Saturday, March 24, 2012

Looking for Wintering Hawks in Addison county Vt

 I have been looking for wintering hawks for a few years now and it is still
as much fun as it was that first winter. This winter was no different even with a lack of snow.  The numbers of hawks and variety seemed  fairly normal. I had Kestrels, Red-tailed hawks and Rough-legged hawks all in the usual places for the most part. Northern Harriers were here all winter, mostly males of the gray ghost variety and a couple of juveniles. A few Coopers and Sharp-shins plus some Peregrine Falcons,  plenty of Bald Eagles and whats not to like about winter hawk watching.  I found the ratio of dark morph  to light morph  Rough-legged hawks interesting , Normally on any given winter day you might see 1 or 2 dark morphs, 1 of the very light morph and 6 or so normal light morph rough legs. But this year I had  3 to 4 dark morphs and 6 to 9 light morph rough-legs. I only found one very light morph all winter.(see bellow)  I found this Rough-legged hawk to be very interesting because of the absents of the dark tail band like on the rough-legged bellow it, both are light morphs. It looks as if this light morph is a very lightly marked type Rough-legged hawk which I think is somewhat unusual marking for these hawks. I just found out that this bird could be a juvinale, to see page 329 (lower left image) in Raptors of Eastern North America by Brian K Wheeler 

This dark morph Rough-legged hawk (above) was found on Lapham Bay road Shoreham Vt.  Lapham Bay road has always had something interesting going on and this season was no different, this Red Fox cross the road just ahead of me and stopped to check us out. My little red dog saw the fox and wanted to go for a run.  Thank god the windows were up!

Good birding.


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Copyright 2012 - Peter Manship - all rights reserved
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Townsand's Warbler images pt 2

Here are a few more images of the Townsand's warbler that didn't make the first post. Enjoy!
One of the things that always amazes me about chasing rare bird sightings is the locations, usually out there pretty good and in a place where - if someone ( a very good bird I'm sure ) wasn't looking, these rare treats would largely go unnoticed. So my thanks to the birders that find and share these finds with the birding community
Good Birding !
Peter Manship

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Townsand's Warbler in Walpole NH.

Here are some images I took of the Townsand's Warbler that was found last week on River road in Walpole NH. Enjoy!!!
Good Birding!

Peter Manship
All images taken by Peter Manship and © 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nesting Swallows, somewhere in Castleton Vt

The day had started out rainy but was clearing as we left Rutland to do some birding and scouting for photography locations. Riding along Bill shouts "what the heck is that ? it's black and white and has a blue bill" well that stopped the car pretty quick. A Lesser Scaup in a marsh just off Old Rt 4, a fairly uncommon bird for the location and time of year. Next stop as a "did you see that stop " which was a robinisque Kestrel #$&%(! ?. But did turn up about 70 swallows flying around the barn yard. A closer look revealed Tree, Barn and the surprise of the day Cliff Swallows. We watched for about half hour as the swallows gathered nest building materials. The Cliff Swallows just pickup mud in their beaks and flew off with it. ( image bellow Cliff Swallow with beak full of mud) The Barn Swallows however carried hay to the muddy tire tracks in the barn yard most of which had water in them after the rain, where they would wet the hay . ( tree swallow wetting piece of hay for nest. I think they do this to make the hay/grass soft to work with) Then they would then added mud to the mixed load of nesting materials and fly off. This scene was repeated over and over again with some copulations throne in for good measure every now and then. Ahhhh spring!

List from today:

Lesser Scaup 1 m

Canada Goose 6 1 with very new goslings

Mallard 7 all males

Northern Harrier 1 gray ghost
Cowbird 5

Kingbird 3

House Sparrow many

A Goldfinch 4

Redwing Black Bird 6

Common Grackle dozens

TV's 9

Broadwing Hawk 1

Redtailed Hawk 2 one with pray

Kestrel 1

Cliff Swallow 10+

Barn Swallow 30+

Tree Swallow 20+

NO Warblers today, that was a surprise. Latter on in the day I took a right off Rt 22a down a dirt road I'd never been on. Found 5 Red Admirals mineraling as I slowly drove along. Also found in same general area Cabbage Whites, Clouded Sulphur, Red Admirals and a Canadian Swallowtail plus two West Virginia Whites. There was one that would not hold still long enough to ID. I thought it could have been a Juvenal's Duskywing. We'll see what I find when to go back tomorrow to spend more time looking around. There was also many dragonflies and damselflies moving in the warm afternoon air.

Thanks for visiting BFO's
Peter Manship
All photos and story © 2010 Peter Manship

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Great Egret in Brandon Vt

My computer chimed meaning that a new email had arrived , I didn't check it till about noon and was surprised by what I found, "A call from a friend via a cell phone alerted me to a great egret here in Brandon. Located by the Dean Farm bridge on Union St. Sue Wetmore ". At the same time the phone rang, it was Bill Jalbert. I ask him if he knew where the Dean Farm was in Brandon? Why, because Sue Wetmore reported a Great egret in Brandon. You wanted to go looking for it? Half hour latter I was in Rutland meeting Bill and his son, Bill checked Google maps for the location and we were off. The cloud front was breaking up the sunshine and blue made it a perfect day for a Birding Adventure. As usual with birding adventures when we got there the bird was nowhere to be found. Asking a couple of fishing guy's if they had seen a large white bird that looks like a blue heron only produced more frustration, "ye it was over there about 20 minutes ago" pointing to the field behind them.Bill headed west of the bridge and I went east to double check the wet areas again. I got it was all I heard and then the sound of Bill running to get his camera, I join him running. Here are some image I took.

