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VTBIRD  July 2007

VTBIRD July 2007

Subject:

Re: East Mountain

From:

jane <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 5 Jul 2007 09:23:56 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (66 lines)

Fascinating, Chris.  Many thanks for posting the report and the analysis.

Jane

Chris Rimmer wrote:

> I joined our field crew on East Mt. Tuesday night and Wed.  Bicknell's 
> Thrush (BITH) continue to be very active there, singing and calling.  We 
> mist-netted 4 previously unbanded males.  This has been a "banner" 
> summer for BITH, following 2 productive breeding seasons, when numbers 
> of red squirrels were low (they are a major predator).  Squirrel 
> populations track fir cone crops, which generally follow a two-year boom 
> or bust cycle in montane forests.  The pattern occasionally skips a 
> year, and 2005-2006 both featured low squirrel numbers, with the result 
> that BITH (and other open-cup nesting species) enjoyed relatively high 
> breeding productivity.  BITH numbers have generally rebounded throughout 
> the Northeast in 2007, with mountains like Burke -- a small peak on 
> which we have detected no more than one BITH since the late 1990s, none 
> last year -- supporting good numbers.  I found 3 BITH on Burke in early 
> June.  I managed to mist-net all 3, and 2 were yearlings.  A high 
> proportion of the BITH we've captured on East, Mansfield and Stratton 
> are also yearlings, reflecting 2006's solid productivity.
> 
> This summer features a different story in terms of squirrel 
> populations.  Many of you will recall last fall's massive cone crop.  
> The mountains are now overrun with squirrels!  East Mt. in particular 
> has obscene numbers, like nothing we have ever seen.  They are 
> undoubtedly depredating nests of BITH and other species, which means 
> that many birds will renest after failing, accounting at least in part 
> for the continued strong vocal activity, at a time of summer when things 
> normally begin to quiet down.  The good news is that the 2007 cone crop 
> is all but absent, so BITH should have a relatively squirrel-free 2008.
> 
> Pine Siskins and White-winged Crossbills continue to be present on East 
> in small flocks.  We caught a family of recently-fledged Boreal 
> Chickadees and a female Black-backed Woodpecker that we had banded in 
> 2005.  Blackpoll Warbler numbers continue to be low.
> 
> I spent the late mornnig and afternoon atlassing along the access road 
> to East Mt, which like the summit is on the Seneca Mt. 6 block.  
> Interestingly, Blackpolls were all over the place in suitable habitats 
> of dense, small fir and spruce, at elevations of 6-800 m.  I flushed a 
> female off a nest with 2 eggs and had at least 6-7 pairs carrying food.  
> I wish other species had been as easy to confirm.... I needed 11 new 
> confirmations but only came away with 6.  All were of adults carrying 
> food and/or feeding fledglings, and included Black-throated Green 
> Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Canada Warbler, Mourning Warbler, 
> Common Yellowthroat, and Lincoln's Sparrow.  Two interesting new species 
> for the block included a female Tennessee Warbler and a (Western) Palm 
> Warbler at the edge of a small bog -- both investigated my pishing, but 
> neither had food or acted agitated as if a nest or young were nearby.
> 
> Chris
> *************************************
> Chris Rimmer
> Conservation Biology Dept.
> Vermont Institute of Natural Science
> 6565 Woodstock Road
> P.O. Box 1281
> Quechee, VT 05059
> 802-359-5001 ext. 230
> www.vinsweb.org/cbd/index.html
> 
> 
> 

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