May 28, 2021

FJ Delta

Date: 28 May 2021
Time: 6:45 a.m.- 11:45 a.m.
Location: Delta Park in Colchester, VT
Weather: Mostly cloudy, ~40ºF, mild to moderate winds
Habitat: Delta Park is a beachy marsh area off of Lake Champlain in Colchester. It has a small fine sand shore that spans about 30 m with a lot of driftwood including whole tree trunks. This swiftly changes into marsh land with squishy woodchip areas creating the banks and many reeds and cattails leading into the open water. These banks were very wet and moist which may be from the woodchips ability to retain water or perhaps another substance underneath the chips such as peat. I believe the woodchips are from an anthropogenic source to extend the area of the shore. This grass and reed vegetation was very dense and thick so much that you could not see past two plants deep. The grasses here and along the beach shore extended into the shallow water. There were also large patches of the common reed which attracted different birds than would be present in the marsh reeds. A couple of trees and woody shrubs were present along this shore area along the delta. The tree prominent in this area is Silver Maples that are currently producing samara seeds, or helicopter seeds. All of the vegetation here was bright green and very healthy.
Behind this shore area is the bike path which runs through Colchester to Burlington. In this area were a variety of trees including the following: White Oak, Red Oak, Ash, Red Maple, and Silver Maple. This wooded area was entirely deciduous and the maples here were also producing samara seeds. The most prominent trees seemed to be the ash trees and perhaps White Oak. The ground was covered in leaf litter, the occasional downed tree, and many downed branches. The canopy was only about 75% full and the trees were on average under 30 years old. There was also plenty of ferns, one of the species being Ostrich Fern, and some other leafy plants. A few woody shrubs were also present closer to the raised pathway that produced small white flowers. This path led to a wooded bridge that passed over the Winooski River to the Mayes Landing natural area in Burlington. The shore on the Delta Park side was similar to the shore at the beginning of the park, but has a larger stretch of sanded beach, about 100 m that could be seen from the bridge. There were not marshy areas on this shore touching the river, however, there were marsh areas behind the sand dune which had a small body of water behind the patch of common reeds.

Above Water: Caspian Tern, Ring-billed Gull, Osprey
Emergent Vegetation: Red-winged Blackbird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Marsh Wren
Mudflats: Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper
Open Water: Mallard, Wood Duck, Canada Goose
Shrubland: Gray Catbird
Deciduous Forest: American Redstart, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher

Posted on May 28, 2021 18:10 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 29 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 27, 2021

FJ Camel's Hump

Date: 27 May 2021
Time: 7:25 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Camel’s Hump State Park at the Burrows Trail
Weather: cloudy to mostly cloudy, mild wind, ~50ºF Alpine zone: cloudy, strong wind, ~40ºF
Habitat: LOWER: This area consisted of a mixed forests with the majority of the trees being deciduous. The species were Hemlock (which were usually smaller both by girth and height), Green Ash, a variety of maple trees, North American Birch, American Beech trees. These trees appeared to be 70 years old or younger. There was plentiful undergrowth that consisted of saplings of all the previously listed species as well as many variations of ferns. Woody shrubs were present at waist height as well as different grasses and leaves which were about ankle to mid shin height. There were some flowering plants with small white flowers. The ground was moist from the recent rains. The canopy was almost completely full, but with only one or two layers of leaves and holes throughout. The wind did now penetrate much here.
UPPER: This area is a designated subalpine and alpine zone. There were mountain birch and hemlock and pine at the beginning of the subalpine zone. The canopy was mostly covered except for the path because all of the trees were very concentrated here. There was also a lot of downed trees, most likely from the constant winds and the recent rain loosening up the soils. Bright green moss was covering almost every tree trunk. This area was also very foggy and moist because it was the beginning of being in the clouds at a thicker level. Lichen also grew all over these trees which continued into the alpine zone. In this area the boulders and exposed bedrock were much more prevalent. At the very top in the true alpine zone there was very short spruce trees, which are evolved to be short, so they don’t suffer so much from the wind. The summit was just exposed bedrock with lichen and crustose lichen (which is more yellow/green and softer). The wind was at least 20 mph in this area, so birds were not able to fly around safely causing the few that existed up there to stay in the trees.

