Mascoma Chapter of NH Audubon
Welcome to the Mascoma Chapter Home Page!
All Chapter field trips/walks and programs are free and open to the public.
Summer Bird Walk Calendar
Norwich Birdwalk – Early Fall Migrants
Saturday, August 20
7:00 a.m. – 9:30 am
We’ll gather at The Ledyard Bridge on the Connecticut River’s Vermont side for an excursion north to see what waterfowl and land birds might be passing through as they begin their journey south to their wintering grounds. We'll start at Foley Park at the bridge. From there, we’ll carpool north along US Rt. 5. Likely stops include the Ompompanoosuc River Outflow, “Pompy” Flats, Kendall Station Rd. and Campbell Flats Road.
The trip is free and open to the public and is to be led by Steering Committee member George Clark and other Mascoma Chapter associates. All skill levels are welcome. Bring binoculars and/or spotting scopes as you prefer. The walking at the various stopping points is level and mostly paved. Wear comfortable shoes. It is advised to bring water and sun screen.
We'll be hoping for low water and exposed mudflats, attractive to shorebirds, when we visit in August. High water, as shown, helps keep the flats damp and alluring when the water level is drawn down temporarily by the Wilder Dam.
Photo: Blake Allison -- Lyme, NH
Birding River Road – Hanover to Lyme
Saturday, July 23
The Mascoma Chapter's annual, July excursion north along the Connecticut River took place under pleasantly cool and clear conditions from its beginning at Hanover's Wilson Landing to its conclusion in Lyme a few yards north of where Grant Brook flows into the "long river." More than 15 observers tallied 45 species of birds.
Among the birds at Wilson’s Landing were Canada geese, both hooded and common mergansers, a young yellow-bellied sapsucker, at least three northern flickers, a singing willow flycatcher, a few vocalizing kingbirds flying about, a barn swallow, cedar waxwings and two rose-breasted grosbeaks.
Lyme's Hewes Brook Cartop Boat Launch area yielded a double-crested cormorant perched on a snag across the river, a Louisiana waterthrush. a singing pine warbler and a mature male American redstart.
Farther along up at Grant Brook, an unusual find was an occasionally singing marsh wren. Among other species observed were six turkey vultures soaring over Thetford and a belted kingfisher.
The outing concluded just up the road from Grant Brook at the home of long time Mascoma Chapter associates Ann Flood and Hal Swartz. Their numerous feeders brought in several previously unrecorded "finds" including mourning doves, ruby-throated Hummingbirds, a hairy woodpecker, an eastern bluebird, a Baltimore oriole, and two purple finches.
Thanks to Jeff MacQueen for preparing the outing's species lists and an additional note of appreciation to Jeff, George Clark and Blake Allison for co-leading. Kudos to Ann and Hal for their generous and gracious hospitality. Their post-walk reception set a very high bar for future Mascoma Chapter gatherings. We also are grateful to Dartmouth Printing for allowing us to use their parking lot as a gathering spot.
Here are links to the day's accounts as submitted to eBird.
River Road -- Hanover to Lyme:
Hewes Brook Cartop Boat Launch Area:
Grant Brook and Environs:
VT State Prison Farm and Environs
Saturday, June 18
On a sunny, pleasantly cool, morning, 26 participants found a total of 46 bird species during a walk on the Windsor (VT) state prison farm grounds as arranged by the Mascoma Chapter of New Hampshire Audubon.
Highlights included two Northern Harriers, an exceptional species in the Upper Valley during the summer months and one ranked as of statewide Special Concern for conservation in the 2015 Vermont state listing. We urge anyone going to view and/or photograph these birds to do so from a road and not to enter vegetated areas where these birds might possibly nest so as to avoid human disturbance which might result in a nesting failure.
Other noteworthy birds were an American Kestrel, a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird which provided spectacular views, and eight species of warblers including a Blue-winged Warbler and a blue-winged/golden-winged hybrid Brewster’s Warbler. Field, Savannah, and Swamp Sparrows, as well as an Eastern Towhee, were present. Bobolinks, a Scarlet Tanager, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and a Baltimore Oriole added to the morning's enjoyment.
Special thanks go to co-leaders Blake Allison, Sara Eisenhauer, and Ed Hack. Additional thanks to Blake who kept the list and has provided much more detail in an eBird report a:
Bedell Covered Bridge State Historic Site
Saturday, May 28th
Thanks to Mascoma Chapter Steering Committee members George Clark, Jeff MacQueen and Blake Allison for jointly leading the walk and to Jeff for compiling the event's sightings.
W. Lebanon, NH -- Boston Lot Lake
Wednesday, May 25th
Thanks to "Pip" Richens and Blake Allison for being co-leaders and co-recorders.
