Field ornithology day 2 - grasslands and shrublands

Today Luke and I birded from 6:45 to about 11:15, for a total of roughly 4.5 hours. The weather was cool in the early morning, around 48° F, but becoming quite warm, around 60° F by the late morning. The sun was shining, with some high wispy clouds covering about 20% of the sky. The wind was light.

The first sound I heard when I stepped out of my car this morning was the familiar "drink your teeeeee" of an Eastern Towhee. Luke and I quickly spotted him singing from a perch above the parking lot - a good first find of the day. Next we saw and heard a wood thrush and a catbird right near the beginning of the trail. Things didn't waste any time in heating up - we were only a short way up the trail when we heard the "bee-buzzzzzz" of a Blue-winged Warbler from a tree at the edge of a nearby clearing. I had just mentioned to Luke that I was hoping to come across Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers and immediately regretted the possibility of having jinxed it altogether, so this song was a welcome one.

We clambered through some raspberry and looked up into the nearby treeline, and there it was! A beautiful Blue-winged Warbler, apparently not a hybrid, singing his heart out. He flew after a while and we walked after him, further up the trail. When we got to the clearing with the benches my second wish was fulfilled, because there was an awfully familiar buzzy song, "zee-zaa-zaa-zaa" to be heard from the top of a dead tree in the middle of the clearing. We got some great looks at this Golden-winged Warbler, who was not shy about showing off his lovely plumage.

So everything I had hoped for had pretty much come to pass in the first twenty minutes - but there was so much more time to spend! We wandered the back trails and came across abundant Common Yellowthroats, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Yellow Warblers, a Veery and a Blue Jay. It was a good opportunity to practice warbler songs, especially once some American Redstarts joined in the chorus. Further out towards the fields we heard the "ticking time bomb" (as Luke described it) sound of the Field Sparrow. We also came across a House Wren, an Eastern Bluebird, and an Eastern Kingbird. Song Sparrows were also present in abundance.

Crossing the fields to the west and walking up into the woods, we started to see and hear a different suite of birds. Ovenbirds sang from the understory and a Pileated Woodpecker called. American Goldfinches danced through the trees and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers drummed. We climbed the small hill and came out in some fields that I suspect are not part of Geprags Park (oops). I have no regrets, though, because there in some tall trees in the middle of the field were two Indigo Buntings, one of them perhaps an immature male. They weren't singing, but they were proudly showing off their colors for all to see.

A little further to the north, along the edge of some woods, we saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler. We also heard the "che-bek" of a Least Flycatcher and the "wheeeep" of a Great Crested Flycatched. Then we turned around and headed back south along the power line cut. Walking under the powerlines we heard and then saw some Bobolinks flying overhead - a real treat. We made our way back to the park proper, surrounded by Song Sparrows and the occasional Bobolink. Then it was back into the woods, this time on the eastern side of the park. There we heard many more redstarts, a Northern Cardinal, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a Hairy Woodpecker, and - excitingly - the first Scarlet Tanager of the year for me (although I suspect I saw one fly at Shelburne Pond a few weeks ago, I can't be 100% sure). That "chick-brrr" always lifts my spirits.

That was it for Geprag's, but since it was still relatively early we decided to head to the other location Jim had given us, Lagoon Road in Hinesburg. It was just a short drive away and it brought us within striking distance of a sandwich place, so it seemed like a win-win. However, when we got there things didn't look too good. I could picture expansive fields there in the not-too-distant past, but as it stands today part of the eastern field is taken up by a solar installation, while the other part is tilled and covered in black plastic. Meanwhile on the western side a tractor was busy tilling up the ground. We did see plenty of Ring-billed Gulls following in the tractor's wake, and Barn and Tree Swallows were perching and flying around. Red-winged Blackbird were everywhere. And a few Canada Geese sat in the field. Apart from that, things were not too exciting. But on our walk back to the car, we did see a Red-tailed Hawk floating in the distance - a consolation prize, as Luke said. That about wraps up our day - I won't go into detail about the delicious sandwich I enjoyed shortly thereafter.

Posted by sam_blair sam_blair, May 19, 2020 16:43

Observations

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora cyanoptera

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Veery Catharus fuscescens

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

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House Wren Troglodytes aedon

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

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Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

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No photos or sounds

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Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

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Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

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Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

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Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

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Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Hairy Woodpecker Dryobates villosus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Goldfinch Spinus tristis

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Observer

sam_blair

Date

May 19, 2020

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