Image of Great Egret with pray

Bill and his son had to leave, I stayed and kept birding the area. here is a list for today:
Great Egret 1
Wood Duck 4
Ringbillied Gull 15
Great Blue Heron 1
Mallard 2
Tree Swallow 9
Cardinal 1
Crow 4
Kestrel 2 one flying by with pray
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker 2 courting
Killdeer 3
Canada Geese 6
White Breasted Nuthatch 1
Yellow shafted Flicker 1
Robin 2
and 7 Painted Turtles basking in the sun
About 5;30 I headed west on Rt 73 to see what I could see, the farm at the junction of Rt 73 and 30 is always productive and today was no different. Grackle taking flight
Kestrel 2
Killdeer 3
Sharp-shin 1
Hundreds of Starlings, Cowbirds, Grackles and Redwinged Black Birds maybe a thousand in all
this image is of 268++Cowbirds gritting on the side of the road, spooked by traffic

Morning Dove 7
and this Wood Chuck with a mouth full of fresh salad.
Good Birding
Story and images © Peter Manship all rights reserved

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Great day of Birding in Vermont

Took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday and went for a long birding ride.
Best bird of the day was a late Rough-leg hawk hover hunting in the fields just south of the Richville road on 22a in Shoreham. Later in the day at Basin Harbor ( bay? don't know the correct name) had 34 TV's circling as if looking for their evening roost.

Turkey Vulture lit by warm afternoon sunlight. We didn't stick around to try and locate the roost, instead raced ahead to try and find a good location for the sunset. (see header) while there watching the TV's 3 Ravens chased a Redtail hawk out of their territory. Once the Redtail was safely out of their territory the Ravens broke off the chase. ( note the full crop on this red-tail, white lump at base of neck full of its last meal)

Anyone know what this plant is? It was growing in light shade , rich woodland soil and about 6"tall with pink and blue flowers coming from same stem.Here is the list of birds and mammals for the day:

Rough-leg Hawk 1 dark morph
Redtailed Hawk 5 one juv RT

Ospry 12 scattered all over the dead Creek area ,watched pr south of
Chimney point bridge nest building and copulating

Northern Harrier 1 male(Gray Ghost )
TV's 43
Kestrel 3
Raven 7
A. Crow 12
Cardinal 5
Great Blue Heron 5 1 pr seen flying north over lake Champlain
Bufflehead 15 from Ft Cassin rd
Bald Eagle 2 -1 adult and this juvenal (below) at Ft Cassin made it through the tree safely Tree Swallows
Hooded Mergansers
Wood Ducks
Canada Geese several nesting
Common Mergansers
Redwing Black birds saw a large flock (about 150) flying over a field on
Lapham Bay road,a beautiful sight when all the birds turned and flashed their red wing patches !
Wild Turkeys many , one group of 27
Whitebreasted Nuthatch 6 all on territory calling, very noisy
Hairy, Downy and Pileated woodpeckers
Brown-headed Cowbirds
Tufted Titmouse 3
Tree Swallows many
Song Sparrows
House Sparrows
Chipping Sparrow 2
Blue Jays and Ring billed Gulls
Also had a Red Fox walk pasted us just as it was getting dark at Basin Harbor.
Found a field with 10 deer in it. Saw 46 plus Painted Turtles at Brilyea excess road to Dead
Creek WMA, Addision Vt. Way to many Gartar snakes for my comfort !!! Lots of Muskrats
and at Ft Cassin had a young muskrat come right up to me crying as if look for its parents . Good Birding
Peter Manship

written and photographed by Pete Manship © 2010 all right reserved

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ft Cassin Bald Eagles, Vergennes Vt

A friend and I visited Ft Cassin in Vergennes Vermont yesterday looking for eagles.

We found 14 eagles spread all around the area. The most interesting part was finding 5 juveniles and one adult on the ice south of the river outlet fighting over a fish. One juvenile managed to hold off the others with lots of wing flapping displays.

But after about ten minutes of defending its fish the larger adult (female probable) moved in and took the prize uncontested. It was also a good day for hawks, here is the only image I got of the light morph Rough-legged Hawk that I found in a field south of Richville rd and rt 22a Shoreham VT. I think that it is a adult male but would love some input from others about this beautiful Rough-legged Hawk. here is what we found yesterday from ft Cassin Vergennes down Rt 22a to Rt 4 Fair Haven Vermont.

Bald Eagles 14 6 adult 8 juv

Red-tailed Hawk 13

Rough-legged Hawk 4

Kestrel 3

Northern Harrier 1

Pileated Woodpecker 1

Eastern Bluebird 5

Good Birding to all!

Peter Manship

Story and Images © 2010 Peter Manship LLC