It was a great day for birding in Addison and Chittenden Counties,
highlighted by my first jaeger and 12 species of shorebird.
Aaron Yappert and I started the morning at Charlotte Town Beach, hoping to
take advantage of any interesting migrants moving south on the strong
northwest wind. Despite the howling wind, racing whitecaps, and intense
heat shimmer above the lake, Taj Schottland spotted an extremely distant
jaeger chasing gulls after less than half an hour. Unfortunately, despite
the fact that several of us were able to get on the bird, viewing
conditions were simply too poor and the distance to great, to be able to ID
the bird to species.
After an hour plus without another sighting, we gave up and headed south in
search of shorebirds. Joining forces with Taj and Jim Mead, we stopped at
the mouth of Dead Creek in Vergennes where we had Solitary, Least, and
Semipalmated Sandpipers; Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs; and a single
Short-billed Dowitcher. At Panton Crossing, we added two Pectoral
Sandpipers, five Semipalmated Plovers, several Spotted Sandpipers, and a
host of Killdeer. Next, it was on to Stone Dam, where we had great looks at
an American Golden-Plover and an extremely high count of eight (!) Pectoral
Sandpipers. The final stop on our shorebird bonanza was the entrance road
at Brilyea Access, where, despite an almost complete lack of good habitat,
one Black-bellied Plover was seen hiding in the emergent grass.
To end the afternoon, we walked the trail at Whitney Creek and were
rewarded with a couple of nice mixed flocks that included Northern Parula,
Magnolia Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, and a late Willow Flycatcher.
Waterbirds of note were the first four Hooded Mergansers of the fall,
singles of Ring-necked Duck and American Wigeon, and several Blue-winged
All in all, a great day for birding and for enjoying the fine Vermont Fall.
For those of you who might be interested, eBird checklists for some of our
stops are below:
Charlotte Town Beach: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25102262
Mouth of Dead Creek: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25107490
Panton Crossing: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25107489
Stone Dam: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25111181
Brilyea Access: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25109270
Whitney Creek: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25109271
Middlebury, VT / Laramie, WY