Field Observation 2: Intervale

Thomas Maron
3/4/20
WFB 130
Field Journal 2

My second field observation took place at 1:30 in the afternoon on March 3rd, began at my apartment on North Willard St. and proceeded from here down to the Intervale and a trail along the Winooski River. The weather was a warm 47 degrees with alternating sun and partial cloud cover. My excursion took me through several types of habitat including suburban and backyard feeders, farm fields, a deciduous floodplain forest as well as a river ecosystem.
The first individuals I observed were several Mourning Doves and American Crows both on power lines and in flight. As I got closer to the Intervale the diversity of species I saw increased rapidly beginning with a lone male Northern Cardinal and then a male and female pair of the same species. The increased in diversity continued with the observation of several smaller birds including two Song Sparrows and a Black-capped Chickadee. My species sightings then hit a lull until I observed a male and female pair of Common Mergansers drifting down the Winooski River, they were soon joined by another male and three other females of the same species. As I continued on down the trail I was suddenly surprised by the presence of a Downy Woodpecker not five feet from me scurrying up a snag. It soon flew to another nearby tree and was off up and down several other trees before I lost sight of it. On my way back up the road from the Intervale, I noticed a feeder in a side-yard which, somewhat shockingly, had a Hairy Woodpecker fully enthralled upon its feed.
Given the distinctly non-winter weather conditions in which I ventured out in, I didn’t happen to directly observe any species displaying thermoregulating behavior. However, I imagine had the weather been twenty to thirty degrees colder I almost surely would’ve observed the Northern Cardinals with their feather puffed up to increase insulation or would’ve seen the Mergansers sunning themselves or propped up on one leg with their beak tucked in their feathers to reduce heat loss. I also might not have observed the woodpeckers if instead they had been using their time to rest in a cavity rather than expending the energy to find food. However, the sighting of the Hairy Woodpecker at the feeder does display a change in the species diet as a result of season. This individual was most likely opportunistically feeding on the seeds and suet due to a lack of grubs and other bugs in the dead and decaying trees. This behavior highlights how the seasonal change forces species to change their diet more toward what food is immediately available, as opposed to finding the highest quality food or what is their favorite.
During my walk, my snag count did not go very high, however I did observe the Downy Woodpecker pecking on a snag as well as several other snags with Woodpecker holes. These downed and decaying limbs provide both habitat and feed for a variety of cavity-nesting and grub-eating species with both of these types of species most likely to use them.

Posted by tmaronadk tmaronadk, March 06, 2020 13:05

Observations

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

seven American crows, identified by sight and call, observed in several different habitats as well as in flight

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

4 individuals, heard calls and observed in flight and in several different habitats and canopy levels

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

two sparrows in low brush along the side of the trail

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

Observed in the same area as the song sparrows

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

saw a male cardinal in the high canopy and then observed a male and female flitting together amongst the understory

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Common Merganser Mergus merganser

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

Initially saw a male and female pair in the winooski river, they were then joined by three more females and another male

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

Observed on several decaying trees as well as one snag

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Hairy Woodpecker Dryobates villosus

Observer

tmaronadk

Date

March 3, 2020

Place

Intervale (Google, OSM)

Description

observed at a feeder walking back up from the intervale

Comments

Thumb

Nice job! Seems like you had a good day out and were able to see a lot of birds. Nice binocular photo in there too! Your journal entry was good and it touched on everything. My one suggestion would be to place the birds into the habitat you were in. You described a number of habitats you went through, which was great, but you could link the birds to those spots. With some of them it is obvious, like the ducks in the river, but for the woodpecker on the snag, what kind of forest were you in? Things like that. Anyway, solid journal all around.

Posted by chloesardonis 2 months ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Is this inappropriate, spam, or offensive? Add a Flag