Welcome to the Vinalhaven sightings report
January 15th, 2015
This one “cleaned up nice”
Highlights – varied thrush, Carolina wren, yellow-bellied sapsucker, gadwall, rough-legged hawk, northern goshawk, barrow’s goldeneye, belted kingfisher, deer whisperer
Upcoming event – this Saturday!
– January 17th – MCHT Basin snowshoe/tracking/winter walk.
10am at Skoog Park (VLT office parking area) for carpooling. About 3 hours
long (or so). Bring a snack, snowshoes not required.
|raccoon or big foot|
Contact us! – Send us your sightings and your photos – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiit trick – click on photos to enlarge to jumbo size!
Sightings – Jim Clayter sees a lot out his back
door (and side windows). His pumpkin ridge feeder sightings are legendary (at least with the VSR
staff!), his heron observations over the years have been impressive, and we all saw his gross eagle shots from November.
Well, it’s only January 15th and Jim’s has already sent in some
photos of a Varied Thrush - an early
nomination for the “Bird Of The
Year”, or “BOoTY” award.
|can you see how varied this thrush is?|
photo by Jim Clayter
photo by Jim Clayter
If you look for a range map for the Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) in your “birds of eastern north America” book you won’t find one. No map, no mention. When you see the range map for the Varied Thrush in the “National Geographic Birds of North America” it looks like a huge obstacle out west (the Rocky Mountains, maybe?) keeps Varied Thrushes nicely contained along the Pacific coast and coastal ranges (now if only the Rockies could keep the hippies contained!). It’s like the Ixoreus naevius (and let’s face it - with a Latin name like that you know it’s gotta be from the west coast) has trouble breathing at higher elevations or something and has to turn back.
|the varied thrush may have taken|
the ferry to Vinalhaven
There is a mention in the description – “very rare in winter as far east as New England and south to Virginia”.
Anyway, Jim got these wonderful shots of a “very rare” male Varied Thrush in his yard (1/11). Blown in with the recent winds? It was pretty darned cold last week and breezy enough to push a varied thrush down from the great north nothingness (and it’s true, there is nothing north of us – it’s like we are at the north pole). Whatever the case – it’s cool.
When sharing the news and photos with “tweeter folk” (bird people) on the mainland the response was 100% excitement (alright, I just told one person about it – but they were psyched!). The bird was seen for two mornings (1/11-12), and because Jim keeps such meticulous notes on his feeders/yard he was able to confirm that he had never observed one in his yard before.
This is the only mention I have heard of a Varied Thrush on island - other than the famous (infamous?) Norm Famous night migration survey report (infamous report?) where Norm listened for migrating birds at the turbine spot (pre-turbines that is) and reported hearing a Varied Thrush’s calling as it flew over in the dark. Never did see the actual report…
Jim sent in photos of 2 other “newbie” (VNMs!) bird species that he took in his yard - not a bad start for 2015!
photo by Jim Clayter
This handsome Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludivicianus) has been visiting Jim’s woodpile for over a week now – first reported 1/5, and is still appearing. The Carolina Wren is the state bird of South Carolina and one of our favorite “tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle” bird singers. Over the past couple years – or maybe just a little more than one – they have been spotted on both Armbrust and Skin Hills, near the Town Hall, and even over at good ol’ 31 Reach Road on Vinalhaven.
The range map I am looking at shows them breeding north thru Massachusetts, (but we’ve already discussed range map dynamics with the Varied Thrush). Here’s what the National Geo says – “Non-migratory (love that), but after mild winters resident populations expand north of mapped range (they admit their maps can’t represent the ebbs and flows of Carolina Wrens!). After harsh winters, range limits retract”. Simple expand and retract….
photo by Jim Clayter
Another recent visitor to Jim’s feeders has been this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. First reported on the 7th, the Sapsucker came back again on the 8th as well. This youngster has less red on the throat than the one in Sally’s sapsucker photos from the last VSR, so maybe we had a rush (of at least 2) Sapsuckers in this early winter.
Jim also reports Common Redpolls at his feeders (1/13). Thanks for sharing Jim!
Anyway – good to see another one!
Carver’s Pond – Hooded Merganser (John Drury reported)
Basin – (1/12) Barrow’s Goldeneye (male)
Sheep Island – (1/14) Rough-legged Hawk
Tip-toe Mountain – (1/13) Belted Kingfisher, murder of crows
|mink with a slight tail drag|
Old Harbor Pond – (1/11) Pine Grosbeak
State Beach - (1/14) Song Sparrow, Red-necked Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Oldtails, Eiders, Crows, Ravens, Common Loons
31 Reach Road – Brown Creeper, Goldfinch,
Woods – Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-capped chickadees, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers
Tracking – early returns on the last snow imply that it’s a good year for mink and snowshoe hare. Like their tracks are everywhere. Limited otter tracking. It’s not fair how their trails will go under the ice at times. More to come!
|otter den opening lined with ice|
|even found a new otter latrine this week|
|we have appreciated the mink trails|
this last week
And the deer whisperer….special “hat’s off” goes out to Adam White who took a little time before school the other day to help release a deer that had been caught in a soccer net…on the soccer field. The name of the deer is being withheld for security reasons – but Adam was quick to use his “ninja and sheep herding skills” to keep the exhausted deer at ease while release the deer from it knotty predicament. Is sinking/break away soccer netting the answer to avoid any more senseless deer snaggings? Are the nets up for winter soccer league? Anyway – good work Adam – local nature hero.
and lets not forget our local snow hero, having some good times in the snow!
there was way more speed than could be captured here
see you out there!