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 31, 2010

Cooper's Hawk - Essex, MA - December 31, 2010

A hatch year Cooper's Hawk found it's way into the yard this afternoon for a late lunch of "unfortunate Titmouse". It sat on the fence watching both me and the birds as I approached for the photos below and a brief video that can be seen at:

Cooper's Hawk Video On You Tube - 2 minutes

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An "Owly" Afternoon Drive - Dec. 29, 2010

A drive around town this afternoon turned up five Screech Owls sitting out as they waited for the sun to drop below the horizon. Three were close enough to the road for the photos below. You've gotta love the Screech Owls winter roosting habits!
E. Screech Owl - Hamilton
E. Screech Owl - Ipswich
E. Screech Owl - Essex

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Xmas Day 2010

A drive around the north shore produced a few nice images.
American Kestrel - Newburyport
Common Loon - Gloucester
Cooper's Hawk - Salisbury
Cedar Waxwing - Newburyport
E. Screech Owl - Ipswich
E. Screech Owl - Essex
E. Screech Owl - Salisbury 
Horned Lark - Hampton 
Red-tailed Hawk - Newburyport

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ipswich Screech Owls - Composite of the two owls using the same roost hole

This is a composite of the 2 Screech Owls that used the same roost hole in the tree at Corliss Brothers in Ipswich this November. I've only seen the red Screech for the past month or so.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eastern Screech Owl - December 21, 2010

This red morph Screech Owl was roosting along the road in Hamilton today. I wonder if the recent snow pushed it to use the hole as a roost location?

Blue Goose - O'Maley School - Dec. 20, 2010

A stop at the O'Maley School along Rte 127A in Gloucester found 50 or so Canada Geese with a lone Snow Goose, dark morph, foraging on the ball fields grass. The Eastern Point MAS parking lot turned up a Bufflehead foraging quite close to the road.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Screech Owl - Ipswich, MA - December 16, 2010

A drive by Corliss Brothers along Rte 133 in Ipswich Thursday morning found the red morph Eastern Screech Owl roosting in the usual hole. I'm hoping to see a pair of owls in this hole before the winter ends. It was nice to see the sun after 5 or 6 days of overcast conditions but it made for some harsh shadows on the owl.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Screech Owl Video - November 06, 2010

A 5 minute video of a Screech Owl roosting in a box behind the house on November 6, 2010

Screech Owl Video - November 7, 2010

A brief video of a Screech Owl that spent several days in one of the boxes in the backyard this November.

Screech Owl Video - November 7, 2010

Another brief video of the Screech Owl roosting in one of the boxes in the backyard this November. I shot this at dusk just prior to it leaving the box for the night.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birding the North Shore - November 7 & 8, 2010

Though the weather was less than cooperative this past weekend, cold & raw on Sunday with rain added on Monday the birds were out and about waiting to be seen.
The Screech Owl above was roosting behind the house on Saturday evening. I had another, a grayer bird, in the box in the yard on Sunday.
It was playing "you can't see me" with the birds in the yard through the day as the next image suggests.
I birded with Steve Grinley & Margo Goetschkes for a good portion of Sunday and they found some fabulous birds. The 1st being this Dickcissel along Old County Rd. in Salisbury.
The 2nd this very late Scarlet Tanager on Sweet Apple Tree Lane also in Salisbury.
I ran into Eric Lobato at Salisbury beach S.R. and he was kind enough to point out this Saw-whet Owl roosting in the pine grove,
I birded Gloucester on Monday in an off and on rain. The Peregrine Falcons wintering in Gloucester were sitting on the City Hall Tower within a few feet of each other, the rain kept the camera in the car but a stop at the State Fish Pier found an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull among the thousands of gulls present. A flyover Bald Eagle which put up all the birds around the harbor was very cool to see despite the heavy rain at the time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Birds - October 30, 2010

An early morning ride before work turned up a few very nice birds in and among the fall foliage.
The Great Blue Heron was roosting along the Essex River in the center of town.
A pair of Red-tailed Hawks sitting among the Bittersweet along Rte 133 in Essex
and lastly an Eastern Screech Owl spending it's daylight hours watching the traffic go by along Rte 133 in Ipswich.

Sandhill Crane - Rowley, MA - October 25, 2010

A Sandhill Crane dropped into the corn fields just north of Stackyard Rd. along Rte 1A in Rowley on October 24, 2010. I managed to catch up with it on the 25th.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What makes a May morning magical for birders.....

May.... we wait all year for it's arrival and savor each morning with it's loud chorus of both returning birds and those passing through on their way to nesting grounds to the north.

A Bay-breasted Warbler, one of several seen at the Parker River NWR this past Monday, 5-17-10.

A Chestnut-sided Warbler makes a bright and cheery addition to one's day list anytime there seen.

One of our local breeding birds, this Piping Plover was feeding at the waters edge at the very different and much smaller Sandy Point State Beach. This winters storms re-arranged lots of sand at the southern tip of Plum Island.

Owls in the woods.... Oh My!

A stop in Boxford this past Sunday morning, 5-16-10, found Jack Holt, raptor bander extraordinaire, ready to to tackle the job of banding young Barred Owls at a local nest site. Unfortunately they had fledged the prior night and were nowhere to be found. These were the same young birds we had seen during Bird-a-thon.

From there we headed for a private location to view a new "nest structure" Jack had recently installed for a pair of Great Horned Owls who's nest had disintegrated prior to their fledging.

The bottom 1/3rd of a 55 gallon drum was the answer for the owls housing needs. The adults have been seen feeding the young at this location and hopefully will use this for years to come.

This is the second of the two peeking over the edge.

A short drive from this location found another pair of Barred Owls nesting in  a beautiful piece of  protected woods.

The female stayed close by calling softly to the youngsters still in the box.

Raccoons used the box over the winter and added a bit of "flow through ventilation" which the owls didn't seem to mind.

At 70 years young watching Jack working his way up to the boxes and rappelling down seems a magical feat for those of us with our feet firmly planted on the ground! Thanks Jack & Happy Birthday!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bird-a-thon 2010

Bird-a-thon 2010 was held this past Friday evening & Saturday, May 15 & 16 and fine weather, minus the gusty breezes, was a pleasant change from past very rainy events. Our team, lead by Captain Steve Grinley and his merry band of birders, Margo Goetschkes, Linda Ferraresso and yours truly, had our usual assignment check off the odd bird from this and that location in Essex County. Our only miss of the day was the White-faced Ibis which had been seen the day before.

A few of the highlights captured digitally along the way:

A pair of Ring-necked Pheasant walking along the side of the road afforded close looks. The male seen above is especially colorful while the female below is a "bit" more subdued.

Seeing the tufts erected on the males head was a 1st for many of us. They appeared to be a mated pair.

An earlier stop had these very cute young Barred Owls sitting atop the nest box. I think there are 3 in this image with the 3rd on the left with just its wing showing.

They were nowhere to be found on a return trip the following day!

The "changing of the guard" was seen at a Pileated Woodpecker nest later in the day.

Steve & Jane Mirick, birding Cape Ann for the Bird-a-thon, found a Purple Gallinule eating gypsy moth worms in a Maple tree along High St in Gloucester.

This southern "Water Chicken" was certainly the most unusual bird found that day!

A return trip Sunday morning found the Gallinule feeding fairly close to the road as seen in these two images.

It's feet are a bit large for walking along the thin Maple branches.

The last bird Steve & Jane Mirick located, after the Bird-a-thon had ended and we were all on our way home, was this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron that ate very large worms from a lawn in Newburyport.

A very interesting day of birding was had by all!