OWLS & OTHERS FROM THE NORTH SHORE OF MASSACHUSETTS AND ELSEWHERE ACROSS THE USA

I'm an avid birder and nature photographer wishing to share some of my sightings & images taken while out in the "wilds" of Cape Ann and surrounding New England countryside. More images can be found on my web site at New England Birds Plus Enjoy, Phil Brown


"Click" on any image below for a larger version....


Comments & Question - nebirdsplus@gmail.com

New England Birds Plus Images on SmugMug

Friday, December 28, 2012

Late afternoon near miss.

A late afternoon drive through town found a well camouflaged Screech Owl roosting in one of the many holes I peek at as I make my way to and from the job site. I had to turn around and go back for a second look after glancing and thinking the hole looked a bit different than usual.


The colder conditions predicted for the upcoming week may push more owls to use cavities for roosting and give me a few more opportunities to share an image or two.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Early Xmas Gift

Santa gave me an early Christmas present this afternoon when he made my phone ring as I was about to enter the CVS in downtown Hamilton. I stepped to the side of the building to take the call and noticed the ornamental Pines against the building. A quick scan (a habit that has gotten me many a weird look over the years....:) and voila, my early Xmas present! Thanks Santa!!



Monday, November 19, 2012

Owls! It's About Time....

I managed to see 2 Screech Owls on Sunday, a red and a gray. The first of the day was sunning itself along the road in West Newbury with lots of small birds for company.



The second in a tree they've been using for several years just down the road from the house at the end of the day.


I had a gray Screech in this hole back on Nov. 4th, wouldn't it be nice to see them both using this location!


Salisbury Beach State Reservation and all of the Crossbills that have descended on the Pines around the campground have attracted a pair of Merlin with one of them sitting long enough for this shot.




Friday, November 16, 2012

White-winged Crossbill 11-13-12

Another White-winged Crossbill, this from earlier in the week on a rainy Tuesday.

A few more images on my Flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebirdsplus/

A brief video of the Crossbills bathing alongside the road.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

White-winged Crossbill 11-14-12

We've had a spectacular influx of winter finches across the country this fall with 300 - 400 White-winged Crossbills settling into the pines at the Salisbury Beach State Reservation. Hopefully loads more to come from this location this late fall and winter.

More photos on my Flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebirdsplus/

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Red Crossbill Calls - Nov 12, 2012

A visit to Salisbury Beach State Reservation on Monday, November 12, 2012 found 300 or so White-winged Crossbill foraging in the Pines around the campgrounds. Among them were at least 3 Red Crossbill, one of which, a male, can be seen below. 


A return visit on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 armed with my cell phone and the knowledge that the flight call of a Red Crossbill could id it to type found me roaming the campground for a short while before I managed to record the brief 3 second flight call which can be heard below.

Red Crossbill flight call - Nov 13, 2012

video

I ran the wav file through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Raven Pro software and came up with the audio spectograph you see below, a pretty good match to "type 3" Red Crossbill.

I also sent the wav file off to Matt Young at the Cornell Lab, he confirmed it to be a type 3 Red Crossbill.


A comparison of all of the Red Crossbill types can be found on the Labs web site HERE


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Odd Nest Location

I was poking around Ipswich a week or so ago and came across a Northern Rough-winged Swallow flying quite close to the ground in a parking lot off of the center of town. I pulled over to watch it for a bit only to have it disappear behind a port-a-potty.... I walked over and found this drain pipe a few feet off of the ground (just left of the port-a-potty). The swallow flew from the pipe as I rounded the corner.


I could hear young begging from the nest which was a foot or so into the pipe. I decided to leave well enough alone and come back every few days to see  what transpired. Well... about a week later I found the youngsters at the edge of the pipe with the parents ferrying food to them at a pretty good rate. Here's one of the youngsters waiting for it's next meal to arrive.


and now joined by its nest mates just prior to the adult popping by.


this is what the adult sees as it flies up to the pipe. That's a really great target for the parents to funnel food into.


and lastly a shot as the adult flies in.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Odd Bird

Staring out the window.... again..... A hatch year Eastern Towhee stopped by the feeders this morning. I've seen very few of these youngsters through the years and was a bit puzzled when I first laid eyes on it.


It looks quite different from an adult male.








Sunday, June 10, 2012

Amesbury Waterfall

Hidden in plain sight in the center of Amesbury, MA is a wonderful little waterfall created by the waters of the Powwow River and formerly used by the surrounding mill buildings.


One of the items you walk by on your way to the waterfall is this 6' tall tribute to Amesbury's own Al Capp, creator of the Li'l Abner comic strip. More information on Al Capp here


I spent a bit over an hour trying to find the best angle through the fence on the pedestrian foot bridge over the river. The image below was shot a just over a full second to create the smooth look to the water.


This is a typical image with the water "frozen" with a fast shutter speed. Nice if you like the look....


This is a very quiet area on a mid-morning Sunday allowing for lots of time to play with the camera settings.


and lastly a closer look at this lovely little water fall that's just a few steps from the center of town.


 I'll have to go back on an overcast day to get a bit more detail out of the water.

Peregrine Falcons - Fledged

Another nesting season comes to a close for a pair of Peregrine Falcons and their 3 youngsters, 2 males and a female. The falcons nested in the Boston area for a second year with the female banded this year along with the youngsters. That's the adult male below, he'd been banded a few years prior.


One of the young males testing his wings.


The second young male doing the same with the younger female sitting to his left.


The adult female leaving after delivering a tidbit to the young female.


The youngest of the bunch, she was also the last to fledge by several days.


Lot's of flapping to develop those flight muscles.


With running across the ledge a comical sight to see.


The adult female checking in on the youngsters.


Loads more downy feathers seen on the young female as she spreads her wings.


The adult male with another food delivery.


The young female giving her brother a "what's up" look.


Ready to fledge. He left the day after this was taken.


Another look at the downy female.


The threesome with one of the males calling to the adults.


Hey look! I think I can fly....:)


and a last look at the other young male that also fledged the day after this was taken.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cooper's Hawk and HDR

I had a visit this week by one of the local Cooper's Hawks, this one an after hatch year female (just one year old or a month or so shy).


She stopped in the Trumpet Creeper long enough for these 3 images but heard the shutter on the camera and was off for a quieter hunting location.


but not before giving me the one-eyed stare....


I've been having fun with Photoshop and some HDR (High Dynamic Range) software recently. The following photos are not bird related so if that kind of thing doesn't interest you may want to leave now...:)

We've been remodeling a 4 family built in the early 1900's in Gloucester recently and these 4 shots are of the interior as the carpenters work their way through the project. These are all handheld shots, which were rather dull looking prior to being run through the HDR software.

The old kitchen - soon to be bathroom with Brian hard at work.


The old dining room, looking at the living room.


The old dining room - soon to be kitchen. 


This has led me to look at some of my images in a different light with the following examples of different processing.

The Gloucester City Hall, currently being restored - HDR


and run through the oil paint filter in Photoshop as well as HDR.


and lastly... if you've read this far..... a shot of my backyard or what I call "Hummingbird Haven"