Late Saturday afternoon I saw the Brattleboro Black Vultures. Thanks to the
previous reports by Hector, Team Pipit and Terry, I was motivated to do the
drive down despite the pouring rain all the way.
After arrival at 3:30pm I checked the boat access near Retreat Meadows on
Hwy 30 (just a couple Canada Geese visible in the water).
Then I moved to the open parking lot by a building containing Curves and
other businesses, just north of the bridge on Hwy 5 (turning left into it
if driving north). From this spot you can see the marina area and over the
open water over to the boat access and even the ski jump mentioned in other
reports. This turned out to be the best place for the vulture activity to
follow. There was also the Marina restaurant nearby which gave a needed
reprieve from the rain when the vultures weren't around.
Turkey Vultures were seen soaring after about 4 or 4:30pm in a variety of
locations, but always just overhead or east of the lot, both north and
south. I counted 42 TV's in the sky at one point, but various subsets were
in and out of visibility over the time there.
I was getting very disappointed that no birds were coming into roost, as in
the other reports; until I spotted the Black Vultures finally flying above
TV's north of the lot at 5:50pm. As Sibley notes, they tend to fly higher.
I think there were 4 Black Vultures there at the time, but was more focused
on getting the scope on at least one to confirm the silvery patches at the
ends of their wings. Of course their flight profile with shortened tail was
I finally left at 6:10pm, by which time no vultures had indicated any
inclination to come in to roost at the previously reported sites.
Otherwise, as to other interesting sightings there, I saw Red-tailed Hawks
in the area, and a large flock of Canada Geese came in to the open water
area while there.
At home here in Shelburne, on Friday I had 7 Evening Grosbeaks at my
feeders and 2 Fox Sparrows below them. This correlates well with others
reports. Today I also had a Red-winged Blackbird and a Common Grackle at
the feeders; and a Raven soaring nearby.
Hope you had a good weekend as well,
Larry Haugh in Shelburne