Coniferous: Winter Wren
Deciduous: Red-eyed vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Ovenbird
Generalist Forest: Black-throated Green Warbler, Veery

Posted on May 27, 2021 20:12 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 15 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 26, 2021

FJ Forest birds

Date: 25 May 2021 & 26 May 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. & 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Location: Red Rocks Park in South Burlington
Weather: partly sunny, ~60ºF, moderate wind coming off of the lake penetrating through the woods & sunny, 70ºF, with moderate to strong winds
Habitat: This park was covered in downed trees, standing snags, and trees with holes and peck marks on them. There were also plenty of trees with the bark ripped off of them from the woodpeckers. The stand composition changed as you wandered throughout the property, however, the general age of the trees stayed consistent. Most of the trees seemed to be 50 years old or under with the mean being around 20 years. There was one very large tree towards the beginning of the property (that was dead) that was at least 200 years seemingly. Stands could consist of mixed woods with birch, pine, and beech as well as purely coniferous Eastern White Pine stands. The conifer stands also had large boulders and bedrock protrusions more so than the mixed stands. Other areas were purely deciduous stands with the usual birch and beech, but also had White Oak, Green Ash, and a variety of maples. The canopy was completely full, but not necessarily dense just one or 2 layers. Various mosses and fungi were growing on the ground throughout the property suggesting it is usually a very moist place which makes sense since it is right beside Lake Champlain.
I found most of the birds to be in the mixed or entirely deciduous stands. Walking through the conifer stands, everything was mostly quiet except for the occasional Pileated Woodpecker and Ovenbird.
-The best part about today was there was a sign the owls were attacking people on the trail (unfortunately I didn’t find them), but I thought that was pretty funny. It is just because they happened to nest near where to trail was and are being defensive.
-The best thing I actually got to see was the large male Pileated Woodpecker stripping bark off of an Eastern White Pine. I thought it would’ve been a longer, more work intensive process, but it was very easy for him. It had me wondering if all of the holes/cavities and bark strippings were from him or if there is a large population of woodpeckers here. I also go to see a baby Red-breasted Nuthatch up close and had to save him from getting eaten or squished on the trail.

Coniferous: Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren
Deciduous: Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Ovenbird
Generalist: Black-throated Green Warbler

Posted on May 26, 2021 13:43 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 19 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 24, 2021

FJ Waterbirds

Date: 24 May 2021
Time: 7:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
Location: Shelburne Pond off of Pond Rd
Weather: sunny, slight wind coming off of the pond, 50-60ºF
Habitat: There was a large pond (at least 200 m wide and 800 m long) with many water shrubs and grasses submerged in it. Reeds and cattails dominated most of the pond edge except where there was exposed bedrock. Of the wooded surrounding area, there were sections of pine, hemlock, and cedar bluffs covering the ground in cones and needles as well as section of mixed woods with American Beech, birch, and hemlock trees. Many snags and downed trees were present in this area that seemed to have cavities or at least pecking holes in them. There was large agricultural fields behind this property which could contribute to some of the species found.

-My favorite birds today would definitely be the Wood Duck (Ducks are my favorite) and the Baltimore Oriole. I have never really seen birds that colorful besides small yellow birds like Am. Goldfinches.

Above water birds: Osprey
Open water birds: Ring-billed Gull, Mallard, Wood Duck, Canada Goose, Double-crested Cormorant
Emergent Veg. birds: Red-winged Blackbird

Posted on May 24, 2021 19:50 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 24 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

FJ Grass-Shrubland

Date: 23 May 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. (There was a big storm that seemed unsafe to drive in earlier so I went later)
Location: Geprags Community Park
Weather: Cloudy (intermittent temporary sun by 4:00 p.m.), strong wind, 57ºF
Habitats: There was tall grass fields throughout the property with what looked like young mustard plants and various hay/straw species about knee height. There was plenty of young successional trees and brush (mostly maple and birch) from 4-6 ft. Honey suckle was prevalent throughout the property. A lot of the brush seemed perhaps to be berry bushes. The older trees on the property were mostly Eastern White Pines, some American Beech trees, and different Ash trees. There was also a marshy area towards the West side of the property (if looking at it from the road) that had cut reeds (someone had cleared it), some cattails, and some small standing bodies of water. These areas did not really have grass growing in them (I think it could've been too wet or the substrate wasn't sturdy enough) so it went from the cut reeds straight to the green shrubs.

