Friday, October 31, 2008

Four Sparrows in one day

With a light dusting of snow the bird feeders out back were busy, as I worked on the computer and looked outside I noticed a sparrow that looked different. I grabbed the camera to get a photo before it was gone, then I saw a Fox Sparrow. While the Fox sparrow was scratching around under the bush I decided to try and relocate the mystery sparrow. Looking out a different window I thought that I had found it but something didn’t look right, this was a Chipping Sparrow. (Well as it turns out several people have written me saying that this little guy is a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow-very nice I.D. work on their behalf-Pete) Close but no cigar, there was some Song Sparrows and a large flock of Dark-eyed Junco’s and some White-throated Sparrows all looking for seeds in the brush that I have let grow back. The birds love them for the cover the brush offers and so I just through seed in there every morning for them. I went back to work on the computer and after about a half an hour I looked once again, no mystery bird. An hour later I looked and there it was right out in the open, I rushed to get the camera and some images of the mystery bird. So at this point I have had Fox, Song and Chipping sparrows at the feeders plus the mystery bird. That’s not to say these were the only birds at the feeders because all the usual cast of characters was on hand also. It was time to figure out what this little guy is. There was no spot on the breast so not a Tree sparrow even though this is the time they start to show up around here. As I looked at the photos there was no eye line eliminating the Chipping sparrow, what was left? With a white eye ring the Field Sparrow was starting to look pretty good to me. I then checked in Birdwatching in Vermont and found that this little guy was getting late in the season for Field sparrows but still possible. I was satified that the Field Sparrow ID was a good one. Four sparrows in a day,
what fun, you just never know what is going to show up when it snows.

Thanks for checking in!


Story and images copyright Peter Manship

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rusty Blackbirds at Dead Creek WMA,Addision Vermont

Anytime that you go birding at Dead Creek WMA you never know what you might run across. On Friday 10-24-08 as we drove in on Brilyea access rd Carol says;" whats that in those bushes?" Rusty Blackbirds was the answer.

There was a man named Tom who's last name I can't remember that was looking for the Rusty Blackbirds too. I pointed him in the direction of the birds and he adds that they are a life bird for him, I said me to . He said let's see what Bryan Pfeiffer and Ted Murin have to say about Rusty Blackbirds and reached in his car, produces their book Birdwatching in Vermont . Looks like their right on time, see here . I look and can see a graph that indicates that the end of September to the beginning of November is the time to see Rusty Blackbirds in Vermont. Dead Creek matched up very well with the type of habitat that Pfeiffer and Murin described as a typical place to be looking in to find Rusty Blackbirds. I keep forgetting what a great resource Birdwatching in Vermont is, Thanks Tom for the reminder! After about half an hour we decided to move on and go looking for the American Coots, not only did we find 2 of them but there was also 19 Green-winged Teals. Mostly males. The geese were scattered all over the area today but we did have some nice fly overs. Northern Harriers were out in numbers hunting the fields everywhere.

Watching them work up and down a field in search of food, plunging into the grass claws extended and coming up empty more often then not was one of those birding experience that you can have at Dead Creek. This Sparrow was keeping a close eye on us as we looked for Snow geese. With clouds moving in we headed for home having had a great day birdwatching at Dead Creek WMA Addision Vt and 2 new birds for the Birding Big year list.
A. Coot #255

Rusty Blackbird #256

Thanks for stopping in!


story and photos copyright 2008 Peter Manship

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Snow Geese at Dead Creek the Dark Morph(Blue Goose) pt 1

After a great start to the day at home birding and the weather forecast calling for rain on Tuesday I decided to make a run to Dead Creek in Addision Vt see the Snow geese. There was plenty of hawk activity to watch along the way, 7 Red-tailed hawks 3 Northern Harriers and 2 Rough-legged hawks all hunting in fields along Rt 22a and Rt 17. At the Farrell access to the Dead Creek a fellow birder told me about all the Pipits around the first bend in the road. Pipits were all over and became bird # 255 in state and # 293 over all on my Birding Big Year list. However it was the Snow geese that would provide the most fun this day because there were many Dark morph Snow geese, more than I have ever seen at Dead Creek. Here are some of the photos from yesterday of the (Blue Goose) Dark morph .
What was interesting to me was even though the Dark morph geese were mixed in with the white Snow geese they stayed together for the most part. Meaning that if you located a Dark morph adult there was usually a couple of Dark juvenile not far behind. Sometimes you would see both parents, other times you could only find one, but juveniles always stayed close to the parents even flying you pick them out in a crowd. If you go keep an eye out for the Dark morph (Blue Goose) Snow geese and bring your Sibley's guide for some ID-ing fun. There was and estimate of 5000 plus Snow geese there on Monday 20th of October and more Dark morph geese then I have seen at Dead Creek Addision Vermont in the past few years.

Thanks for visiting BFO's
Peter Manship

story and images copyright Peter manship

I will post part two soon, Snow Geese photos of what you might find on a typical day at Dead Creek WMA viewing the Snow geese.

Snow Geese at Dead Creek WMA Addision Vt pt2

Snow Geese seen here flying against a backdrop of beautiful late October sky over Addision Vermont.Lucky for us the Snow Geese like to use the Champlain Valley and Dead Creek WMA in particular on their way south every year. Just as the leaves start to change colors in September the geese slowly start to build up in numbers till there are thousands, they leave mid to late November and we get to watch them during this time period. The Snow geese stop here to fatten up before continuing south on their migration, there have been reports of Snow geese feeding in great numbers up and down both side of lake Champlain and returning to Dead Creek. It is these flights in and out of Dead Creek all day long that make Snow Goose viewing at Dead Creek WMA in Addision Vermont such and attraction. Seeing long skeins of Snow geese high overhead in V formation flying in and out of Dead Creek is a wonder to behold, people come from all over to witness this annual event. These photos I hope give you an idea of what you might see if you go to Dead Creek to look at the Snow geese. Watching the geese come in for a landing is full of surprises as the geese descend they preform this funny wiggle which helps them in their approach to landing. All of a sudden with wings back they're ready to land and come in a flurry quick wing flaps and their on the ground. And all you can say is how did they do that with their wings.

The Blast Off as Arther Morris call it happens when all the Snow geese take off at once, it can also be caused by something spooking the group which is what happened in this image. If your lucky and this happens, you will never forget the site or sounds of it. This is one of my favorite image of the Snow geese at Dead Creek.

Hope your day and the same as mine did.

Thanks for visiting BFO's


Story and images copyright Peter Manship 2008

Leucistic,Melanistic or Partical Albino Junco

I first saw this bird on Saturday 19th of October and couldn't find it again after looking for a couple of hours. So this morning while talking on the phone, I look out the kitchen window and there it is, on the ground under the feeder. Call you back was all I said as I hung up and grabed the camera. 9 quick photos later and the bird was gone but this time I got some images.
Can anyone explain what is going on with this bird, I would love to know and I'm sure others would also. (UPDATE 10-25-08 Peter ) It's official , I heard from several people and the Dark eyed Junco is a partial albino. Who is here still (10-25-08) with about 18 other Dark eyed Junco's winter is on the way!
Good Birding!
Peter Manship