I have seen large flocks of Rusties there as well. Two consecutive October firsts I had seen what you described. In 2016, I reported 116 Rusties and in 2015, 95. And so I went there this October 1st to see if they would be there for a third straight year, tallying 0!
Also, back on October 4, 2015, I stumbled upon thousands (estimated 3,000 but it could have been twice as many!) of Grackles staging in the woods (much further down the forest road where you can see the lake thru the trees). The Grackles were amazing and I was captivated by them for half an hour. There would be a cacophonous uproar, louder than a middle school cafeteria, as they gathered in the tree tops. To the eye, it looked like an Avian version of a good mast season as the branches were heavily loaded with them. Then they would go completely silent before launchoff, when the whooshing sound of wing beats indicated they were seriously moving on. It reminded me of being in a swim meet, standing on the starting block...that silent moment,anticipation mounting, before the starting gun...only the Grackles were more like a medley race. As soon as one huge group would depart, another would float into the same tree, to start the next round. Perhaps this was their s! tarting block for migration. I also found many in the mast trees. When I went to investigate something unusual I was hearing in the woods, I was surrounded by Grackles in oak trees everywhere. They were foraging at the tips of branches and probing into squirrels' nests (caches?). It was the sound of acorns raining down that had drawn me into the woods.
Grackle-shamkle.....there is no bird species too common to be awed by. It is experiences like the one I've shared that give me the most joy when birding. And so to end this post, I'd like to acknowledge and thank Jim Mead, for sharing this place he "discovered" years back and "shared" so other birders can enjoy it as well! It is indeed a special place!
G ----- Original Message ----- From: Stephen Antell <santellvt...> To: <VTBIRD...> Sent: Wed, 18 Oct 2017 22:03:00 -0400 (EDSubject: [VTBIRD] Rusty Blackbirds, etc
Spent an enjoyable morning at Little Otter Wildlife. Management area off Greenbush Road in Ferrisburgh. Rusty blackbirds were easy to find, sometimes mixed in with redwing blackbirds. Sparrows were everywhere, mostly song, Savannah and white-throated but also white-crowned and swamp. One palm warbler and several yellow-rumped as well as wood ducks, cedar waxwings and a great blue heron. Fun place to bird on a sunny fall day