Date: 4/15/18 7:58 pm From: Chris Rimmer <crimmer...> Subject: [VTBIRD] Memorable Upper Valley birding
Despite weather conditions that warranted huddling by the wood stove, I spent almost 4 hours birding the Connecticut River from Kilowatt South Park in Wilder up to Pompy Flats and Kendall Station in Norwich today. Originally intending to be out just an hour or so, the birding demanded that I keep going. My first clue emerged at breakfast, with >50 juncos at my home feeder, 2 White-throats, a Hermit Thrush, and a phoebe -- the latter 3 all first for the year at our house.
At Kilowatt, highlights were 15 Bufflehead, a female Long-tailed Duck, male Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Red-necked Grebes, a Pied-billed Grebe, and 2 Yellow Palm Warblers.
My next stop at Ledyard Bridge was notable for a flock of 45 robins and 4 phoebes foraging on the sleet-glazed exposed flats in Montshire Cove. Two Vesper Sparrows were foraging in the parking lot next to the old railroad station.
At the site I call 'Pompy Oxbow' across from Pompy Farms on Rt. 5, highlights were a N. Pintail pair, a Pied-billed Grebe, 6 phoebes, and 85 robins. Again, the later two species were foraging on the exposed shoreline.
At Pompy Flats, 15 Killdeer, 5 phoebes and 75 robins were on the frozen flats (another 50 robins were along Old Bridge Rd), and 2 Savannah Sparrows foraged along the road.
At Campbell Flat, 60 robins foraged along the road, while 3 Vesper Sparrows were together along the split rail fence by the frozen sedge meadow.
At Kendal Station, 9 Great Blue Herons were an arresting sight as they took off in flight together, and I found another Vesper Sparrow, plus FOY (for me) Winter Wren and Chipping Sparrow (the latter foraging with 3 Am. Tree Sparrows).
At Farrell Farm, I found a flock of 24 Killdeer and 3 Eastern Meadowlarks moving between plowed and low grassy fields just north of the big corn field. In corn stubble was a flock of >20 Savannah Sparrows with yet another Vesper.
Having never found more than a single Vesper Sparrow in an Upper Valley birding day, it was remarkable to encounter 7 in four locations. It took me the rest of the afternoon to warm up, but today's birding was truly exhilarating!
Chris Rimmer Vermont Center for Ecostudies PO Box 420 | Norwich, Vermont 05055 802.649.1431 x202 http://vtecostudies.org/