Catching Flies in Williamstown

By josh • 251 Birds, Nature, Plants and Fungi, Wildlife • 12 Jun 2012

Williamstown (Washington County)
Staples Pond and Marsh
Town #35

I’ve been unable to post anything for a week or so due to some very bad things (the internet has been out at home, and our laptop has been out of commission) and some very good things, including a trip to Wilmington for the excellent  Vermont Historic Preservation and Downtown Conference.  The laptop issue turned out to be not-so-serious, and the conference trip permitted a wonderful overnight at Grout Pond in Stratton.  I’ll have a post on Stratton as soon as I’m able to process the photos (on my working laptop!).

A few weeks ago I was able to make a brief visit to Williamstown.  I’ve never spent much time there, but with abundant ponds, a large swath of state forest, and a mysterious undeveloped state park that seems to have disappeared from the Vermont State Parks website, it probably bears a future visit when I have more time.  On this day, though, I stopped for a bit by Staples Pond, a chain of open water and marsh along Route 14.  The area is easily accessed by Tripp Road, a little-traveled dirt road that skirts the north side of the wetland complex.

Tripp Road, Williamstown

Tripp Road, Williamstown, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 23mm, f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO 400

Being there in late May was perfect- the bugs weren’t too terribly oppressive, dragonflies were everywhere, and the yellow pond lilies and yellow flag iris were beginning to bloom.

Yellow Flag Iris

Yellow Flag Iris, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 84mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 100

Yellow Pond Lilies

Yellow Pond Lilies, Tamron AF18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 AF Di II at 183mm, f/11, 1/125s, ISO 200

The birds weren’t terribly active in the mid-afternoon, but I did find abundant flycatchers, including 3 alder, 1 least, 1 eastern phoebe, and 2 very aggressive eastern kingbirds.  One of the alder flycatchers was even nice enough to come out of the shrubbery for a few minutes, though he didn’t come too close.  Still, this is probably the best look I’ve had at this species.  It’s an empid all right…

Alder Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400

While I was watching the flycatcher a pair of common yellowthroats arrived in the scrub on the north side of Tripp Road.  They weren’t too confiding, but I did get a good look at the male.

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/7.1, 1/500s, ISO 400

Here’s the full list for my walk along Tripp Road:

  • broad-winged hawk (1)
  • alder flycatcher (3)
  • least flycatcher (1)
  • eastern phoebe (1)
  • eastern kingbird (2)
  • red-eyed vireo (2)
  • blue jay (2)
  • American crow (1)
  • black-capped chickadee (1)
  • veery (1)
  • American robin (3)
  • ovenbird (2)
  • black-and-white warbler (1)
  • common yellowthroat (6)
  • yellow warbler (2)
  • chestnut-sided warbler (1)
  • black-throated green warbler (3)
  • red-winged blackbird (12)
  • common grackle (2)

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