Wednesday, May 18th
Wednesday, May 11th
The promise of fine weather and waves of newly arriving spring migrants created heightened anticipation for the 22 birders who participated in the Mascoma Chapter's outing at W. Lebanon's Boston lot lake this past Wednesday. They were not disappointed, as 42 species were recorded in just over two hours of observation.
Wood warblers were well-represented with ten species observed including a blackburnian, an American redstart and both black-throated blue (three) and a black throated green warblers. Among the thrushes seen were a veery, a hermit thrush and three robins. A broad-winged hawk was the only raptor species observed. A spotted sandpiper also was recorded. Perhaps the one we saw last week? Baltimore orioles (four) were abundant and noisily calling along the power line cut and up at the lake.
A complete list of the day's sightings is available from eBird by clicking on the following link:
Thanks to Gail "Pip" Richens and Blake Allison for co-leading and keeping the count list.
Wednesday, May 4th
The sole raptor was a broad-winged hawk that glided purposefully over the pond. Waterfowl included a ring-necked duck, three Canada geese and 15 mallards. A spotted sandpiper was heard but never visually confirmed.
Thanks to "Pip" and Blake Allison for keeping the counts.
Red-winged blackbirds have returned to the Upper Valley filling wetlands and pastures with their trilling, whirring song.
Photo: Wayne Benoit -- Manchester, NH
Thetford Center, VT
Friday, May 27th
Friday, May 20th
A mind-boggling count of 15 chestnut-sided warblers headed the tally sheet. No one could remember ever seeing so many on one outing. That high total was followed closely by common yellowthroats at twelve. All in all, a dozen warbler species were observed.
Friday, May 13th
Cloudy skies and the threat of rain did not tamp down the spirits of the seventeen birders who assembled at 7:00 a.m. to assess the currant extent of the spring migration at UVDP's "Mystery Trail" area and environs. Their eagerness was rewarded by the recording of fifty-two species. A higher number certainly would have been achieved had reasonably expected species - swamp sparrows, willow and alder flycatchers, yellow-rumped warblers and eastern kingbirds - been present .
Just the same, there were highlights aplenty. Twelve warbler species were tallied including a Nashville and a magnolia warbler. The party had good looks at a blackburnian warbler, and a black and white warbler was heard. Yellow warblers and common yellowthroats, vocal and very territorial, were abundant in the thickets around the wetland and along the river.
In the thrush family, five veeries were a reasonably expected tally, but two swainson's thrushes, one providing an extended view, were a pleasant surprise.
A blue gray gnatcatcher was an unexpected find. An American bittern obligingly exposed itself as it flew into the wetland and thereafter provide good views for all of the party as it foraged in the tall grasses lining the shore.
A complete list of the day's count can be found by clicking on the following eBird link:
Thanks to Blake Allison for serving as the walk's leader and record-keeper.
Friday, May 6th
Despite cool conditions at the outset, 22 enthusiastic birders gratefully welcomed mostly sunny skies as they set out on the first of the season visit Union Village Dam Park (UVDP).
Thirty-eight species were recorded during the two hours and forty minute exploration of the park's varied habitat that includes a wetland complex, a branch of the Ompompanoosuc River, a mixed hardwood and coniferous forest and open fields.
Among the highlights recorded were an American bittern that obligingly flew into the wetlands and remained visible among the emerging grasses for more than ten minutes, a green heron, two spotted sandpipers, a barred owl heard calling from the woods and a drumming roughed grouse. Also seen and/or heard were six white-throated sparrows, two swamp sparrows, an eastern towhee, two belted kingfishers, two noisy house wrens and a singing Louisiana waterthrush.
Thanks to George Clark, Peg Ackerson and Blake Allison for leading the outing, and thanks to Blake for keeping the count list.
A complete record of the morning's observations can be found on eBird:
More Bird Watching Opportunties
NH Audubon Events
Check the NH Audubon web site for activities hosted by NH Audubon and its chapters. At the website you can download the latest addition of NH Audubon's quarterly newsletter Afield, or register to receive its monthly e-letter E-field.
VT County 2016 Birding Quest
Recommended too is the VT Center for Eco-studies VT County Birding Quest program. This inter-county competition provides opportunities to bird important VT areas with staff members from the Center.
For information about the results of the 2015 VT County Bird Quest and to learn about the 2016 edition, visit the VT Center for Eco-tudies web site: www.vtecostudies.org
The wetlands at Bedell Covered Bridge State Historic Site offer opportunities to view a variety of waders, waterfowland members of the flycatcher family.
Photo: Blake Allison -- Lyme, NH