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Vermont birders

Together with my wife, Martha Steele we spent last week traversing
all over the Kingdom birding with a special emphasis in Orleans County
in preparation of attempting a Big Day (more on that later). Our base
is Martha's mothers home in Westmore, on the west side of Willoughby
Lake and in the shadow of Wheeler Mountain. (our road is named Wood
Warblers Way) We spend every morning birding and then help out with
the property each afternoon. (vicariously- I'm birding while
working-had 55 species on the property alone). We tallied a total list
of 110 species for the week, of the four NEK specialties we only noted
Gray Jay.

Some of the more noteworthy birds: Ring-necked Duck- Proughty
Beach,Newport; Pied-billed Grebe- Newport & Barton; Bald Eagle- N.
Derby; Peregrine Falcon- a pair nesting on Wheeler Mtn that fly over
our house and a pair nesting at Job's Pond cliffs; two+ Eastern
Whip-poor-wills in Charleston; Olive-sided Flycatcher in Gallop Mills/
Victory; several Yellow- bellied Flycatchers in Conti NWR, Moose Bog
and Bald Mtn; a Bank swallow colony in Coventry, Cliff Swallows in
Irasburg and Charleston; Eastern Bluebird only because it's the FIRST
time nesting in our boxes; four Bicknell's Thrush on Bald Mtn; 18
species of warblers-Mourning at Barr Hill (looked hard for Cape May-no
luck) in Greensboro and 2 in opposite ends of a small clearing on Long
Pond Rd in Westmore; 4 Vesper Sparrows at the airport in Island Pond
and we still have a single Pine Siskin coming to our feeders in
Westmore.

We started to think about a Big Day in Orleans County when we were up
over Memorial Day weekend and so after a few days of scouting we
started out at 2:50AM on Thursday 6/14; the first bird was a singing
Ovenbird and then a loon called before we left the house, then off to
Charleston for Whip-poor-wills (got to find a closer spot!). The dawn
chorus was just wonderful with a low fog over the Clyde River,
Wilson's Snipe winnowing all over, Alder Flycatchers calling from it
seemed every bush , even an Indigo Bunting- 40 species before 5:30AM.
Then north to Newport and North Derby to the Barton River marshes,
then Coventry, Irasburg (for only Cliff Swallows), Barton, then back
to our house where we added seven more species; it's 1:45PM and we are
up to 92 species. We then head to Greensboro to Barr Hill Nature
Conservancy property for several species that we scouted out- Golden
crowned Kinglet, Junco and Mourning Warbler and hopes for other
possibilities. We succeed in those three. We then added Northern
Rough-winged Swallows at Caspian Lake- 96 species. We were missing
several "easy" (so we thought species) so we headed back to our
familiar property where we knew we might add birds we had seen
before: Wild Turkey, Pileated and HAIRY woodpeckers; Broad-winged
Hawk, Peregrine, and Scarlet Tanager. Notta; we took a break had
dinner and would try for a Woodcock that are usually quite easy to
find earlier in the season and maybe our Barred Owl would call or a
Bittern that was seen not far away- no not that night. so after 18
hours and 35 minutes we settled for 96 species . Rather than make this
note any longer,if you would like to see the entire list let me know.

One final report on Saturday June 16 we hiked the Mad River Trail to
the top of Bald Mountain; it's a longer trail than the one from Long
Pond but passes through more variety of habitats. We had four distinct
Bicknell's Thrushes still singing at 10:30AM when we headed down, a
six thrush walk- also adding 2 Veery, 3 Swainson's, 7 Hermit, a Wood
Thrush and of course Robins. Other highlights was an attacking Ruffed
Grouse with young, a Yello-bellied Flycatcher, 7 Winter Wrens, both
kinglets,17 Ovenbird, 2 Blackpoll, 6 BT Blue, 6 Canada and 4 Pine
Siskins. In our six + hour time on the mountain we only encountered
two hikers.
Maybe next year we will hit 100...
--
Bob Stymeist and Martha Steele
Westmore, Vermont
Arlington, Massachusetts
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