28 de mayo de 2021

Field Ornithology 2021 - May 28

Ethan Allen Homestead
Delta Park
Derway Island


Started the day off at Ethan Allen Homestead which was a site I missed while in DC. I walked along the River Trail loop to the river and then hung a right onto the trail that leads off the property. I didn't get very far because I wasn't feeling very well (back pain). I went home for a little bit to lie down and hope to rebound for the rest of the morning. I then headed to Delta Park to try to get some waterbirds I hadn't seen earlier in the week. I was rewarded with Marsh Wrens and Caspian Terns which were new for me this week.

After spending some time out on the beach/mud flats, I walked along the bike path all the way to the North Ave. intersection and walked over to Derway Island. Along the bike path, I added a Spotted Sandpiper which I was able to ID thanks to the constant butt bobbing and a Belted Kingfisher by call. At Derway Island I saw a Great Egret flying along the river and added a Least Flycatcher to the list, singing in the woods next to the river.

On my walk back to the car parked at Delta Park, I was determined to get another shorebird, so I headed back out to the beach. My persistence was rewarded with a mystery sandpiper. I narrowed my ID down to Least Sandpiper or Semipalmated Sandpiper. What was throwing me off was the color of the legs which seemed too dark to be Least Sandpiper but not not dark enough to be Semipalmated. This was probably a result of the distance between me and the bird and the bad light caused by an overcast sky. I got many digiscoped photos with my binoculars and phone and also a video. Allan was then able to help me narrow my ID down to a Least Sandpiper. It was a great way to end the morning.

Publicado el mayo 28, 2021 11:43 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 34 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Field Ornithology 2021 - May 27

Hinesburg Town Forest
Charlotte Park & Wildlife Refuge


I spent half the morning at Hinesburg Town Forest, trying to make up for my missed day focused on forest birds. A highlight right off the bat was a male Mourning Warbler that I was able to ID by song which was new for me. Then I was able to track him down and get some photos, so the song was really solidified in my brain by seeing him sing. In the large blow down area that has now grown up into shrub/young forest, I heard countersinging Canada Warblers. In the same spot, I also got an Eastern Towhee, so it was interesting to see how that natural disturbance created ideal habitat for interior forest species as well as some shrubland birds. After awhile, I stopped adding any new species, so I headed to Charlotte Park. I almost drove off the road when I heard the distinctive song of an Eastern Meadowlark. I pulled over and spent some time watching a pair of Meadowlarks engaging in some chasing behavior and at least one of them perching up and singing. I also heard a male Bobolink singing in the same field.

At the Charlotte Park I was excited to see such a mix of cedars, hickory, and oak and what that habitat might turn up. I was also rather horrified by the extent of invasive honeysuckle! A highlight was a couple unknown flycatchers that I was able to ID by paying close attention to field marks and getting recordings of their songs. I also had a Blue-winged Warbler (or at least a winged warbler singing the typical Blue-winged Warbler song). I was excited to experience the site for the first time and will definitely be going back!

Publicado el mayo 28, 2021 12:58 MAÑANA por lizamorse lizamorse | 27 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de mayo de 2021

Field Ornithology 2021 - May 25

Rock Creek Park (Peirce Mill)
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
Anacostia River Trail


I started the morning off at a part of Rock Creek Park nearby where I have been staying since Kenilworth didn't open until 8 am. I started off the morning trying to figure out a strange song that had the tune of a Black-and-white Warbler but the song quality of a COYE or CAWR. See my first audio recording from the day. I'm pretty sure it was a COYE but I had a lot of trouble finding it. I also had some great views of male Wood Ducks which seem much less timid than in Vermont. Perhaps it was because they weren't mate guarding? Or perhaps they are just used to more people? Either way, I wished I had had a good camera because the views of these guys was SPECTACULAR. I also had a Louisiana Waterthrush which I think was a lifer!

