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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eagles - Deer Island, Amesbury - Jan. 31, 2010

A bit of time out birding today turned up a few great birds as seen below. Other than the low 20 degree temps it was a lovely day to be out.

A near adult Bald Eagle at Deer Island in Amesbury

A young Bald Eagle at Deer Island in Amesbury

A female Common Goldeneye at Deer Island in Amesbury

A pair of Greater Scaup at the Salisbury Beach State Reservation boat ramp

A Lapland Longspur foraging at the Salisbury Beach State Reservation boat ramp

The Great Blue Heron that is wintering at the Hines Bridge in amesbury

Sunday, January 30, 2011

9 Owl Day - Jan. 30, 2011

A late January windless but gray day turned out to be my best Screech Owl day to date. Temps in the high 20's to low 30's and NO sun found 9 Screech Owls sitting out enjoying the conditions. One was a new location and the last of the day was a brown morph roosting in the box at home. Photos of 7 can be seen below, two of the owls not photographed were roosting in boxes at different location in town.

Other birds of the day, seen below after the owls, were a Thick-billed Murre feeding quite close to the pier at the State Fish Pier in Gloucester and a Northern Shrike that perched over the road along Island Rd. in Essex.

The "newest" location along Rte 133 in Essex

The "Corliss" Screech - Rte 133, Ipswich

Along the road in Ipswich.

A brief video of the owl above from Jan 17, 2011 as it surveys it's surroundings 
before heading out for the night.
#2 along Rte 133 in Essex

Off of Rte 1A in Newbury

Off of Rte 1A in Rowley

and lastly at home this evening. A brief video can be seen below.

Thick-billed Murre - State Fish Pier, Gloucester 

Northern Shrike - Island Rd. Essex

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Parking Lot Birds - Jan. 23, 2011

A stop at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this afternoon found several birds foraging at the edge of the Hellcat parking lot. The Blue Jay and White-throated Sparrow were enjoying a bit of seed left along the edge of the lot.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Afternoon Owls - Jan. 21, 2011

Another 7" of snow made for a busy day behind the plow. The storm ended early in the afternoon giving me a chance to take a drive around 4 to look for Screech Owls sitting out in the afternoon light. Well I did come across 2 owls but neither was basking in the light as the sun was obscured bay a late day snow squall.

One of a pair seen in Hamilton

This gray Screech was roosting 300' or so from the Screech that was hit by the car recently.
Taking over the territory or a possible mate?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More snow birds - Jan. 18, 2011

A few inches of snow fell through the day bringing lots of birds to the feeders. A Common Redpoll and a Purple Finch were the most unusual birds seen. The Red-shouldered Hawk put in an appearance this afternoon, perching all around the yard and making several runs at the Mourning Doves. A late afternoon image below (rain & very low light...:)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Buntings & Sparrows - Jan. 17, 2011

A stop at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester this morning found several Horned Lark and a lone Snow Bunting foraging near the road. The Snow Bunting posed for the image below.

Later in the afternoon I came across a Savannah Sparrow working the wrack line at the boat ramp on the Salisbury Beach State Reservation. A Rough-legged Hawk paused briefly in the Pine Grove but not long enough for photos.

I ended the day with one of the Ipswich Screech Owls. A short video of the owl checking out it's surroundings prior to heading out for the night can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oSR5skBYYU

Corliss Brother's Screech Owl - Rte 133, Ipswich, MA

I've had many requests for directions to all of the Screech Owls I've come across this winter. I'd love to share all of them with everyone interested but most are either on private property or in such a poor location for viewing that I feel I'd be creating a traffic hazard by giving out more info. Sorry.

There is one Screech that shouldn't be too much trouble (traffic, neighbors, private property, etc..) as long as people use common sense when stopping to see the bird, ie: pull off the road out of the way of traffic, stay in your vehicle while viewing the bird, stop briefly so you and others aren't a traffic hazard and stay off of private property. PLEASE...:) Let's keep our viewing opportunities and great relations with the neighbors intact and oh yeah... no pestering the bird....

This would be the Corliss Brother's Screech Owl along busy Rte 133 in Ipswich. It can only be viewed from the east or Essex side of the tree, so if you are headed towards Rte 1A along Rte 133 and are approaching Corliss Brother's this would be the correct side of the tree to see the bird from.

It uses the top hole on the right all of the time as shown in the photo below and is sitting out on sunny, fairly wind free days. This is a late November to early March thing, it's not usually there other times of the year.

Screech Owls use roost holes like this through most of the winter months and roost in trees,either pines or deciduous the remainder of the year. The red morph Screech stands out from the surrounding colors when sitting in a hole and this is the biggest help to me when trying to locate them.

I  hopes folks find this useful and enjoy this wonderful little owl as much as I do.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Birds - Jan. 16, 2011

A bit of time on Plum Island this afternoon found at least 3 Bohemian Waxwings eating berries and snow along the dunes trail at Hellcat. They are really colorful and cool birds. A 3 minute video can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxDOvac3npg
Someone was kind enough to put a bit of bird seed out in the Hellcat parking lot. The Cardinal and Red-breasted Nuthatch were enjoying the bounty.
and lastly one of the Screech Owls I came across today spent it's time during my visit checking out the birds that weren't too happy it's in the neighborhood.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Owls, owls & more owls... Jan. 15, 2011

A drive before and after work today turned up Screech Owls in 5 different locations. The Bluebirds put in an appearance at work mid-day, the Cooper's made an early morning run at the feeders, 6:45, and the Pied-billed Grebe was still in attendance in the center of town. Not too shabby for another work day!

Two of the roost holes I watch were completely filled in with snow after the big storm. The 2nd shot below shows the Corliss Screech sitting amongst the snow, The other hole is still plugged.

Along the road in Hamilton
The Corliss Brothers Screech in Ipswich
and two shots of the same owl seen in Ipswich this evening.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bluebird Kinda Day.... Jan. 14, 2011

A Red-shouldered Hawk made an appearance in the yard this afternoon, announcing it's presence with several loud calls. I spent several minutes trying to get a photo without spooking it only to have it fly at a Mourning Dove on the deck a few feet from me... and yes the Dove did get away. A very interesting experience but alas no photos...

I put the camera in the truck, I was working after all, and headed out into the yard for a bit of scraping of the hard pack while hoping the hawk would make another appearance. No luck on the hawk but 7 Eastern Bluebirds were feeding on Winterberry in the parking lot. Needless to say I parked the truck and stuck the camera out the window. The Bluebirds went back to feeding within moments and I got my photos.
Lastly a young Cooper's Hawk started the day off before being chased from the yard by the Red-Shouldered

Thursday, January 13, 2011

That Didn't Take Long! - Missing Mourning Dove - Jan. 13, 2011

I checked the Mourning Dove carcass hanging in the entrance to the owl box a little after 6 this evening and then sat down to post the earlier note about the Dove and it's fate.... Well... an hour and a half later I looked out again and it was gone! A check of the other box in the yard found the Screech in the photo below checking out the yard.... Cool! Photo taken out the kitchen window...:)

Screech Owl - Post Snow Storm Visit - Jan. 13, 2011

Though I haven't seen either of the Screech Owls in any of the boxes in the yard for several weeks now there was clear evidence of a visit to one of the boxes sometime last night between 9pm when I finished shoveling out the feeders and 5am when I first looked out this morning.

The "partial" Mourning Dove carcass was left as seen in the image below, I'm assuming the Screech is using the box to cache the remains for a later meal. It will be interesting to see how long the remains remain....:)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bonus Birds - January 11, 2011

Working this past Sunday morning gave me this afternoon off. Starting things off was a Common Raven calling as it flew over the house, day #3 for this large corvid in Essex and later in the afternoon 2 more Ravens flying over Market Basket in Rowley. Next a Common Redpoll briefly at the feeder. Then a bit of time out and about with several Fish Crow at the Lawrence boat ramp along the Merrimack River.
Along the road in Hamilton this Screech Owl has used this roost location infrequently this winter.
and an image from Monday, taken off of Old Penzance Road in Rockport of a Barrow's Goldeneye (on the right)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snow Birds - January 09, 2011

A bit of plowing in the morning (a Common Raven flew over making the plowing a bit easier) then birding in the afternoon. A stop by a roost hole on Great Neck in Ipswich found the gray morph Screech Owl in attendance.
A trip to the State Fish Pier in Gloucester found a Black Guillemot foraging quite close to the pier.
The view as it dives for a bite to eat.
A Red-breasted Merganser swam past as I waited for the Guillemot to surface.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

King of the Hill.....

My pre-work drive turned up 4 Eastern Meadowlark in the field across from Island Road this morning but the highlight of the day was the birthday wish on a lawn just before the center of Essex. Do you think the "King" will sit on his "Throne" on his special day?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Screech Owls - Good & Bad - January 07, 2011

My morning drive went from good to bad in a matter of minutes. A drive by the Rte 133 Screech Owl roost in Essex found a different, gray morph, owl in residence. The composite below shows both owls seen in the past two days. Whooo knows... maybe a pair? I hope so.
A few miles down the road in Hamilton I was greeted by a lump in the road as I approached the roost hole of a red morph Screech I had seen a few times recently. The owl was an apparent victim if a vehicle strike, something that happens all to often with these owls as they roost and hunt along our roadways. The photo below is a composite of a shot taken on Wednesday and this morning.