I very much appreciate the recent discussion about cuckoos. Having heard
one while I was in the field today, I was pondering the numbers I have
heard over the years against the number actually seen - zero! But I guess
it pays to comtemplate because fly it did - the first I have ever seen in
flight. Very thrasher like, but never realized how distictive the white on
the tail is in flight. Is this usually well visable in flight on the black
billed? I notice that the yellow-billed is generally more prominent. I
recognized the song as 'cuckoo' , but now I'm wondering whether I heard and
then saw a yellow-bill in flight --- and need to work on calls.
Each day I have been in the field atlassing for the VBBA has brought new
discoveries, interesting observations, and WOW moments! To share a few :
-2 snapping turtles laying eggs between the rails of the RR track,
-a young MOOSE!! crossing one of the fire roads in the GM Nat
Forest. Coincidentally, he went ambling up camp drive which has a street
sign at the end - Moose Way!! The moose's gate was a bit awkward, almost
seeming like it was limping a bit. It was about 1/2 the size of a female -
not that I have seem many of them or that she was seen in comparison.
-puddling Tiger Swallowtails - easily 200 on the ground with many more
about in flight. Every time a 'new' drinker arrived, it had to land in the
middle of the mass, not the edges. I got great photos.
- 4 familes of Wood Ducks in different blocks
-a condo village for birds? At least it seemed that way. When I saw a
female Rose Breasted Grosbeak fly across the forest road, I stopped to look
for nesting activity. I discovered a nest out on a limb about 30' above
the road. It's owners soon appeared - Scarlet Tanagers. While watching
them I recorded 6 other species in the vacinity - Black throated Blue,
Chestnut -sided WA, Redstart, m & f Rose-b G, Downy Woodpecker and 2 Red
Eyed Vireo. I don't know whether I was perceived as a threat or what,
but I loved the attention.
-synchronized flights: a pair of Warbling Vireos were flying from tree to
tree in a arching (as a hummer will do) synchronized flight path - back and
forth, back and forth. At that one stop, precipitated by a Wood Duck box
- (and chicks) I saw 15 species.
-breeding behaviors of Robins, Cardinals, Least Flycatcher (3!), Cedar
Waxwings, Grackles, Yellow Warblers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Kingfishers,
Chickadees, Barn, Cliff, Tree, Roughwing and Bank Swallows,,,, and much
more to come.
It's great being in the field!!
Charlie & Ruth Stewart
E. Dorset, Vermont