10 de abril de 2024

Sunday Afternoon at La Platte River Marsh

Johanna Hamilton
Shelburne VT- la platte river marsh
4/7/2024 1:30 PM
Weather- partly cloudy 45 degrees

On Sunday we took a walk around La Platte river marsh and sat at Shelburne Bay to observe the water birds. We started sitting at the docks and observed some common goldeneyes. There was a group of about five who swam away from us when we sat on the dock. The water levels were very high possibly from the snow melt. After a bit we crossed the road to go into the trail and look for more species.
It was very muddy and took a lot of effort to walk through the trails without getting dirty. The bird activity was very low for a nice day. However I think a lot of them were hanging out up high in the treetops where it was sunny. A couple of black capped chickadees checked us out from afar, and we noticed a Canada goose out in the marsh. My bird ID app identified Song Sparrows and an American Goldfinch. After some time spent not hearing or seeing much activity we headed out. An American Robin was sitting on a low branch and puffed up a lot until we passed.

Publicado el abril 10, 2024 04:38 TARDE por hjohannabug hjohannabug | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de marzo de 2024

Pre snow storm Friday afternoon at Delta Park

Johanna Hamilton
3/22/2024 3:30-5 PM
Delta Park, Colchester VT
Weather: 30 degrees slightly windy and mostly cloudy

On Friday afternoon I went for a walk in Delta Park in Colchester. I mostly stayed on the path across the bridge, but I observed many species of birds. Within a minute of being on the path I heard a woodpecker pecking at a tree. The park is filled with many trees that are submerged in water, and the path goes through a sort of estuary. The trees have lots of holes in them which look like they would have good bugs inside. We found the woodpecker and observed it drilling for a few minutes. I identified the bird as a hairy woodpecker. This bird is a resident of Vermont and is able to survive in many climates because it eats insects from trees. This means it can thrive almost anywhere with dead trees. Later on I encountered some black capped chickadees and tufted titmouse in the tree next to the bridge. They seemed curious about us and were singing a little bit back and forth. These birds are also residents of Vermont. Sometimes the younger birds may migrate. The black capped chickadee has much thicker feathers in the winter which enables it to survive here. Their temperature drops very low at night which helps them to save energy and survive.
From the walk to the car and on the walk out we saw some American Robins sitting in the grass. These are considered facultative migrants in Vermont! It probably has traveled from a more southern state to Vermont and could be continuing even more North. The temperature has been slightly warmer with less snow over the last few weeks. Today is quite snowy so they may be surprised! An advantage of arriving early is getting the first pick of resources, territory, etc. However a disadvantage is dealing with the resurgence of winter as spring comes to fruition. These birds eat worms out of the ground which may be harder through the snow.

Mini Activity:
All of the species I observed were resident species aside from the American Robin! Some of the other birds may have traveled a hundred miles or so within New England, so I will give them a combined mileage of 500. For the purpose of the activity I will say the robins traveled from Florida, making a 1200 mile journey. WOW!! total:1700 miles

Publicado el marzo 23, 2024 09:48 TARDE por hjohannabug hjohannabug | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de marzo de 2024

Monday Afternoon at Shelburne Bay and TI-Haul Trail

3/4/2024 4:00-5:30 PM
Shelburne Bay Park loading dock (first 30 minutes) TI-Haul trail (last hour)
55 degrees Fahrenheit, partial clouds, slight wind

Today I spent some time at Shelburne Bay park area. I first spent time observing some Canada goose at the shore across from me. They were in the water and on the marshy grassy area but staying together. There were about seven individuals, one appearing smaller than the others. At times two birds would be swimming together. One individual kept getting tall and flapping its wings while keeping its feet grounded. I wasn't sure if this was an aggressive territorial behavior, or if it was for temperature regulation. The birds were honking at each other quite a bit for the whole time I was observing them. I attached an audio file of this. The birds standing on the land were cleaning themselves with their beaks occasionally. I can imagine the Geese spend a lot of their day doing this social behavior, diving down for food, sitting in the sun when it comes out, or acting territorial. They are well adapted for the cold weather so I would guess their daily life Is much different than other birds.
Next I went across the road to the TI-Haul trail which wraps along the outside of a wooded area. I was sitting on a bench for a while which faced the woods, with a large open grassy field behind me. I did not see many birds while sitting here but I heard a few of them. Most prominently I heard a mourning dove calling for a long time. I assume it spends lots of time doing this based on my experience with it. I was amazed to see a large bird which I believe was a bald eagle fly up from behind the trees and soar around for a bit before spiraling downwards. I think it probably spends much of its day hunting prey because it needs a lot of energy for its large body and flight demands. Less notably, I heard what I believed to be a white breasted nuthatch vocalization, and a common raven screaming. I identified the latter using my Merlin Bird ID app. I think the birds were much more active today because it was sunny and they were exhibiting some spring time behaviors based on the weather. As it warms up, they are able to use more energy on mating rituals, hunting, territorial acts, etc. I'm not sure why the different colors between the bald eagle and the Canada goose are helpful. Maybe for blending into their respective habitats.
Mini Activity: While sitting on the bench I made some psh psh noises for some time. I might be crazy but I think I did notice an uptick in different cheeps and small bird noises in the trees far and wide. I think it made them curious and alert which caused them to start vocalizing a bit. However it did not bring them close to me. I never encountered a group of small birds to test it on.

