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On Saturday September 28, OCAS along with The Moosalamoo Association held a hike to celebrate National Public Lands Day up to Silver Lake in Goshen. Twelve people came together on a crisp autumn morning at the Silver Lake trail parking area on Lake Dunmore Rd. in Salisbury. Our goal for the day was to find some migrating warblers and hopefully spot some water birds on Silver Lake.

Things started off very well with a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker seen high in a tree at the parking lot, and as we started out, A Common Loon was heard calling from nearby Lake Dunmore. Birds were more quite as we climbed the trail, but we did find a Gray Catbird along the way. Further on we had a brief look at two Hermit Thrushes as they flushed in front of us. Heard but not seen were singing Blue-headed Vireos and a calling Winter Wren.

When we reached the lake we were treated to a distant look at a Common Loon at the far end of the lake. That not being good enough for us, we circled around the lake hoping for a better view. Along the way we found a flock of four Golden-crowned Kinglets hopping around some Hemlock trees.

Our attempt to get a better look at the loon was a success when we made our way to a northern cove and were able to see an adult and a juvenile Loon at close range. Better yet we were able to watch the adult catching fish and feeding them to the young loon, and also see the latter exercising its wings. From this spot we also had a great look at a Belted Kingfisher as it flew across the lake.

At this point, half of our group had to rush back, but those who took a more leisurely walk back down the mountain were treated to more birds, and finally some Warblers. Tennessee Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and Black-throated Blue Warbler all gave us a chance to get a look at them, as well as a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. And when there weren’t birds, we passed the time examining insects, flowers, mushrooms and other flora and fauna to be seen in these rich woods.

All in all this was a very fun trip, one we hope we can turn it into an annual event.


Last Thursday, several OCAS Board Members received a message from Gale Hurd with the troubling first line:

“I think a bird has flown down the chimney and gotten trapped in the
wood stove in my office.”

It just so happened that I had a meeting with one of the other recipients of that email, Barb Otsuka, shortly after getting that message. When I arrived, Barb asked if I had gone to investigate, and I told her I didn’t know what to do about it because I didn’t have a net. Then Barb informed me that she had a butterfly net on a pole we could use. And so we decided to go together to see what we could do.

When we arrived things were decidedly silent. Not even tapping on the stove brought evidence of a bird inside. We began to wonder if we were too late, but suddenly without prompting, there was a fluttering noise from within.

Ascertaining that there was indeed something inside, the next trick was to open the Garrison Stove, which has a pair of iron doors on its front. The key to open it was long lost according to Gale, but we were able to achieve the feat by using a pair of needle nose pliers in a way they were never intended to be used.

Our plan was to open one of the doors and hold the butterfly net in front of the opening in hopes the bird would hop into. I was on the door, and Barb was on the net. But when I popped open the door nothing happened but some more fluttering. We tried knocking on the stove again to get it to jump out, but no go.

Perhaps it was too big to fit out one door, but revealed a problem. Barb’s net wasn’t wide enough to cover the entire opening if both doors were open. So onto Plan B.

We closed up the shades to all the windows in the room, and the adjoining kitchen, which already had all other doors leading to it closed. Then we opened up a big patio door. This time we hoped that with both doors open, the bird would hop out, see the huge opening to the outdoors and fly away.

Once again I was on duty on the stove, this time using the butterfly net pole to open it up. As soon as I pushed it open, out came the bird which plopped on the floor in front of us. And now we could finally see what it was. A female American Kestrel!

I barely had time to say the name of the bird before it took off, headed right for the open doorway as planned only to fly up and land at the top of the door frame.


I tried slowly approaching it with the net to try to catch it or shoo it out the door. But it didn’t like that at all and flew into the kitchen where it landed on a shelf. Another attempt at moving towards it ended with it flying back into the office where it crashed into a window shade, fell onto a chair, and then to the floor, where finally we were able to get it into the net.

After a little cajoling to make sure it was securely inside the net, we took it outdoors to the deck where we took a brief moment to take some pictures of it. After which I gently shook it free from the net, and a leaped strongly into the air flying away to the sounds of alarmed songbirds surprised to see a Kestrel suddenly flying overhead.

And so, hearts racing, we left proud of the success of our rescue mission.

On warm, wet nights from mid-March to mid-April frogs and salamanders move from their wintering sites on high ground to wetlands to mate and lay eggs. Their route to the nearest vernal pool sometimes takes them across a road. Read the rest of this entry »


On the afternoon of December 18, OCAS President, Ron Payne, was walking down Mill St. in Middlebury on his way to the post office when he spotted an unusual bird in a flock of Chickadees. Recognizing that it was a Warbler, which meant whatever else it was, it was a good bird for December, he got out his camera and started taking pictures and had the good fortune of getting some good shots. But even with those, he had look the bird up to ID it as a Yellow-throated Warbler, and then was able to count it as a new life bird for his list. Read the rest of this entry »

On a recent evening visit to Otter View Park in Middlebury, I ran into a friend who told me they knew the location of a Warbling Vireo nest. They took me to where it was, and it couldn’t have been in a more convenient place to view it. Just off the main trail, in a Maple tree below a berm, putting the nest nearly at a reasonable height in relation to a viewer. Read the rest of this entry »


Two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were found June 5 in Shoreham on Richville Pond, an impounded portion of the Lemon Fair River, by Wesley Butler who posted them in an eBird checklist. The normal breeding range of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks is in Florida, Texas and Mexico along the coasts, but eBird shows they go vagrant all over the east, as Read the rest of this entry »

This past Sunday twenty-eight people came out to our annual Warbler Warm-up walk at the Waterworks Property in Bristol. The weather couldn’t have been better and we managed to have the ideal situation of there being a lot of birds while there weren’t many leaves on the trees. Some of the highlights were a Pine Warbler seen foraging Read the rest of this entry »

When I first set up the OCAS trail camera at this location at the Hurd Grassland in Weybridge back in October, I did so specifically because I believed we might catch Turkeys on video there. Six months of disappointment followed (well, only if you consider a bobcat disappointing). But finally, after a long wait. my instincts paid off. I hope you enjoy these clips of Turkeys that were captured of a span of five days.

– Ron Payne


A Trumpeter Swan has been seen for the past few days in Brandon on Rt. 73 about a mile west of the village in a wetland near a railroad overpass. If accepted by the Vermont Bird Records Committee, this would be only the second time the species was recorded in Vermont. The first time was at Tri-Town Water District Plant on Lake Champlain in Addison on May 26, 2014. There are efforts to reintroduce this species in Ontario, so sightings of these birds may become more common in the future.

Pictures and story by Mike Korkuc:

LDFLA Blog Spot

I took too many pictures but here are a few decent ones. It appears to think it’s a goose. It was alone when I got there and immediately went to join the geese when they flew in. The ice seems to be skimming over as we watched. Folks who met a state employee there ahead of us understood him to say he saw the swan fly, so it’s apparently not trapped there.




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This is the second time our trail camera has caught a Bobcat at the Hurd Grassland in Weybridge, but unlike our previous capture, this one was caught on video. There are a couple of interesting things featured in this short clip, especially seen in the slow motion replay. Note how even with the Bobcat’s elongated stalking stride, it’s rear feet land Read the rest of this entry »