viernes, 22 de abril de 2016

April 20th

Went out on our weekly class birding trip to Ethan Allen Park yesterday. It was a bright, clear morning. We got to the park around 7:50 AM and it was around 34 degrees F, and not too windy. Sean mentioned that we were asked to go to Ethan Allen Park by the city of Burlington and make some observations. What a morning! It has been so cool to watch as more and more birds return from migration, and become much more active in calling and singing to potential mates. It was so great to see the Barred Owl roosting in a tree. It was so well camouflaged, it took our group a long time until we all had caught a glimpse of it, even thought it hadn't moved from its spot. It was really cool to hear them sing back and forth to each other. I saw a Great Horned Owl at Oakledge Park a few weeks back, and I feel very lucky to have seen two nocturnal birds of prey. The Fish Crow was also an exciting find, when Sean pointed out the call. Even though Ethan Allen Park is a relatively small patch of land, it has a lot of cool species, like Pine Warbler, too, which was awesome to witness.

This week I've also seen a ton of Cedar and especially Bohemian Waxwings on campus. They're eating the last of the crab apples while they can. It's great to know how much to appreciate these nomadic species while they're here.

Publicado el viernes, 22 de abril de 2016 a las 01:51 AM por kirsticarr kirsticarr | 22 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

viernes, 08 de abril de 2016

April 6, 2016

On Wednesday morning we set out on a bird walk at Derway Island. We got there around 7:45 or 8 AM, and it was a cold and clear morning, around 25 or 30 degrees F. Ring-billed Gulls were making a lot of noise in the actual water treatment plant, but on the other side of the road was a wetland area where a lot of waterfowl were swimming. We immediately saw a few Wood Ducks, although they were quite sensitive to our presence and scared easily. A few Mallards were also swimming in the water, but my favorite sighting was of a Canada Goose guarding her eggs. She was also very aware of our presence and sat in a very defensive posture, with her neck down to the water and peering out. I got to see her through the spotting scope, which was very cool. Sean mentioned that her nest looked like she had done most of the building, as opposed to nesting on top of a muskrat lodge or another previously formed shelter.

On the Winooski River, we saw a muskrat or otter swimming on the other side, near the bank. Although I only got a brief glimpse before it disappeared, that was very exciting. We also saw an Osprey flying, with a freshly caught fish in its talons. I was very impressed by its unique wingstroke pattern, as it has adapted an extra joint in its wings for easier lift out of water.

The birds continue to be louder and more active with each excursion out into the woods, which is a sure sign of spring. On Tuesday morning I was out on a hike on Mt. Mansfield and noticed how loud the birds were, which I haven't heard all winter while hiking. I'm excited for even more sightings as spring progresses.

Publicado el viernes, 08 de abril de 2016 a las 02:20 PM por kirsticarr kirsticarr | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

jueves, 17 de marzo de 2016

March 17, 2016

Today was a very exciting birding experience. We got to Oakledge Park around 7:45 AM, and our TA Sean lead us through the park. It was a clear, sunny morning around 46 degrees F, with little wind and calm waters. We started off by hearing a Song Sparrow call from the parking lot, which Sean mentioned was the first he has heard this season. We heard a few more while there, and there was way more calling from different species of birds in general than I have heard yet this season, which was also exciting. A lot of Common Grackles were flying overhead in flocks, which have only been back for about a week and a half.

The most exciting part of our time was seeing the Great Horned Owl. It flew in while we were looking at gulls. It caused a lot of activity from other birds, especially a flock of American Crows that followed it into the tree. I thought it was fascinating to see an owl out of its normal nocturnal habitat, and the crows so fearlessly mobbing it. A few gulls flew by too, and other songbirds were calling when we walked closer to where we assumed the owl was. Through a spotting scope I could clearly see it's yellow eyes and distinctive facial feathers. Even without a scope or binoculars, the sheer size of the bird was obvious and very impressive. An awesome start to the day!

