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

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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!

Monday, May 10, 2010

White-faced Ibis - Rowley, MA - May 10, 2010

A pair of White-faced Ibis were found today by Brian Parker along Rte 1A in Rowley at a spot we call Pikul's pans, a small pool on the west side of the road just past Redgate Rd.

The red eye, facial skin & legs along with the white encircling the eye & facial skin point to this being a wayward Ibis.

One or two of these very colorful birds make their way through Massachusetts most years.

Groveland to Newburyport - May 09, 2010

A bit of birding on Mother's Day 2010 found several great birds along J.B. Little Road in Groveland. A marsh flanks either side of this former road, which is now a trail used by many.

This Yellow-throated Vireo perched up for several minutes, calling softly.

A Song Sparrow stopped by to check both me and the bugs out.

A stop along Water Street in Newburyport found this Great Egret having great success as it pulled multiple small fish from the small pools along the road.

One more shot of this agile angler.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Essex Yard Birds - Early May 2010

It wasn't until the 6th of May that I saw my 1st Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the feeder.
They arrive around this date each year with males showing up a week or so ahead of the females most years.

Other early May birds include Baltimore Orioles that come for the oranges and grape jelly that I put out for them.

The female Oriole in the photo below was gathering nesting material from last years milkweed stalks just outside the kitchen window.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Turkey Vulture nest - Newbury, MA - May 02, 2010

Steve Grinley gave me a call during the week informing me of a possible Turkey Vulture nest in his breeding bird block in Newbury, something never seen by either of us or by Margo Goetschkes who joined us for the event.
Seen above is the granite outcropping that the vulture chose to nest in. It's in a very remote portion of the Downfall WMA. A Turkey hunter, Eric Norgaard, seen on the right in the photo below with Steve Grinley on the left, came across the nest during the week and passed the info along to Steve, volunteering to bring him back to the nest over the weekend.

and here "she" is, sitting tight on her eggs as we slowly and quietly took a few documentation photos.