Sunday, April 5, 2009


Spring migration in the Middle Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire is well underway with migrant waterfowl and raptor activity on the increase. Flocks of Canada Geese began moving through around mid March stopping to feed in large floodplain fields that grew last year's corn crop. Where sheet water pools have formed from snow melt, ducks (mainly American Black Duck, Mallard, Wood Duck) are in evidence, although Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal are also present but in lesser numbers. Particularly good spots to scope out are the corn fields, pastures and river setbacks (Great Meadows) along Route 12 south of Charlestown, NH. On the VT side check Albee's, Herrick's and Roundee's Coves north of Bellows Falls and Retreat Meadows in Brattleboro.

Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons are now nesting. Eagles at the nest site on River Road in Plainfield, NH are incubating, and a pair in Rockingham, VT appears to be doing the same. Peregrine Falcons have returned to the cliffs at the southern end of Skitchewaug Mountain in Springfield, VT and may be incubating eggs.

Other local spring arrivals to date include Turkey Vulture, American Kestrel, Killdeer, American Woodcock, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, and Brown-headed Cowbird. Other signs of spring's arrival: sap buckets and sugar house steam, male American Goldfinches in the midst of shedding their drab garb for their namesake breeding plummage, quacking wood frogs, and willow blooms.

My last sighting of Common Redpolls was on March 15. Flocks of Bohemian Waxwings were noteworthy in late March with particular note of ~100 birds in Perkinsville, VT on the 21st; 54 in South Reading, VT on the 23rd; and 200+ in Windsor, VT on the 26th. While most Pine Siskins have moved on a few remain visiting the feeders here at our home.

Above: Male Common Redpoll in vibrant
breeding plumage. March 15, South Reading,
VT. Below: Bohemian Waxwing. March 21,
Perkinsville (Weathersfield), VT.

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