Sunday, November 1, 2015


Yesterday, a small group of Windsor County birders located a Dickcissel in Woodstock, Vermont at essentially the same spot one was sighted almost to the date two years ago (October 29, 2013).  The habitat is a hedgerow within a power line right-of-way separating two corn fields off Maxham Meadow Way.  This morning hoping the bird was still present and to see it myself  I arrived at the location and encountered Kent McFarland of Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE), who had the same objective. Shortly before he heard from Chris Rimmer, also of VCE, that the Dickcissel was seen about an hour ago. Together we walked the edge of the hedgerow checking out the numerous sparrows (American Tree, Song and Savannah) flitting about and skulking in the thick undercover and at times feeding on corn scrap at the edge of the field.  As we approached the end of the hedgerow we both heard a single distinctive short, sharp insect-like buzz note, that neither one of us recognized. Soon we saw that Chris was still present but had to leave. Spending another 45 minutes or so, our quest was found perched in brush at the hedgerow terminus in the vicinity of where it was first discovered. Both of us managed getting photos of it, three of mine posted below.

Once at home, I checked out Sibley (2000) and National Geographic Society (2011) guides for descriptions of Dickcissel vocalizations.  Both references give renditions of the call often given in flight as "fpppt" (Sibley) and "bzrrrrt" (NGS). The website Xeno-Canto has an extensive library of bird sound recordings from all over the world and is the source for this Dickcissel flight call recording which is spot on what we heard.

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