Publicado el marzo 6, 2024 06:53 TARDE por hjohannabug hjohannabug | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de febrero de 2024

Tuesday afternoon on old campus

Date: 2/20/2024
Time: 2:05-2:35 PM
Location: Waterman Green outside Royal Tyler theatre on UVM campus
Weather: Sunny, dry, cold, around 20 degrees farenheit
Habitat: urban/park type

On my walk home from class I decided to observe some birds on campus for my winter birding journal prompt. This is because I noticed a large group of American Crows in a tree above me. The birds were in a group of at least 100, but it was hard to tell because they are dark and there were so many of them. This is a common behavior seen by this species all over Burlington. The Crows do this to conserve body heat by roosting together in large numbers. With such cold temperatures this is a behavior seen more often in winter. They often will fly up off of the tree as if they are startled, but then return to the tree as if nothing happened. There are not many dead trees on campus to observe behaviors associated with snags.

Publicado el febrero 26, 2024 07:08 TARDE por hjohannabug hjohannabug | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de febrero de 2024

Thursday Morning Old North End- Johanna Hamilton

Johanna Hamilton
Germain Street/ surrounding cemeteries, Old North End Burlington VT
9:15-10:00 AM
Weather: Full sun, 35 degrees, no wind or precipitation
Habitat: Urban, quiet neighborhood with surrounding cemeteries and trees/yards

This morning I spent some time watching for birds in my neighborhood in the old north end of Burlington, VT. My neighborhood is calm and I live on a one-way street surrounded by cemeteries, which are very quiet! We were lucky to have a few sunny days so I hoped to see some good birds this morning. In general I noticed they were staying high up in the trees or in sunny spots, and not really spending time on the ground or near houses as they do in the summer. This made it pretty hard to observe the birds because I did not have my binoculars. The closest encounter I had was with some Black Capped Chickadees in a tree above me for a few seconds. I was able to identify them from their heads' color pattern. Later on, I identified some Tufted Titmouses from the shape of their heads. I heard a few calls I could recognize off the top of my head- Black Capped Chickadee, American Crow, and White Breasted Nuthatch. I also was able to identify several other species using the Merlin bird ID app: House Finch, Dark-Eyed Junco, and the Tufted Titmouse.
I witnessed a few different species’ flight patterns over the course of the session. The first I believed to be an American Goldfinch, because I only saw the yellow underside flying over me. It was flying at the same altitude across the street between trees. It was jumping up and down quite a bit trying to maintain the height for such a short distance. I saw a group of house finches also doing this, though they were much more streamlined, possibly because they were flying a longer distance and putting more effort into staying steady. Based on these two observations, I think how much the bird bobs up and down is dependent on the distance they are flying. Finally, I observed a larger white bird in the distance high up in the sky. It appeared to be a seagull but I couldn’t tell from such a distance. It was beating its wings slower and more powerfully and it looked very effortless. This supports my idea that the longer distance the bird is flying, the smoother it appears in flight. A different flight pattern I saw was an American Crow diving down towards the ground.
I was hopeful to see more birds up close this morning, but that didn’t really end up happening. I think it was because I was in an urban setting in the wintertime. It is a bit harder to get close encounters with the birds by just going outside during this time of year. I am excited to try a new location next week and see how it compares. It was very relaxing and fun to spot the different birds and identify them by looking at them. Previously, I wouldn’t have easily noticed the strong differences in their appearances and songs. I noticed this especially with my sketch of the Black-Capped Chickadee. I was unable to get any photos of the birds as they were too far away or high up in the trees.

Publicado el febrero 9, 2024 02:30 MAÑANA por hjohannabug hjohannabug | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario