LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for VBBA Archives


VBBA Archives

VBBA Archives


VBBA@LIST.UVM.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

VBBA Home

VBBA Home

VBBA  April 2006

VBBA April 2006

Subject:

Spring Atlas Newsletter: The Wingbeat

From:

Rosalind Renfrew <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rosalind Renfrew <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 16 Apr 2006 15:24:36 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (260 lines)

VERMONT BREEDING BIRD ATLAS POSTING

THE WINGBEAT

A Quarterly publication of the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas
Volume 4 issue 2
Spring 2006

Wingbeat archives: http://www.uvm.edu/~vbba/Newsletters.htm

Note from the Director: Atlas field cards and home sheets for the 2006 
season will soon arrive in your mailbox. If you need more or did not 
receive any, please feel free to contact the atlas. Have a great atlassing 
season!

CONTENTS

1. VBBA Time – an Inspirational Poem
2. Species Watch
3. Blockbusting Field Notes Part II
4. The Whereabouts of Whip-poor-wills
5. Meet the Coordinators


1. VBBA TIME
The following is a fun poem written to Bennington atlassers by Ruth 
Stewart, Northern Bennington Coordinator. It may serve to inspire (or at 
least bring a smile) to the rest of us!

Owls, woodcocks, hawks and raven
These early nesters we're a-craven.
It's time to check out what birds are here
For the VBBA now in the fourth year.

Pull out the binos, find your papers
Head into the woods for early spring capers.
Let's pull out the plugs for our best year yet
So our intrepid leader (Roz) will not have to fret.

Please let me know that you will again participate
Attached is some information to which you can relate
Remember how important we all are
Because this project will be useful both near and far!


2. SPECIES WATCH

As the atlas matures into its fourth season, it’s time to take stock in our 
statewide species list. What species might be missing or underrepresented? 
What species have we not yet confirmed?

For one reason or another, some species are more prone than others to being 
underreported, even if their true distribution did not change since the 
first atlas. These include species that:

1) are difficult to detect in the field
2) are difficult to distinguish from other species
3) require specific methods or extra effort
4) are specialists that can be missed if their habitat is limited or overlooked
or
5) occur in “irruptions” and breed in Vermont sporadically

Of course, these species could simply have a more limited distribution 
compared to the first atlas. The only way to feel confident about that is 
to feel confident that we didn’t miss them. Below are some of the species 
on the atlas “hit list.” Keep an eye out for them, and make sure you can 
i.d. those that could breed in your blocks. You just might make a new 
discovery!

A. Species that appear to be underreported in this atlas (so far) include:

…Owls owls owls! We need more of them. See winter 2005 newsletter for more 
details.

…Philadelphia Vireo: sounds like a Red-eyed Vireo, easily overlooked. You 
need to actually see this bird in order to confidently identify it. Found 
on 20 blocks in the first atlas, but on only 2 (so far) in this atlas! Not 
yet confirmed.

…Yellow-throated Vireo: If you’re not tuned into their song, it can be easy 
to tune them out, mistaking them for Red-eyed Vireos.

…Vesper Sparrow: Song can be mistaken for Song Sparrow or “blocked out” in 
the background. Found in 35 blocks in first atlas, but only 16 in this atlas.

…Red and White-winged Crossbills: irruption species. Found but not confirmed.

…Pine Siskins: we often don’t see them until the juveniles are flying to 
our feeders, and then it’s too late to count them for the atlas.

…Olive-sided Flycatcher: they are not very rare but they are also not 
abundant, where they do occur. You have to be in the right habitat to find 
them. See winter 2005 newsletter for more details.

B. The following are rare species that were found in the first atlas but 
have not yet been reported in this atlas. Those that are not already listed 
above include:

Gray Partridge
Red-headed Woodpecker
Loggerhead Shrike

C. Rare species we have found but have not yet confirmed include:

American Wigeon
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Red-breasted Merganser
Common Nighthawk
Tennessee Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Cerulean Warbler (best to search in early June for these)
Wilson’s Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat


3. BLOCKBUSTING FIELD NOTES PART II
- by Julie Hart
This is Part II of notes written by field biologists about their experience 
blockbusting in the Northeast Kingdom, 2005.

This past summer, two of my joys birding and spending time in the Northeast 
Kingdom came together and made for the best field experience I have ever 
had. I have spent the last few years traveling all over the country and 
even around the world pursuing a career in ornithology. I have spent time 
studying terns off the coast of Maine, loons in New Hampshire, Kokako in 
New Zealand, and, yes, even Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas. But all 
this travel has only made me yearn for home. I didn't bird as a youth 
growing up in southern Vermont nor did I bird while a student at the 
University of Vermont. I didn't take an ornithology class until I went to 
work with National Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Traveling 
around so much the past few years means that I still haven't been able to 
spend much time birding in Vermont, that is, not until Roz Renfrew hired me 
to help her with the Breeding Bird Atlas. And what luck it was for me that 
she needed help in the Northeast Kingdom. My grandparents have a camp on 
Lake Willoughby and it has always served as a retreat for me. It's the 
perfect backdrop to slow down and commune with nature. And what better way 
to do it than to go birding!

