I got out to do some birding today, to celebrate being done with my grad
project surveys. Since I was celebrating an end to 3am alarms, I slept in
and didn't get up to the Franklin County Airport until 9am, so I wasn't
expecting much to still be singing, but hoped to catch a glimpse of a
Grasshopper Sparrow, a species near and dear to my heart after working with
the endemic Florida subspecies a few years ago.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were indeed still singing when
I got there, and I ended up tallying 10 singing males plus 6 other birds,
presumably females, chipping at me as I walked along the fenceline. At one
point I could hear 4 singing simultaneously. Vesper Sparrows were also well
represented, and I even flushed two females off nests, just a few feet off
the side of the road the goes around the airport!
Next I headed out to Missisquoi NWR to do some kayaking, and was surprised
to hear a Least Bittern calling softly from a reedbed about a mile
downriver from Mac's Bend on the Missisquoi River. Other highlights
included at least 15 Black Terns in the mouth of Campbell Creek, many
carrying food upstream, presumably to nests. I'm pretty sure I heard two
Common Gallinule calling from the reeds as well, but I never got a look at
them. A Common goldeneye was also seen on Charcoal Creek.