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May 2008


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Gregory Askew <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 25 May 2008 23:37:06 -0400
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Just after dusk fell at Long Swamp Road in Brandon I heard one
WHIP-POOR-WILL calling quite loudly a short ways off. At that moment I
imagined the bird perched along a branch in the stand of trees from which I
heard it calling and flashlight in hand I made my way into the woods in the
hopes of seeing it. The bird continued to call and shortly I noticed
something fluttering a few feet off the ground, weaving back and forth a
couple times;  I could make out light flashes on a generally dark blur. It
was quiet for a few minutes as I scanned the spot with my binoculars in one
hand and the flashlight in the other. I couldn't locate the bird on the
ground where it appeared to have landed but eventually I heard it or another
calling farther off.
I've no previous experience with Whips and the fact that they nest on the
forest floor slipped my mind in the moment, so I'm hoping I didn't harm them
in any way by venturing back into what I now believe is the breeding site.

Back on the road I headed in the direction of the same or another bird
calling. This time the bird was a little ways off the road out in the swamp.
When I was probably twenty feet away, standing on the road, the Whip stopped
calling and a minute later I was surprised by a dark form passing within 10
feet of me and then disappearing further up the road.

Also of interest at Long Swamp, as I made my way up the road in the
direction of the Whip I noticed a round shape just ahead of me. I trained my
binoculars on the shape and lo it was Woodcock, who then set about peenting
as if it were scolding me, its body shaking comically with indignation with
each peent!

An earlier sighting: TENNESSEE WARBLER on Zoon Road in Middlesex.