was also nice with bufflehead (1),
common merganser (6), common loon (1), common
goldeneye (6) and red-breasted merganser (1).
Also noted were 93 double-crested cormorant
flying north in two large groups.
Sightings at the Brilyea Access at Dead Creek
included great blue heron (3), northern harrier
(1), common merganser (12), wood duck (2),
northern shoveler (1), blue-winged teal (2),
peregrine falcon (1) and osprey (2).
At the goose-viewing area, red-tailed hawk (2),
American kestrel (2) and a savannah sparrow (1)
were added to the list as well as the
above-mentioned snow geese.
Finally in Brandon, along Route 73 along the
Otter Creek were a number of mallard in the
company of green-winged teal (30+), wood duck
(30+) and a few American black duck. Six American
tree sparrows were noted as well.
Also, throughout the day at these and other
locations in much evidence were mallard,
killdeer, turkey vulture, American kestrel and
tree swallow as well as the spring songs of
red-wing blackbirds song sparrows, eastern
phoebes, and northern cardinals among others.
Special thanks to Roy Pilcher for a great
itinerary, Regina DeCorte for a delicious cake
for someone's special birthday, and everyone who
so generously shared their scopes and knowledge
with the group. The horned grebe and the
red-breasted merganser were life birds for two
people! I think they're still smiling about it.
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