I'm so glad we went forward with the outing yesterday! Here's the summary, written by our highly skilled leader, Paul.
Our Newburyport Birders' Winter Raptors Field Trip led by Paul Roberts limited itself to essentially Plum Island because of all the raptor activity we found there. It was 100% overcast, temps 33-59 degrees, winds from S/SW 10-30 mph, gusting to 36+ and often heavy fog and occasional mist and rain. A warm and wacky day in this weird month of January...
Bald Eagle 3 (2 ad, 1 sub; the subadult was white-bellied with an Osprey-like facial pattern)
Northern Harrier 5-7 min, inc 1 ad male and 1 ad female
Cooper’s Hawk 2-3 juveniles
Red-tailed Hawks 2 (from Cashman Park)
Rough-legged Hawk 1 imm light morph at Grape & Stage Islands
Merlin 1 (across from airport)
Iceland Gull (1W, Cashman)
Snowy Owl 6 on island
Northern Shrike 1 adult at the Warden’s
We had three, juvenile Cooper’s Hawk sightings on the island, two of which could have been the same bird. The other was pursuing a meal in American Robin flocks, roosting on the dune side near Stage island.
All Snowy Owls except one were in the marsh. We did not hike any dunes, boardwalks or go to the beach or Sandy Point to look for owls.
The adult Northern Shrike was perched low and close at the Wardens, offering one of the best and longest views of an adult Northern Shrike we've ever had.