Thursday, November 27, 2014

Snowy Owls


Snowy Owl by Phil Brown

It seems that this winter may also produce a good number of Snowy Owls in our area.  The reports thus far would seem
pretty good.

To learn more:

http://www.projectsnowstorm.org/posts/report-arctic/

Good owling,
Sue

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Parker River NWR - Behind the Scenes for Birders

Short-eared Owl by Phil Brown


Parker River NWR - Behind the Scenes for Birders
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014
Time: 2:30 pm - 4:30pm

As a Refuge Volunteer, 
I'll be leading a special edition of a Parker River NWR Behind the Scenes tour.
You'll have the chance to see and learn about birds in areas of the Refuge not normally open to the public.
The tour is limited to 14 participants. Registration is required. 


This vehicle-based tour will have limited stops on the Refuge. Meet the tour leader in the lobby of the Refuge
Visitor Center 15 minutes prior to the start time.

Preregistration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited. Please call (978) 465-5753 to
register for this program.
  Those who call and leave messages after hours, your registration is not confirmed
until you receive a confirmation call from a Refuge staff member.

Essex County & Southern New Hampshire Bird Sightings - November 24, 2014


Snow Geese by Nancy Smith



Various Areas on Cape Ann:
Brant, Mute Swan, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Common Eider, Harlequin Duck,
White-winged Scoter, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Northern Gannet,
Double-crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Purple Sandpiper, Red-necked Grebe, Dovekie, Black Guillemot,
Razorbill, Hermit Thrush, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon,
Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Wren, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Song Sparrow

Hardy Street, Newburyport:
Carolina Wren

Stavros Reservation, Essex:
American Woodcock

Pine Island Road, Newbury:
Red-bellied Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker

Artichoke Reservoir, West Newbury:
Great Blue Heron, Mute Swan, Ring-necked Duck, Mallard, Red-bellied Woodpecker

Mill Pond, West Newbury:
Hooded Merganser, Mute Swan

Crane Beach, Ipswich:
Snow Bunting, Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Grebe species, Common Eider  
Marini Farm, Ipswich:
Snow Goose, Canada Goose

Elm Street, Salisbury:
Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Pine Siskin, Dark-eyed Junco, Mallard, American Black Duck, Carolina Wren

New Hampshire Seacoast:
Harlequin Duck, White-rumped Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover, Bonaparte's Gull, Northern Harrier, Common Loon, 
Red-throated Loon, Great Blue Heron, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Black Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter  

Upper Artichoke Reservoir, West Newbury:
Greater White-fronted Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck,
Double-crested Cormorant, Bald Eagle, Ring-billed Gull, American Crow
Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Salisbury:
Lesser Black-backed Gull, Short-eared Owl, Red-throated Loon, Northern Gannet, Long-tailed Duck
Cherry Hill Reservoir, West Newbury:
Canada Goose, Mallard, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, 
American Coot, Ring-billed Gull, American Crow 
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Plum Island:
Canada Goose, American Black Duck, Mallard, White-winged Scoter, Scoter species, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Wild Turkey, 
Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, 
Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Sanderling, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove,
Blue Jay, American Crow, Snow Bunting, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Buffleheads

Buffleheads by Davey Walters


Buffleheads, Rely on Northern Flickers and Pileated Woodpeckers... - 2014

I've been watching a small flotilla of hen Buffleheads in a section of the Merrimack
River. I've heard them called "Butterballs". It's Butterballs' diving that forces me to stop
and linger, to observe for understanding. I watch the thrusts, leaps, propulsion and buoyancy.
Their plumage is pulled tight into their body; then, with a thrust of power and a slight, forward,
nearly upward leap, they plunge. Their pink legs and feet force this propulsion. Upon surfacing,
they bob cork-like on the surface like a tiny toy used to lure a reluctant toddler to its evening bath.



The smallest of the diving ducks native to North America. They are sexually dimorphic
both in plumage and in size. Drakes just exceed a pound in weight, and the hen, even smaller,
weighs in at three-quarters of a pound. They're agile swimmers and divers. On land, they're
awkward with legs set well back on their bodies.


I'll never tire of these buoyant, petite ducks ~ the ones that fly low over water and then higher
over land. These black and white ducks are fast in flight with rapid wing beats without even a
whistle. They are one the fastest waterfowl and are easily recognized by their small size, large
head and flight cadence.


While a flock is diving for food, there's almost always at least one sentinel on the surface alert to
danger. I see them divide their time between shallow dives and rest periods on the surface. I've
timed their dives ~ they stay under 10 - 14 seconds. After the dive, they surface, and their bills
are prey less since they consume their prey while underwater. On freshwater, they eat mostly

insects, and in waters of salinity, they feed predominantly on crustaceans and mollusks. Aquatic
plants and fish eggs are often on the menu too. Once during the shorter, harsher days of winter,
I saw some foraging even after dark.


On the water, when lighting permits, Buffleheads create stunning reflections of symmetrical beauty.
They have dark-chocolate, brown eyes. Drakes are white with a black back, and their black head
has a greenish to purple iridescence and a large, white patch from behind the eye to the top and
back of the head. The dark hen sports a single, almond-shaped, white patch behind the eye.


Buffleheads have a woodpecker and boreal forest connection. Buffleheads nest almost exclusively in
cavities excavated by Northern Flickers and Pileated Woodpeckers. The breeding range of the
Bufflehead is restricted to the woodlands of North America. The vast majority of Buffleheads breed
in boreal forests and substrates studded with aspen.



The Bufflehead is shy and mostly monogamous, often remaining with the same mate for several years -
an admirable trait in today's world of short-term commitments. The hen lays eggs at a slower interval
than most other ducks, commonly with intervals of two or three days between eggs.


As I study Buffleheads in local rivers, sheltered waters of Ipswich Bay or the Plum Island estuary area, I think of the importance of the Northern Flicker and the Pileated Woodpecker and their excavating skills. The intertwined threads in nature continue to amaze me. When one pulls one thread, others unravel...

Parker River NWR - Deer Culling on Dec. 3, 2014

The annual culling of the deer herd is scheduled for Wednesday, December
3, 2014.

For additional details: contact Refuge Headquarters at: 978-465-5753.

Crossbills' Foraging Style

By Phil Brown


White-winged Crossbills can eat close to 3,000 seeds in a day. How can one bird get access to so many seeds? It's the structure of this bird’s unique crossed bill that aids them in obtaining seeds. Physical adaptation allow the White-winged Crossbill get at seeds from pine cones that other species with ordinary bills just can’t. What at first appears to be an odd bill abnormality is an extremely advantageous adaptation.

http://biology.allaboutbirds.org/white-winged-crossbill-foraging-adaptation/

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Arctic Terns Are Champions of Migration

http://eol.org/data_objects/31464536


Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea) makes an incredible migration each year. These small birds log distances of more than 50,000 miles,
from pole to pole, crossing through temperate and tropical regions.

Carsten Egevang used geo-locator tags to track ten of these terns, and he shares their story.  This tour is narrated by Ari Daniel Shapiro.
Produced by Atlantic Public Media and Eduardo Garcia Milagros. Supported by the Encyclopedia of Life and Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pelican Dreams To Show in Newburyport

gigi on
      bridge

PELICAN DREAMS will play at Newburyport's Screening Room on State Street for two weeks starting December 5th.
Running time: 78 m.
Rated: G
www.pelicandreams.com

close up
          eye
Written and directed by Judy Irving who also made WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL it tells of the somewhat
famed incident where an injured Brown Pelican landed on the Golden Gate Bridge. The bird was taken to rehab
and followed from there to its nesting grounds. It is a story of friendship with the wild.

Here's the schedule:
Dec. 5 - 18
Mondays - Fridays at 7:30 pm
Saturdays at 4:45, 6:45 & 8:45 pm  
Sundays at 3:00 & 5:00 pm

Good birding,
Sue

Essex County & Southern New Hampshire Bird Sightings - November 17, 2014

Yellow-breasted Chat by Nancy Smith


Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Plum Island:
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal,
Common Eider, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, 
Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Snowy Owl, Barred Owl, Black-bellied Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Sanderling, Wilson's Snipe, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-breasted Chat, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch 

Plum Island Turnpike, Newbury/Newburyport:
Snow Bunting, Red-tailed Hawk

Route 110, Salisbury:
Green-winged Teal, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Shoveler

South Main Street, Seabrook, NH:
Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird

Crane Beach, Ipswich:
Snow Bunting, Snowy Owl

Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Salisbury:
Snowy Owl, Snow Bunting, White-winged Scoter, Horned Grebe, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin

Spring Lane, Newburyport:
Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pine Siskin, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Flicker

Route 1A, Newbury:
Bald Eagle

Exeter Wastewater Treatment Plant, Exeter, NH: 
Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, American Coot, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Rock Pigeon, American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Northern Mockingbird, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Purple Finch, House Finch, House Sparrow

Various Areas in Nahant:
American Black Duck, Scaup species, Common Eider, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser,
Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Cormorant species, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, 
Hairy Woodpecker, American Crow, Horned Lark, Black-capped Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Snow Bunting, American Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow

Scotland Road, Newbury:
Greater White-fronted Goose

Various Areas in Ipswich:
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Common Eider, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter,  Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Wild Turkey, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk,  American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon,  Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Merlin, Blue Jay, American Crow, Horned Lark, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird,  American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow

Mill Pond, West Newbury:
Hooded Merganser

Halibut Point State Park, Rockport:
American Black Duck, Mallard, Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant,
Northern Harrier, Purple Sandpiper, Black Guillemot, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, 
Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, Pine Siskin,
American Goldfinch, House Sparrow 

Tuxbury Pond, Amesbury:
Red-winged Blackbird 


Emery Lane, West Newbury:
Wild Turkey, Great Horned Owl

New Hampshire Seacoast:
Canada Goose, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Greater Scaup, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Bonaparte's Gull, Common Yellowthroat

Hanover Street, Newbury:
Red-winged Blackbird, Common Redpoll, White-throated Sparrow

Various Areas in West Gloucester:
Northern Gannet, Turkey Vulture, Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck, Common Eider, White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Harlequin Duck, Black-bellied Plover, Sanderling,
Dunlin

Clark Pond, Ipswich:
Hooded Merganser, American Coot, Gadwall

Nelson Island, Rowley:
Rough-legged Hawk, American Bittern

Cherry Hill [Indian Hill] Reservoir, West Newbury:
Ruddy Duck, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, Pine Siskin, American Pipit

Newman Road, Newbury:
Great Blue Heron

Various Areas on Cape Ann:
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Dark-eyed Junco, Iceland Gull, American Coot, Bufflehead, Purple Sandpiper, Horned Lark, Great Blue Heron,
Red-tailed Hawk, Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Carolina Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm, Newbury:
Horned Lark, American Pipit, Savannah Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Cooper's Hawk, Red-bellied Woodpecker

Various Areas in Merrimac:
Bald Eagle, American Robin, European Starling, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Pine Siskin, American Crow, Wild Turkey

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Parker River NWR - Behind the Scenes for Birders

Rough-legged Hawk


Parker River NWR - Behind the Scenes for Birders
Date: Friday, Nov. 28, 2014
Time: 9:00 am - 11:30 am

Join Sue McGrath for a special edition of a Parker River NWR Behind the Scenes tour. 
Get a chance to see and learn about birds in their habitats on areas of the Refuge not 
normally open to the public. Bring your binoculars and field guides. The tour is limited 
to 14 participants

This vehicle-based tour will have limited stops on the Refuge. Meet the tour leader in the 
lobby of the Refuge Visitor Center 15 minutes prior to the start time.

Preregistration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited. Please call (978) 465-5753 to
register for this program.
  Those who call and leave messages after hours, your registration is not confirmed 
until you receive a confirmation call from a Refuge staff member.