This morning I went to the Great Meadows in Putney to try to find the Orchard Oriole spotted there last week by Dave Johnston. No luck on the south end of the Meadows where Dave saw it, so I went up to the northern end to give it a try. I found a family of Baltimore Orioles (2 adults, 2 young) feeding on berries on a small shrub along the railroad tracks. A few seconds later a Catbird and a Kingbird came in to feed on the same bush. So I figured if an Orchard Oriole was nearby it might well want to eat on those berries as well. And sure enough, about 10 minutes later, an adult female Orchard Oriole appeared in the top of a nearby tree, was joined by an adult male Orchard, and both flew in to feed on the bush. The male then left with a bill full of berries, and flew a short distance to feed a fledgling. But what kind of bush was it? (see below).
Other notable birds principally in the tree line around the perimter of the Great Meadows -
- Barred Owl - juvenile calling
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Willow Flycatcher - 2 singing
- Warbling Vireo - 6 singing
- Yellow-throated Vireo - 1 singing
- Redstart - at least 10 singing males
- Savannah Sparrows - many singing males in the recently cut alfalfa field :-(
En route to Herrick's Cove I found a roost of Vultures in Bellows Falls - about 13 and all Turkeys. Interestingly, I saw no vultures at all in Brattleboro.
Herrick's Cove was reasonably quiet. Notable were a Chestnut-sided Warbler feeding a fledgling, and 2 Baltimore Orioles and a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak eating berries from that same species of bush. Swamp Sparrows and Marsh Wrens were singing strong from the marsh.
It would be great if someone could help identify those bushes loaded with berries. They were 6-8 feet tall, with leaves that looked a lot like alders. Berries were in loose clumps, about 1/2 inch in diameter, starting green then going to red and apparently ripe ones were black (those were the ones the birds were eating). The first ones I saw were growing in the very dry RR bed but the others were growing in wetter areas. I couldn't find it in my books nor on the internet. Any help would be appreciated.