After finishing at Rock Creek, I stopped back off at the apartment for a quick bathroom break and then struggled to navigate through lots of construction to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. When I finally got there, however, it was wonderful. Highlights were probably the Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a rather unexpected Blackpoll Warbler, Chimney Swifts, and a Yellow Warbler being weird with its song which was good practice. From Kenilworth, I walked along the Anacostia River Trail. Kenilworth was a lot of constructed and natural wetland which included marshes, lily ponds, and open water. From Kenilworth along the River Trail, there was marshy wetland, open river habitat, riparian forest, and shrub-scrub habitats. Two mature male, one female, and one very vocal immature male Orchard Oriole were absolute highlights -- I'd only ever seen them once before in Vermont and never as visible as this. More Indigo Buntings than I'd ever seen were also pretty incredible. I was a bit overwhelmed with all the song I was hearing which is why I didn't think to record it, but upon reflection on a song I heard but didn't circle back to ID, Field Sparrow was a solid grassland/shrubland bird that I observed.

Publicado el mayo 25, 2021 08:45 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 32 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Field Ornithology 2021 - May 22, 23, and 24

May 22, 2021
Geprags Community Park
Start time: 7:19 am
End time: 8:30 am

May 23, 2021
Woodside Natural Area
Start time: 7:17 am
End time: 7:55 am

May 24, 2021
Rock Creek Trail to Georgetown Waterfront Park
Start time: 7:15 am
End time: 10:30 am
Had to dip out early for doctor's appt.


Publicado el mayo 25, 2021 12:42 MAÑANA por lizamorse lizamorse | 26 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de mayo de 2021

Ornithology - May 3 & 10 , 2021

Date - May 10, 2021

Start time - 3:11 pm
End time - 3:44 pm
Location - Old I-89 Extension
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S87757494

Date - May 3, 2021

Start time - 7:52 am
End time - 9:15 am
Location - Red Rocks Park and Old I-89 Extension
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S87034185

Publicado el mayo 3, 2021 08:12 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 13 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de abril de 2021

Ornithology - April 24, 2021

Date - April 24, 2021

Start time - 8:40 am
End time - 10:33 am
Location - Little River State Park
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S86247171

We spent the morning at Little River State Park. We started out on the Dam in the hopes of spotting some water birds. There wasn't much out on the water but we did get our first of the year Common Loon accompanied by a Common Merganser. After spending a bit of time on the water, we walked into the park from the boat launch. A tentative Blue-headed Vireo took a while to ID as we kept "pushing it" away from us. Not sure how aversion to humans affects territory establishment, but the individual kept singing even as we pushed it farther and farther from its original singing perch. We heard another Blue-headed Vireo singing later that morning, but it was much farther into the park. I'm not sure if that is an indication of the large size of the BHVI territory or if, more likely, it's an indication that these were the first individuals to show up and that more are still on their way.

We saw some evidence of nesting with a robin sitting in a nest in a small pine (see photo observation). The individual flew out of the nest as I approached. The fact that I didn't get super close and the individual still left the nest suggests to me that there weren't yet any eggs in the nest yet. I also wasn't able to see any eggs present. The nest seemed fully built -- could it have been a nest from an earlier year or do Robins really build their nests that early? We also observed an old unoccupied nest that looked to be about the right size for some sort of warbler or vireo (see photo). It was very out in the open at the edge of a wooded area right by the road.

We also heard and saw 2 singing male Pine Warblers singing, very appropriately, in large pines or hemlocks. The only other behavior of interest was a male Wood Duck with his mate that were very skiddish -- perhaps indicative of the mate-guarding behavior they display?

Mini Activity- Sound Map:

Publicado el abril 26, 2021 09:02 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 11 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de abril de 2021

Ornithology - April 19, 2020

Date - April 19, 2021

Start time - 1:12 pm
End time - 2:17 pm
Location - Woodside Natural Area
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S85908188

Start time - 2:17 pm
End time - 2:55 pm
Location - Saint Michael's Natural Area
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S85910708

The afternoon was warm and sunny, and unsurprisingly it started off slow which only Song Sparrows and a Northern Cardinal. Probably the most exciting sightings of the day were when we stopped to take a break at a bench overlooking the wetland area. Next to the bench area was a number of conifers where there were two Ruby-crowned Kinglets singing. Unfortunately, they weren't singing loud enough or consistently enough for me to get a good recording. As we were listening to the Kinglets, a pair of Black Vultures flew over the wetland area.

After we completed the Woodside loop, we walked into Saint Michael's Natural Area via the trail that meets the road near the Woodside parking area. There we were able to observe via sound several woodpecker species, including my first of the year Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! We also heard a triller next to a wetland area but were unable to determine if it was a Dark-eyed Junco, a Chipping Sparrow, or a Swamp Sparrow.

