Phenology Visit 10/3 (+more birds!)

October 3, 2018, 8:45-9:30 am

Weather: Cloudy and misty, low 50s

Birds seen at spot: Black-Throated Green Warbler, American Redstart, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Blue Jay, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker

Birds seen elsewhere: Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler (several), Magnolia Warbler (2), Nashville Warbler, Cape May Warbler (2), Common Yellowthroat (2), Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Blue Headed Vireo, Eastern Phoebe (3), Gray Catbird, Song Sparrow, White-Throated Sparrow

On this wet morning, I visited Centennial Thicket once again, but not for too long, as I looked for birds in other parts of the area. There were several notable changes to the area. First off, the leaves of some plant species were beginning to turn read, including Boxelder and Buckthorn. I actually came across a group of volunteers removing some of the invasive Buckthorn from my spot.

This is a large part of the area cleared of Buckthorn. Note that some of the vegetation appears trampled by the volunteers.

The volunteers were mostly in the area that had less cover. This left some Buckthorn in the more impenetrable areas near the entrance nearly untouched. Looking up at these particular plants, I was able to observe the way that this species spreads throughout the forest. All around the Buckthorn grove (also lined with Boxelder) was a large flock of thrushes. The Hermit Thrush (our state bird) was the most common, but there were at least one or two Swainson’s Thrushes in the mix as well. These birds eat the Buckthorn’s irresistible berries and spread them wherever they go through their droppings. Because there are so many of these birds, it seems like it may be nearly impossible to control the spread of this invasive shrub.

A Swainson’s Thrush perched on one of the Buckthorn bushes the next day.

Meanwhile, I saw 8 species of warbler today, a decent amount for early October. Only two (Black-Throated Green and a late American Redstart) were around Centennial Thicket. The others were scattered around the area. Magnolia Warblers were found further in, along with my first Golden-Crowned Kinglets of the season. Meanwhile, I found Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Nashville Warbler, and a late Wilson’s Warbler at the pond next to East Ave. Although not in the woods, I did a pair of late Cape May Warblers on my way to Centennial Woods just across from the UVM windmill. What an amazing day to be out and about in the woods!

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