There was an ominous start to the summer season when it rained for nearly 
two weeks at the end of May. But the season turned out to be an amazing 
success. It was a rewarding and educational experience I won't soon forget. 
As a birder, you are taught to look for field marks to identify a bird to 
species, and if you are more advanced, to sex or age. As a field 
ornithologist, I have often found myself studying just one species and 
conducting behavioral observations; identification skills are not 
emphasized. Atlassing combines both skills and requires you to be quick 
quick to identify a bird to species with just a brief glimpse or a short 
call note and quick to find the bird, lift your binoculars, and determine 
its breeding status. It is important to assess the microhabitat, how far 
along in the breeding season it is, and the local geography, all of which 
help predict what species might be encountered and what kind of behaviors 
to expect. A few miles of latitude, historical land use, and local 
geography can change the breeding status of a species by a week or more.

I can't begin to recount all of the amazing birding moments of this past 
summer. Among the most memorable were watching the elaborate figure-eight 
courtship display of a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird,  thrushes coming up 
to investigate me with their bills stuffed full of insects, and discovering 
the territories of our boreal specialists the elusive Black-backed 
Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Boreal Chickadee, Rusty Blackbird, 
and Gray Jay. I tracked down the nests of Warbling Vireos, American 
Redstarts, Red-eyed Vireos, and Eastern Kingbirds. And even though I spent 
five months in Arkansas studying woodpeckers, it was here that I finally 
was able to study the habits of breeding Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and 
watch them wriggle their way in and out of their nesting cavities.

Even our base camp near Notch Pond was surrounded by breeding wildlife. The 
intersection of Notch Pond Road and Route 105 is probably the best location 
in the state to see bull moose or cows with young. A little farther up the 
hill is where the local bear cub would hang out. Osprey nested on a 
telephone pole over our parking spaces and the mere act of parking could be 
delayed while waiting for a Wild Turkey and her one or two-day old chicks 
to move down the hillside. Simply walking up the driveway to the camp might 
flush an Ovenbird or lead to an encounter with a frantic Ruffed Grouse 
barking and scurrying back-and-forth across the path while her fledglings 
hid in the leaves. The lone Common Loon that resided on Notch Pond wailed 
us to sleep at night.

I don't want to give the impression that there were no negative aspects to 
the work I did this summer. The wet weather created one of the worst 
mosquito seasons on record; many songbirds failed in their first nesting 
attempts because of the storms; I found my first biting ticks; and some 
mornings I spent nine or ten hours confirming only two species. Despite all 
the time I spent in the field, I still have not seen a Northern Goshawk or 
a Spruce Grouse. But these drawbacks were offset by the innumerable 
glimpses of what it takes to survive as a bird in Vermont's boreal forest. 
I feel privileged to have spent so much time observing their daily battles 
and triumphs. And while I know that none of my experiences are unique, they 
will remain as special memories from a time I was able to combine my 
passion of being outdoors and watching wildlife with exploring a place very 
dear to my heart.


4. THE WHEREABOUTS OF WHIP-POOR-WILLS

All evidence points to a dramatic decline in Whip-poor-will populations in 
recent decades. However, typical bird monitoring programs do not adequately 
quantify trends for this crepuscular species. Baseline information about 
Whip-poor-will habitat preference, the extent and degree of its decline, 
and reasons behind the decline are unknown. Last year dozens of Vermonters 
(many of whom were atlassers) conducted evening roadside listening routes 
as part of a pilot Whip-poor-will survey. Part of a region-wide Nightjar 
monitoring effort in the eastern U.S., the survey’s aim is to establish a 
long-term monitoring program for Whip-poor-will populations throughout its 
breeding range.

Using last year’s pilot results, the survey protocol and routes are 
currently being updated and improved. New routes are being established for 
2006, and in May people will be able to sign up for a route.

Sign up for a route, and by spending one hour listening for Whip-poor-wills 
on a moonlit night you will…

1) help us determine the “state of the state” in terms of where 
Whip-poor-wills are breeding in Vermont
2) help kick off a ground-breaking regional monitoring program for this 
declining species
3) participate in a blossoming range-wide database on Whip-poor-will occurrence
4) help gather the information needed to develop conservation strategies 
for this species
5) have a good time!

If you’d like to sign up for a route, please send your address, phone 
number, and email address to 
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask] or call 802-457-1053 X 
127. In May we will be sending out survey information and matching people 
with routes in their region(s) of interest. Routes are scattered throughout 
the state, the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can grab one in your area 
of interest!


5. MEET THE COORDINATORS: Tom Barber, Chittenden County

(Blockbusted in first & 2nd NY atlases).

My birding background…

My mom threw stale bread out to feed the birds in suburban Philadelphia and 
I began trying to identify them about age seven. I remember being 
fascinated by the "oil slick on water" colors of the purple grackle in 
sunlight. My first field guide, arriving via Santa that year, was the 
Golden Pocket Book of Birds. A family friend and member of the Delaware 
Valley Ornithological Club would include me on any birding trip he took 
that did not interfere with school. By age 15 I had traveled from Machias 
"Seal" Island in Maine to Key West, Florida, just birding.

While in college I and another birder spent an entire summer driving and 
camping along the gulf coast, south into central Mexico, up the west coast 
to the Olympic peninsula, east to Glacier National Park, north to Jasper, 
Alberta, and east across Canada to Montreal.

More recently my wife (a bird sympathizer) and me traveled for 2-1/2 years 
across North America, and birding made a lot of the direction decisions!

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2013
February 2009
October 2008
September 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
December 2007
November 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
January 2006
November 2005
October 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LIST.UVM.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager