This is a tardy report, but I spent a couple of hours in the Roy Mt.
Wildlife Management Area in Barnet 2 mornings ago (Peacham 6 Atlas
block). I have done point counts there since 1989 through the VINS
Forest Bird Monitoring Program
http://www.vinsweb.org/cbd/FBMP.html. It is a fantastic and unusual
place, featuring an extensive boreal cedar-fir swamp. Lots of
Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Winter Wrens, Nashville Warblers. No.
Waterthrushes, and No. Parulas. All were still singing on Wednesday,
though with diminished intensity from a month ago.
The day's most interesting find was a male Tennessee Warbler that
sang repeatedly for 20 minutes while I searched unsuccessfully for an
Alder Flycatcher nest. It was the first individual of that species
I've ever encountered there, and I doubt it is breeding. Tennessee
Warblers routinely turn up south of their normal breeding range in
early summer. For reasons that are poorly known, many birds, both
males and females, leave boreal nesting areas as early as late
June. Some may be non-breeders, while others have probably had
failed nesting attempts. Many of these early southbound migrants
begin their post-breeding molt while in transit (most migratory
songbirds complete their molt at or near breeding sites). Bird
banders regularly capture transient Tennessee Warblers during
mid-summer in heavy wing and tail molt. It's hard to believe these
birds could migrate, let alone fly at all, but they rarely linger at
a site. It's a very unusual strategy among long-distance
migrants. Anyone looking for a great research topic??
I also had 2 White-winged Crossbills fly overhead, the first I have
ever heard at Roy Mt WMA.
Conservation Biology Dept.
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
6565 Woodstock Road
P.O. Box 1281
Quechee, VT 05059
802-359-5001 ext. 230