Non-bird observations included a Baltimore Oriole nest and a bunch of Painted Turtles.

Publicado el abril 19, 2021 08:16 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 9 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de abril de 2021

Ornithology - April 4 & 5, 2020

Date - April 5, 2021

Start time - 7:45 am
End time - 8:49 am
Location - Derway Island Nature Preserve
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S84865745

Revisited Derway to see if I could pick up anything new that I hadn't seen the day prior. I was lucky enough to see a Belted Kingfisher calling and flying over the Winooski. I also had a large number of Golden-crowned Kinglets who were very active in the tree tops. At one point during my walk, I witnessed what later Googling suggests was an American Robin courting ritual in which a flock of males chase a female. I didn't get a good look to see if the bird being chased was a female but there was clearly a chase going on involving at least 5 robins. At the end of the visit, I heard a unusually loud Red-breasted Nuthatch that seemed, along with his constant calling, to be displaying with constant wing flicks. He seemed to be doing this in reaction to the Downy Woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches nearby. I mentioned the encounter to Allan and he suggested that perhaps one of the Screech-Owls (see notes from April 4 below) was nearby. Of course, like an idiot I hadn't even thought to check for those, but in retrospect it seems likely, as there seemed to be a general commotion amongst all the birds in the vicinity.

Date - April 4, 2021

Start time - 7:46 am
End time - 9:01 am
Location - Derway Island Nature Preserve
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S84766174

Went birding with a friend and our dogs in Derway Island Nature Preserve. There was definitely a lot more activity even than a week prior. Notable highlights were the mating desplay of a male Brown-headed Cowbird to a female, hearing an Eastern Phoebe singing, and seeing a male Wood Duck in a tree (see photo). Was hoping to see the Eastern Screech-Owls that have been seen there, but no such luck.

Mini Activity- Frequent Flyer: As you assemble your species list, use a trusted ornithology resource (a.k.a. All About Birds or Birds of The World species accounts) to determine the general wintering range for each species you encounter. With the aid of Google Maps or Google Earth, determine a rough straight-line distance between your site and the species’ wintering location. On a napkin or the back of an envelope, add up the rough total miles traveled by all the facultative and obligate migrants that have recently arrived at your natural area for your personal observation!

TOTAL DISTANCE = 7,775 miles

Canada Goose:
Year-round in some parts of Vermont & obligate migrant in others
Distance - 750 miles

Wood Duck:
Year-round in some parts of Vermont & obligate migrant in others
Distance - 1,550 miles

Common Goldeneye:
Obligate migrant
Distance - 100 miles

Hooded Merganser:

Common Merganser:

Double-crested Cormorant:
Obligate migrant
Distance - 450 miles

Great Blue Heron

Bald Eagle
Facultative? I had trouble telling from Birds of the World
Distance - 225 miles

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Facultative? I had trouble telling from Birds of the World
Distance - 100 miles

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Phoebe
Obligate migrant
Distance - 350 miles

Blue Jay

Black-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

American Robin
Distance - 1,250 miles

American Goldfinch

Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird
Year-round in some parts of Vermont & obligate migrant in others
Year-round in Derway Island location

Brown-headed Cowbird
Year-round in some parts of Vermont & obligate migrant in others
Distance - 1,250 miles

Common Grackle
Year-round in some parts of Vermont & obligate migrant in others
Distance - 1,750 miles

Northern Cardinal

Publicado el abril 5, 2021 08:03 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 9 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de marzo de 2021

Ornithology - March 20 & 22, 2021

Mini Activity- Spishing:
Unfortunately my spishing was largely unsuccessful my past couple visits. Since my partner is away, I've had to take the dog on my bird walks with me, so the birds seem to be reacting more to him than to the spishing. It is interesting to compare the reaction of the birds to the dog versus spishing and the types of calls they use. With the dogs, the calls seem louder, more urgent, and usually coming from all the birds in the flock. Additionally, the birds seem to want to stay up higher in the tree, though they stay near enough to see us. With spishing I usually end up either pushing the birds completely away, or they get slowly closer with a more relaxed "chickadee-dee-dee call".