-I saw a black bird with what looked like a red chest and maybe white wing bars (there was white somewhere). Obviously I didn't get a picture of it (most of my pictures are terrible if I can even get them) but it was pretty cool!
-The Red-tailed Hawk was definitely my favorite bird of the day because it was much brighter and prettier than I thought it would be. Hearing at least what I think was a Veery was also really cool!

Grassland birds: Barn Swallow, Brown Thrasher
Shrubland birds: American Goldfinch, Ovenbird, Veery, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Eastern Phoebe

Posted on May 24, 2021 01:41 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 16 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 09, 2021

Extra Credit

Date: 8 May 2021
Time: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Location: Waterbury Reservoir
Weather: Cloudy ~45ºF
Habitat: There was a freshwater reservoir in this area that allowed boating (with or without and engine). The entire reservoir was surrounded by a mostly coniferous wooded areas with many pines and hemlock trees. There were very few open areas of grass land that had a 15 m diameter with long grass growing in it. The ground was mostly covered by pine needles, pinecones, and moss. Close to the water’s edge was rocky. There was a small marshy area with an alcove off of the reservoir.

I took my boyfriend Derrick out birding. He loves being in the outdoors biking, hunting, and fishing, but doesn’t know much about birds and never really paid any attention to them. He really liked listening to the birds and then asking me what it was (like I know every bird ever). He was really interested in the Black-capped Chickadee that was fluttering around near us jumping from limb to limb presumably looking for insects to eat. He also found it very entertaining when I talked to the birds or when I whistle, and something actually responds. We did hear a Barred Owl call a few different instances, but I didn’t catch any of them on audio, but Derrick thought that was cool too. I think he is most interested or likes it the most when the birds are either big or it is close enough to see easily. He had an overall good time (we were also fishing at the same time so that helps), but I don’t think he would go out and just sit and wait/look for birds. He would probably just enjoy it while doing something else for another purpose.

Posted on May 09, 2021 17:56 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

FJ8 5/9/21

Date: 8 May 2021
Time: 7:00-9:30
Location: Green Mountain National Park Area 55
Weather: Cloudy ~45ºF
Habitat: In this section of the national park there was a large open grassed field. On one side there was a decline covered in woody shrubbery that led to a mostly deciduous wooded area. This area had little undergrowth with the ground being mostly dirt and leaf litter. On the other side was mostly birch and pine trees with lots of undergrowth and a small stream running through it. Throughout that side there were holes in the ground showing the ground water running underneath like a tunnel. The ground was mostly covered by pine needles, moss, and ferns. Most of the birds observed came from or were heard in the general direction of the birch and pine area.

Random notes: We did hear a Screech Owl towards 1-2 am, but I didn't manage to catch it on audio.

Posted on May 09, 2021 17:34 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 25, 2021

FJ7 4/24/21

Date: 24 April 2021
Time: 14:00-15:30
Location: Waitsfield, Vermont net to the Mad River
Weather: 60ºF, sunny with little wind
Habitat: In this section of the river there was a agricultural field on one side. This field was not cleaned out from last season, so there was old, dry bottom of stalks and hay on the ground with some fresh grass growing up through the mess. There was also dried cow manure scattered heavily across the field in little balls. On the other side of the river there was a thin lining of pine trees with occasional landslides where pure sediment was exposed. On both sides there was plentiful woody shrubbery spanning about 25 m from the waters edge. Then, of course, there was the Mad River. It was a pristine section of the river with a max depth of about 3 feet in the middle of the river. In the past years trout have been known to live here, but have been few and far between as of recent.
The Belted Kingfisher was observed chasing around another conspecific and heard calling multiple times. This could be related to territory selection. The surrounding habitat had a wide variety of resources with the agricultural field, river, and pine stand. The first bird could have been signaling that he had selected this section of the river as his home and when another bird came around, he decided to defend it. He was defending a prime territory spot compared to those of the species that may have to live farther from the water body. This species could use some of the cliff-like banks to next where there are cavities in the dirt from erosion or other species old burrows. The habitat requirements for nesting differ from species to species based on how that species survives and its life history strategies for its young. For the Kingfisher, living near a river is ideal because they mostly eat fish. This would keep the parents close to their young when going out to feed. Nesting in the sediment cliff would also be a good protection for the nest as many predatory species cannot hang on to the side of the cliffs without slipping.
Tree Swallows often build their nest with pine needles or straw and line it with their own or other feathers that they find to create both a cushion and hiding spot for their eggs. They would have to pick up the straw if that is what they decide to use from the agricultural field just behind the river or the pine needles from under the sparce pine stands on the other side of the river. The feathers they can pluck from themselves or their partners body or find them on the ground dropped from either conspecifics or other bird species.
Mini Activity:

Posted on April 25, 2021 17:48 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2021

FJ6 4/18/2021

Location: Niquette Bay State Park (Lake View Trail and Muhley Trail)
Time: 16:50-19:00
Weather: partly cloudy, around 50 degrees
Habitat: There was a mix of 50% mixed forest and 50% coniferous forest. The mixed forest was primarily composed of Birch, Maple, and Oak trees and occasionally some small stands of pine trees. The coniferous forest was entirely made up of Eastern White Pine trees. A calm small part of Lake Champlain was included in this area creating a bog type habitat about 25 m x 10 m as well as sandy beach habitat that was about 50 m x 5 m. Reeds and long grasses were included in the bog habitat.

Posted on April 19, 2021 01:32 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 9 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 03, 2021

FJ5 4/3/21

03 April 2021
Location: Redstone Lofts retention pond & the Burlington Golf Club
Weather: Sunny, slight wind from the West, ~30ºF
Habitat: At the Lofts there was a small 30 m x 10 m pond with reeds, cattails, woody shrubs, and small Sumac. The surrounding ground was mostly rocks with remnants of past seasons reeds. Around this are it is mostly open with surrounding dormitories and apartments. There is a small mixed wooded area on the smallest side of the pond with trees in their 20s. At the golf club there were Red Oaks, Silver Maples, and Eastern White Pines surrounded by very well-kept green grass. This area had many openings with patches of the previously listed trees.
Some year-round residents observed on this journey were a pair of Mallards. They were dabbling in the pond at the Lofts sticking their bottoms up in the air as their heads were submerged feeding. These ducks most likely have to constantly sun themselves when the sun is available to do so in the long Vermont winters. As Burlington is a generally windy area with strong winds coming off the NY mountains and across the lake, these birds also most likely find somewhere perhaps more inland in the winter or somewhere with a barrier to protect them from becoming too cold. Stores of fat are also probably accumulated to sustain them while there is less food or less access to food due to the formation of ice. These birds may also have a lot of down or afterfeathers on their body which insulates their bodies better than the feathers of a songbird do.
A facultative migrant could be a bird that is omnivorous or feeds on seeds. These birds may not migrate if the winter conditions are mild, which it seems like we have had this winter. An example of this type of migrant seen during the bird outing was the Red-winged Blackbird. They have just started arriving in Northern Vermont about last week. These birds are most likely coming from Southern New England to New Jersey. This bird could be staying in Vermont for its nesting and breeding season or it could be traveling further north into Canada. The birds may be moving if it is too hot for them in their wintering grounds and they are looking for a generally cooler climate that northern states offer. With spring just beginning in Vermont, there may also be preferred food sources just beginning to become available here where they may have been used or non-existent in the birds’ wintering habitat.
Arriving in Burlington in early April may be advantageous to any migratory bird as they would get first pick of a lot of the nesting sites that are just beginning to regrow. While Vermont is still waiting for many birds to migrate North for the summer months, these early birds will be able to find the best places for foraging and nesting for this season before many other birds arrive. This gives them time to set up a territory around the best resources. A disadvantage, however, is that these birds are still subject to crazy weather changes and low temperatures as the early spring weather in Vermont is increasingly varying in temperature and precipitation during this time.
Mini Activity: Frequent Flyer
-Mallard= 0
-Ring-billed Gull= 430 km
-Red-winged Blackbird= 215 km
-Song Sparrow= 0
-Black-capped Chickadee= 0
-Red-breasted Nuthatch= 0
-Brown Creeper= 0
= 645 km estimated total migration/travel

Posted on April 03, 2021 18:30 by catherinegullo22 catherinegullo22 | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment