upcoming event: Birds of India Program

Early in September Kris and Jim Andrews presented an informative talk and slideshow on the Birds of India at the Museum.  While visiting acquaintances in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Kris and Jim were treated to a bird’s-eye view at twenty stories up which afforded them a great view of the city and several high-perching birds. Interestingly, an urban park nearby once served a significant role in Indian rites associated with the dead.  Customary practice called for placing  deceased bodies on outside biers for vultures to consume.  Jim explained that this tradition has been lost locally due to the effects of pollution in the air and environment which have decimated the vulture population.

Following their brief stay in Mumbai, Kris and Jim set out on a self-guided journey to birding regions of the country, photographing a number of India’s 1300 species along the way.  Jim suggested that only about a half dozen birds inhabited both India and the northeastern United States, but many names or physical characteristics seemed to show similarities.  The couple traveled the landscape exploring the Elephanta Island basalt cave temples dating from the  5th-7th centuries  and embellished with Buddhist and Hindu carvings and investigated irrigation systems when not spotting birds such as Mynas,  Rock Pigeons, and Green Bee-eaters.

Heading out to the Snake Temples, Kris and Jim snapped photos of Eurasian Curlews, White-throated Kingfishers, Indian Robins, Indian Grey Hornbills, Large-billed Crows, Intermediate Egrets, and Wagtails. Their journey embraced India’s “Golden Triangle”, a three-points region including the cities of Delhi ( New Delhi), Agra (where the Taj Mahal sits), and the Rajasthan desert area which includes Jaipur.  Babblers and Hoopoes were documented at the Keoladeo National Park.  Also,  Red Wattled Lapwings (pictured above), Oriental Magpies, Pochard Ducks, Yellow-beaked Pileated Woodpeckers, Soras Cranes, Whistling Ducks, high-flying Bar-headed Geese, Purple Herons, and Painted and Pink-headed Storks were part of our birders’ visual feast.  Jim and Kris featured about fifty species of birds in their slideshow attesting to the wonderful abundance of bird life  residing in India’s diverse landscape.

The Birds of Vermont Museum thanks Kris and Jim Andrews for sharing their fascinating insight and images from this most remarkable journey. Please keep an eye to our website for  more great programming and opportunities for armchair or lawn chair birding!

Birding the Basin: Around Orwell

Birding the Basin (Fall Field Trip: Orwell, Vermont)

Sunday, September 16, 8:30am 1:30pm

Seek out songbirds, shorebird, raptors and waterfowl, new back roads and birding hotspots around Orwell, Vermont. This Birding the Basin trip will be led by Jim and Kris Andrews, both long-time birders. This is a beautiful and diverse area that is not heavily visited by birders. Maybe we’ll even find a few reptiles!

We will be birding by car as well as walking along a few back roads. Meet at the Gas’n’Go at the intersection of Rte 22a and 73 and carpool from there.

Best for adults and older children.
$20 for members of the Birds of Vermont Museum; $25 for non-members.

Please pre-register (you can pay ahead or at the door) by calling 802 434-2167 or emailing museum@birdsofvermont.org.

Birding the Basin: what we saw on our West Haven field trip

It was great to go on the West Haven Field Trip! Birders saw and/or heard 56 species. One participant sent us an email, saying, “A highlight was seeing the Brewster’s Warbler, and Kris saw and heard a Golden-winged Warbler. … It was also fun to see Bobalink [sic], and to watch as a parent fed three young Cliff Swallows sitting on the road.  Of course, we got a little herping in too – lots of Green Frogs!”

Weather: Cloudy and breezy with rain starting right after 2:00 p.m. Temperatures in the 70’s F.
Location: West Haven, Vermont and surrounding area

Birds observed (seen and/or heard) for a total of 56: Continue reading “Birding the Basin: what we saw on our West Haven field trip”

Birding the Basin: West Haven Field Trip

Birding the Basin: West Haven Field Trip -- Join us for a great field trip in the southern portion of the Lake Champlain Basin!
Join us for a great field trip in the southern portion of the Lake Champlain Basin!

This event has been changed due to weather. It will now be held on June 26, 2011. All other details remain the same.

Saturday, June 25, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Jim Andrews, herpetologist and long-time birder, will lead us in a field trip to West Haven, Vermont. We hope to find Prairie Warblers, Golden-winged Warblers, and maybe a few rare reptiles! Jim has led many of our Birding the Basin field trips, and we are delighted to have him back again.

Best for adults and older children. Meet at McDonald’s on Route 22A in Fair Haven (pending Lake levels). Birding experience and spotting scopes optional; we recommend binoculars of course! (Have you tried digiscoping yet? Some of us do it with iPhones, even!)

Fee: $20 for members of the Birds of Vermont Museum;  $25 for non-members  (you can pay ahead or at the “door”).

Please pre-register by calling 802 434-2167 or emailing museum@birdsofvermont.org

Birding the Basin: Results from October 24

The weather on October 24th was rain, rain, and then some more rain. And chilly! But 9 intrepid birders traveled the Champlain Valley Basin, checking the skies, fields, and puddles for birds (migrating and otherwise). It was lots of fun and there was a lot of laughter. Thank you, Shirley, for providing us this list! Birds are listed in the order seen.

  • American Crow
  • European Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Canada Goose
  • American Kestrel
  • Mourning Dove
  • Rock Pigeons
  • Northern Harrier
  • Song Sparrow
  • Blue Jay
  • American Robin
  • Snow Goose
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • White-breasted nuthatch
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Black-crowned night heron
  • Wood Duck
  • American Goldfinch
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Mallard
  • American Black Duck
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Northern Pintail
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Surf Scoter
  • Horned Grevbe
  • Common Loon
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Great Black-backed Gull (not a Black Duck as I’d earlier mis-read the note –Kir)
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Wild Turkey
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Northern Flicker

If you are on FaceBook, and you have photos, feel free to post them on the event Wall (Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=148202475222276 ). We’re also happy to link any online photos to this post if you send us the link.

Christmas Bird Count: Middlebury, Vermont (preliminary)

We’re reposting several preliminary Christmas Bird Count results from neighboring towns. Email us at museum@birdsofvermont.org if you want us to post yours, too. Final results may become available on the VTBIRD mailing list and/or at Audubon’s 110th Christmas Bird Count pages. We’ll be happy to post final tallies when we receive them.

Middlebury, Vermont, preliminary summary

from Jim Andrews, via e-mail December 21, 2009
As a group, our species numbers were on the low end (58 so far), primarily as a result of the loss of our open water. A Savannah Sparrow was one of the best birds of the count.

Note from Erin:

Parts of Lake Champlain (shores of Shoreham and Bridport ) are part of the [Middlebury] circle. When the lake isn’t frozen we get many more species of ducks, gulls, etc. That is why Ferrisburgh and Burlington almost always have a higher species count because they get those species!

Outing: Winter Birds of the Lake Champlain Basin

Join us on  Saturday, February 7, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.,  when Jim Andrews will lead our Feburary Birding Outing.

Jim is a herpetologist and long-time Champlain Valley birder, and his outings are great fun. Last year we saw Great Black-backed Gulls, Eagles, Goldeneyes, Scaups, and flocks of Horned Larks and Snow Buntings, just to name a few species. We drove around the Lake Champlain Basin and stopped many times to set up our spotting scopes for better views of our winter birds.

We’ll meet at the Vergennes Green, and then will car pool from there. We are limiting the size of the group to three or four cars, so please call to reserve your spot (and feel free to stuff your cars with friends!).

To reserve your spot or get more information, call the Museum at 802-434-2167. Leave a message if no one is available to pick up. You can also e-mail us at museum@birdsofvermont.org

This event is appropriate for adults and older children.

Fee: Members $20; non-members $25.