Date - March 22, 2021

Start time - 8:54 am
End time - 9:34 am
Location - Shelburne Bay Boat Launch
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S83877215

Had to miss class to take my dog to the vet, so I figured I'd at least get some birding in before! One thing that was immediately apparent and distinct even from a few days ago, was the chorus of counter-singing male Red-winged Blackbirds, Song Sparrows, and Northern Cardinals. The Song Sparrows seemed to like calling from the very top of a tree or bush -- which seems rather a conspicuous place to be doing so. I also witnessed an American Goldfinch feeding on what appeared to be the buds of a tree. This all seemed like typical morning and sunny day activity for these types of birds that are active during the day, particularly in the morning and just before dusk. There also seemed to be some chasing activity between a male and female Eastern Bluebird -- perhaps a courting behavior?

In terms of color comparisons, I always find certain ducks to be challenging because it's often some combination of white, black, green, and/or brown and I have trouble keeping all the patterning straight in my head. Thankfully I had some male Common Mergansers together with some Ring-necked Ducks. It was nice to see the different patterning of large swaths of lighter white or gray in contrast to darker heads or other patches of color. With the Common Mergansers there is definitely a distinction between a very dark head and a largely light-colored body with a dark patch on upper side of the body. As divers, perhaps this countershading helps them camouflage from fish below? There is a similar countershading with Ring-necked Ducks who also have a dark area on their uppers and a broad light patch on either flank area. This may be also connected to their feeding ecology as diving ducks. Interestingly the two particular groups of diving ducks I witnessed today seemed to stay distinct from one another, with the Mergansers out farther in open water.

Date - March 20, 2021

Start time - 9:36 am
End time - 10:39 am
Location - Woodside Natural Area
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S83723761

I noticed a lot more singing on this visit than on my February bird walks. In particular, the Winter Wren was new for me this spring. I didn't realize they came back so early! I also heard a number of Northern Cardinals and Red-winged Blackbirds countersinging. I also noticed quite a few Tufted Titmice in comparison with Black-capped Chickadees. Usually it seems like the Chickadees outnumber the Titmice. Interestingly, towards the end of my walk, I had a whole group of Titmice together rather than a flock mixed with Chickadees as I often see. Perhaps a family group?

Publicado el marzo 22, 2021 06:59 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de febrero de 2021

Ornithology - February 25, 2021

Date - February 28, 2021

Start time - 10:24 am
End time - 11:54 am
Location - Colchester Causeway
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S82505410

Spent the morning on an out and back walk down Colchester Causeway. There were a number of snags in the cedar stand between the parking lot and the causeway itself, but the only cavity nesters we observed/heard were Black-capped Chickadees, a Nuthatch (couldn't tell if it was White- or Red-breasted based on call), and a Downy Woodpecker. We were able to spend some time with some of the water-based birds on the recent ID quizzes -- namely Common Goldeneye and Herring Gull. Perhaps the most exciting sighting of the day were a sizeable flock (about 20) of Snow Buntings foraging on the ground on the Causeway.

Date - February 25, 2021

Start time - 8:11 am
End time - 8:47 am
Location - Saint Michael's College Natural Area
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S82309519

I kept my eye out for snags on my walk at Saint Michael's College Natural Area. I walked down from the intersection of College Parkway and Campus Road through the scrubby habitat. Because of the general shrubbiness of the habitat and small size of the trees, he there weren't many snags and the only one of the few I did see were anywhere approaching 10 inches dbh. Unfortunately, another aspect of biology forced me to head home for a pit stop, but when before I turned around, I was able to reach the river, where the presence of larger trees meant a few larger snags. Almost immediately upon seeing the larger snags I heard the drumming of either a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker (the consistent fast drumming pattern).

Start time - 9:36 am
End time - 10:16 am
Location - Shelburne Bay Park
eBird Checklist - https://ebird.org/vt/checklist/S82315800

After my stop back home, I headed back out for a bit longer. I started at Shelburne Bay Park and walked along the bike path that borders the TNC LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area. Snags were much more frequent there -- particularly around the marshy areas and in the large pine stands. In the large stand of pines there were more snags of larger diameter and on said snags, there was evidence of Pileated Woodpecker foraging. I also heard a Pileated Woodpecker calling in the same pine stand.

Publicado el febrero 25, 2021 06:00 TARDE por lizamorse lizamorse | 10 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario