Sunday, May 19, 2013

Migrating Marvels

Greetings All,
I have lived in Vermont all my life but it wasn't until this year I discovered the amazing variety of songbirds that migrate through the state each spring.  Follow this link to a table which lists the approximate arrival date of each migrating bird:

Vermont Spring Migration

Our curiosity was piqued after seeing the Green Mountain Club's Taylor Series event on "Birding the Green Mountains: Habitats, Elevational Gradients, and Climate Change" by Dr. Allan Strong of the University of Vermont. We realized we had heard many of these birds after spending countless hours in the Vermont woods hiking or mountain biking but we had never taken the time or effort to identify them.

It takes a trained eye and more importantly a trained ear to determine the species.  Our friend Liz Lee suggested we take one of the Green Mountain Audubon Society walks to learn more about birding in Vermont.  We did a practice walk in the Jay Range in the Adirondacks and realized it's more difficult to spot the birds than we thought.  Photographing them is a greater challenge.  In the Adirondacks we managed to photograph a mere three species:  Black-throated Blue Warbler, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Golden-crowned Kinglet
The next morning we went on our first walk with the Green Mountain Audubon Society (GMAS) in Geprags Community Park in Hinesberg.  Led by GMAS board member Bill Mercia, we managed to see or hear a whopping 44 species of birds!  I have to admit, I didn't see or hear all 44.  My favorites were the Golden-winged Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Redstart and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Golden-winged Warbler
To learn more about the Green Mountain Audubon Society go to:

Green Mountain Audubon Society

We practiced our newly learned skills the next morning at Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge.  There was a chorus of bird song but on our own we were having difficulty identifying them.  We did manage to get reasonably good photos of Chestnut-sided Warblers, Gray Catbird and American Redstart.

Gray Catbird
We located a woodpecker nest and saw an adult fly out but were unable to identify it.  Our best guess is a Northern Flicker.

On the morning of May 17, we joined Mike Winslow, staff scientist for the Lake Champlain Committee, for a bird walk in Oakledge Park in Burlington.  We managed to spot about 20 species. Marc got a great photo of a Red-eyed Vireo.

Red-eyed Vireo
For more information about the Lake Champlain Committee and Bird Friday go to:

Lake Champlain Committee

We did our final bird walk of the season this morning at Honey Hollow in Jonesville.  Right from the parking lot we spotted Baltimore Oriole, Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Song Sparrow.


Common Yellowthroat
Baltimore Oriole

A little further up the road we heard then spotted a magnificent Indigo Bunting.

Indigo Bunting
The Ovenbirds, Vireos and Wood Thrushes were singing from the thick understory.  We couldn't always spot them but at least we had learned what they were from their calls.  A female Blackburnian Warbler (thanks, Liz) was collecting spider's web for her nest on a branch over the road.

Female Blackburnian warbler
I spotted a Red-breasted Nuthatch feeding it's chick in a nest cavity but when we approached both adult and chick disappeared.  We also spotted a Rose-breasted Grosbeak by his melodic song.

Unfortunately the Warbler migration is starting to wind down and the leaves are popping out.  It's making it more difficult to spot the birds.  I encourage all to grab a pair of binoculars and get out early to look for these beautiful birds.  I look forward to next spring when the colorful warblers will once again be migrating through our woods!

For more bird photos go to:

Marc's Spring Migration 2013 Collection

Marc's Spring Migration 2014 Collection

Marc's Spring Migration 2015 Collection

Marc's Spring Migration 2016 Collection

Marc's Spring Migration 2017 Collection


   Peggy and Marc

1 comment:

Matthew Graf said...

Beautiful birds. Nice pics. Thx for sharing.