It was also nice to see the three Common Mergansers swimming in the lake. Using the spotting scope again, it was cool to see the females' brown coloring and "fuzzy" head plumage, and the male's sleek, iridescent green head and black and white body. What a beautiful species.

I'm really looking forward to learning and seeing more species as they return to Burlington for spring.

Publicado el jueves, 17 de marzo de 2016 a las 08:58 PM por kirsticarr kirsticarr | 12 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

sábado, 20 de febrero de 2016

February 19th

At 12 pm yesterday I headed out on the Burlington Bike Path, next to Starr Farm Road. It was a bit overcast, very windy and around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. We didn't see many birds on the water, as the bay was frozen, however through my binoculars I could see the black and white markings of two Common Goldeneye bobbing on the water, and both disappeared into the water for a minute or so at a time before coming back up.

On the bike path we noticed one or two Black-capped Chickadees in the northern whitecedar on the side of the road, and we played a chickadee mobbing call in an attempt to get more to come out. The result was at least 10 chickadees flying back and forth across the path, calling and joining in the mobbing. Two Tufted Titmice also joined in, and after about five minutes some Red-breasted Nuthatches flew in. First they stayed farther away on the taller canopy trees, but after a bit they flew closer and joined the other birds in the shrub right next to the bike path. It was an exciting site to see, and I was able to distinguish each species' unique calls. Between the calls, the closeness of the birds and my binoculars I was completely confident in my identification of the species.

After leaving the bike path we drove further down to the Sewage Treatment Plant further down on North Ave, past Flynn Elementary. Michael had recommended the spot for waterfowl, however I misunderstood him and thought he meant the natural area behind the plant. We didn't see any bird species here, though we did stumble upon a very old, abandoned car that had some type of nest in what used to be the hood of the car. I didn't have a camera on me, so I couldn't take a picture. I'm hoping to revisit this site in the next week or so to take a picture of the nest to post on iNaturalist for identification, as well as to check out the ponds at the sewage treatment center, as when I clarified with Michael where he meant after our excursion, he pointed out the exact location on a map.

I was hoping to see more species in the two hours we were out, however I am looking forward to my next field experience, especially for seeing some more waterfowl.

Publicado el sábado, 20 de febrero de 2016 a las 05:44 PM por kirsticarr kirsticarr | 5 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

viernes, 05 de febrero de 2016

February 5th

This morning I set out on a birding walk with Sean and some other members of our class. We left for Centennial Woods Natural Area at 7:30 AM and it was cold and cloudy. On our walk down, we saw a few crows all flying the same direction. Considering American Crows roost at night, it is possible that they were all heading towards a common food source. We also saw a few European Starlings, who flew in a very distinctive way, with their triangular body shape. Once at the entrance of the woods, a Downy Woodpecker flew in to the sound of its call, which Sean played on his phone. A few Black-capped Chickadees flew in, in what seemed to be in reaction to the woodpecker flying about coupled with the call that had repeated a few times. Once at a feeder, Sean again played the sound of birds mobbing in reaction to a screech owl. Multiple White-breasted Nuthatches, chickadees, as well as a Downy Woodpecker flew in and became very reactive to the call. A group of Tufted Titmice were perched in a pine nearby, watching the scene, but curiously they did not participate.

Upon leaving the woods, we saw a Cooper's hawk gliding over the trees, heading in the direction of the mobbing we had just witness. Walking to a different feeder, we saw a few Mallards and an American Black Duck in the wetland area on Carrigan Drive. At the next feeder, we saw a pair of Northern Cardinals in a thicket of staghorn sumac, and upon playing the mobbing sounds again, a group of American Goldfinches, a Downy Woodpecker, and some chickadees all flew in to the tree above the speaker. It was very interesting to witness the common characteristics among species.

Publicado el viernes, 05 de febrero de 2016 a las 06:58 PM por kirsticarr kirsticarr | 14 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario