Monday, June 23, 2014

Newport & Moose Bog- Vermont

We ended up the spring 2014 Hitchcock Center spring Birding class on a high note with a visit to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  This is the second year we have ventured north towards the Canadian border in search of the elusive Boreal Grand slam ……Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay and the really elusive Spruce Grouse!  

As mentioned this is the second year in a row we have birded the Northeast Kingdom, last year’s trip was met with marginal weather and only distant views of a family of Gray Jays.
This year’s trip was the complete opposite, unbelievably great weather and three out of the four Grand Slam Boreal Birds!

This year we birded a new area just north of Newport – “Eagle Point Wildlife Management Area”. This area consists of open fields and marshes. We didn’t get there until around 10:30am, but we still had a nice assortment of species…Great Blue Heron, Ring-necked Pheasant, Osprey, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Great-crested Flycatcher, Belted Kingfisher, Warbling Vireo,  Veery, an assortment of Warblers, Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow.

The next day we spent the entire morning at Moose Bog. Moose Bog is located east of Island Pond on Rte 105, this Bog is one of the most consistent areas for encountering Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee and Gray Jays.  This area as well as others in the region can also produce a large number of biting insects like Mosquitos, black flies and Deer Flies. As it turned out this year, the insects were not that bad! Why, I have no idea, but it wasn't that bad. As I indicated before, we had a fair amount of success with the Boreal birds this day…we first heard the Boreal Chickadee along the Moose bog trail, then encountered two very cooperative Gray Jays and then really lucked out with an extended sighting of a male Black-backed Woodpecker working on a Spruce tree just ten feet off the trail.  However, the elusive Spruce Grouse did not make an appearance this day, but we will try again.  We ended our trip with seventy-seven species and a few mammals....but no Moose.  

Cedar Waxwing

Ruby-throated Hummingbird- Moose Bog

Gray Jay- Moose Bog

Nashville Warbler

Black-backed Woodpecker-Moose Bog

Black-backed Woodpecker-Moose Bog

White Lady slipper 

Arriving at Eagle Point

Eagle Point Area

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It ended up being a pretty good spring migration around these parts. Recently I've been looking for Grasshopper Sparrows at the Old Amherst Landfill. Last year I had three singing males, so far this year -nothing! There's a good number of Bobolinks, Red-winged Blackbirds, along with a number of other species breeding along the edge of the fields. More photos to come from an April trip to Colorado.

Red-winged Blackbird-Old Amherst Landfill

Bobolink- I counted 17 the other day at the Old Landfill 

Cooper's Hawk- a successful early morning raid near the Old Landfill. 

Bobolink-female. The first few visits to the landfill yielded very few females, but the last couple of visits they have become much more conspicuous. 

Box Turtle- found near our home a couple of weeks ago.

Solitary Sandpiper- This one I photographed in Hadley...overall a good spring migration for these guys.

Black & White Warbler.

This Ruffed Grouse was certainly a friendly soul along the rail trail in Amherst. The Grouse greeted everybody and everything for several weeks in April & May.

Orchard Oriole- several reports this spring.

A closer look at the Rail Trail Grouse

This female Hooded Merganser seems to have her hands full- Pond near Old  Amherst Landfill.

Green Heron-