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

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Hawk and Eagle watch 1-16-10

This post is a mix of the last two days birding in the Champlain Valley with the Rutland Audubon and yesterday with Bill Jalbert. Here is the image of the Eastern Red-tailed Hawk with the eastern Canada type feature - dark throat instead of a white patch or striped.

Note the dark throat which is typical of northern Canada RT's - see page 56 , plate RT02 of Hawks from Every Angle by Jerry Liguori for a brief description. BTW a very helpful book to have. Compare with Sibley's Redtail images.
Bill captured this beautiful Bluebird image at one of the many stops the group made. I got zip for Bluebird photos even though we were standing 2 feet apart. Bluebirds seem to be somewhat of a problem for me; can you say nemesis! At Ft Cassin the group located 6 Bald Eagles, 3 adults and 3 juveniles. Two were bathing in the frigid water on the shore, a scope's view away. Eventually one flew in our direction and landed nearby where we were able to get some nice images of it. Here are some images I took of the bathing juvenile eagles; this very wet one is sunning it self dry - drying out his or her feathers, I think that this juvenile eagle could be a 3rd year bird. Can anyone clear that question up. finally, taking flight! See header above also.This is where we got separated from the Audubon group. With a dead radio and not capable of communicating with the Audubon group anymore, we just birded our way south along the lake. One of the highlights was finding a Peregrine Falcon almost where we had found one last winter on Lake Street in Bridport. The image bellow is a Cooper's Hawk not a peregrine.Sunday would prove to be an amazing birding day. We covered south of Rt 125 Bridport. This is a beautiful Copper's Hawk image that Bill made.

We were upwind of this Ruffy and if flew right at us. What luck!
Probably the most amazing part of the day was the tally of 17 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 peregrine, 2 Cooper's Hawks, 2 Rough-legged Hawks and ending the day with a Barred Owl. Bill Jalbert's owl image .
For a list of what we saw Sunday
check here:Vermont E-bird NOTE This list is not totally correct. The peregrine count is 1 and the Cooper's Hawk count should be 2 and one Sharp shinned Hawk. Thanks Roy.

If you're wondering why so many are Bill Jalbert's images and not mine, my camera was acting up all day long and more importantly, Bill's images are great too! So what's the difference?
As for me I can't wait to go looking for more wintering hawks south of Rt 73 next time.

Good Birding to all,
Peter Manship

photos by Bill Jalbert where noted all others by Peter Manship

© 2010 Peter Manship LLC

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sage Thrasher, Salisbury Beach Mass. 1-12-10

Yesterday I ran down to Salisbury Beach SP in Mass to try and locate the Sage Thrasher that was reported on Mass-ebird the day before. I left Vermont at O-Dark-Thirty (4:45) so I would be down there early, hoping that when I pulled in some of the NH birders that I bird with would have already found the thrasher. There was 25 or so people walking around looking. It didn't look good. I asked the first person that I came to if they had seen the bird and they said that it was seen earlier but..... I parked the car and joined the search. I soon found one of the NH birders. I asked Jason if I could join him looking for the bird and the whereabouts of other NH birders. He said they are all looking for the Ivory Gull.

We looked everywhere and after about thirty minutes I noticed something moving under a bush . I looked through my binoculars. “I've got It!”Jason signaled the others and "texted" the other NH birders who were combing the seacoast for an Ivory Gull, which was never found. It was amazing! Ten minutes later it was like old home week; people started pouring in to see the Sage Thrasher.

Also at Salisbury were these Horned Larks that were sandbathing. What a sight.

This Horned Lark made a small bowl in the sand by flipping its wings. You can see sand flying in the next image.All in all I had a great time seeing everyone again and spending the rest of the afternoon birding the NH seacoast. Interestingly, they were all looking for high point value birds for the Superbowl of Birding VII. What I didn’t know was that the group represented two teams; everyone was acting cool asking each other questions about where they were going or where they had been birding and the answers were all bold face lies. They were all sandbagging, telling each other lies to misdirect the other team. It was fun to hear and watch the friendly banter.

Here is a list of birds seen by me today:

Sage Thrasher 1
Merlin 3
Kestrel 1
Snow Buntings 15
Horned Larks 12
Tree Sparrow 9
Savannah Sparrow 1
Glaucous Gull 1
Herring Gull many
Ringbilled Gull many
Greater black-backed Gull 7
European Starling 2
Common Eider 8
Lesser Scaup 5
Mallard 2

Good Birding


Story and images© 2010 Peter Manship Designs LLC