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, February 28, 2011

Rainy Red-shouldered - Feb. 28, 2011

As I headed out this morning a large bird of prey in the Chestnut Tree in the front yard caught my attention. I headed back into the house to grab the camera and managed the following of this colorful Red-shouldered Hawk before it headed off towards Chebacco Lake where a pair have nested the past few years. Nice to know it's still around!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snowy Screech Owl - Feb. 27, 2011

A late afternoon saunter on the slippery local roads found 2 Screech Owls sitting out. With all of this winters snow these owls must be getting by dining on the local bird population. With all of the House Sparrows in my yard I should have 3 or 4 owls hanging around...:)

Two shots of the same Screech Owl sitting out in Ipswich this afternoon.

Buntings & Owls - Feb. 26, 2011

I surprised a group of 11 Snow Buntings as I came around the corner and flushed them from an open patch of ground. Only the 2nd time in 14 years that I've seen these winter visitors to New England in the yard.

A bit if time poking around looking for Owls found 3 sitting out in the late afternoon light with this gray Screech Owl being the most obliging of the group. A number of trips past the Corliss Brothers tree through the afternoon and early evening did not find the red Screech in attendance. Time for nesting already?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Barn Owl & Allen's Hummingbird Nest Cams, California - Feb. 26, 2011

A pair of excellent nest cams, both in California, can be seen at the links below. These folks go to a lot of trouble to share this type of quality. Very nicely done!

Barn Owl nest cam with 6 young Owls - 3 hours behind us on the clock....;)

Direct link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/owlceanside

Live TV by Ustream

Allen's Hummingbird nest cam with 2 eggs laid in the past few days, again 3 hours behind us on the clock.

Direct link: http://www.ustream.tv/hummingbirdnestcam

Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cooper's Hawk & Peregrine Falcon - Feb. 20 & 21, 2011

The young Cooper's Hawk , now in it's 2nd year, made another run at the feeder birds this morning, missed again. He perched on one of the bird houses just outside the kitchen window for these shots. That's the house being reflected back to the camera in his eye.

A drive through Ipswich on the afternoon of the 20th found an adult Peregrine Falcon roosting on the steeple of the First United Methodist Church in the center of town. Joshua Bouchard of Ipswich originally pointed out this bird on his Flickr account. Thanks Joshua!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bald Eagle Nest - Summer 2010 - Newburyport, MA

I had the great pleasure of watching a young Bald Eagle grow and fledge this past summer in the Newburyport area. I haven't come across it yet this winter but still hold out hope to see it fishing somewhere along the Merrimack River.

It was a late in the season nest, most likely a 2nd attempt with only one youngster seen.

It grew quickly as the summer progressed with the parents bringing lots of catfish for the young eagle as seen in the video below.

Bald Eagle at Nest - Newburyport, MA - July 25, 2010 from Phil Brown on Vimeo.
This video shows one of the adult eagles at the nest with a catfish in it's talons. The young eagle showed no interest in the fish which the adult dropped into the nest before flying off.

3 weeks after the 1st image.

Mid August just after fledging.

and one of the adults from early in the nesting process

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eagle Banded in Jackman, ME - June 09, 2010

One of the young Bald Eagles seen from Deer Island in Amesbury this past Sunday, 02/13/11, had a red band on it's leg with "7N" clearly visible in a few of the images taken that day. I forwarded the banding data to Tom French of Mass Wildlife and he passed it along to Chris Desorbo of the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham, ME. Chris responded with the following information:

"This bird was banded on 6/9/2010 at Holeb Pond, 8 mi WSW of Jackman, in Northwesten ME its USFWS band # is 0709-00515 with a Red 7 / N with stripe acraft band."

and sent the following image of it and it's sibling on the nest, taken by Bill Hanson, the biologist that banded the eagles.

A distance of approximately 200 miles from Jackman, ME to Amesbury, MA

at approximately 7 months out of the nest "7N" appears to be doing just fine!

A huge thank you goes out to Tom French, Chris Desorbo and many, many others for all of their hard work with these majestic birds as they make a triumphant come back across New England

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cooper's Hawk Plus - Feb. 14, 2011

The young male Cooper's Hawk put in another visit to the yard, this time perching on one of the owl boxes. I had the back door open enjoying the rather balmy 53 degree air, placing the camera & tripod on the deck with the hawk watching with mild interest was no problem as it stayed for another several minutes allowing for a few photos and the brief video below. It left the yard on the tail of a House Sparrow, it didn't appear that the Sparrow was in much danger of being caught.

The young Cooper's Hawk that's been visiting the feeders for the past several months stopped by for another visit this afternoon, perching on one of the Owl boxes and allowing me to put the camera on the deck for this brief video.

A stop in Amesbury at Deer Island found 4 young Bald Eagles foraging in the river with this being the most cooperative of the bunch.

A visit to Hampton Beach earlier in the day found this adult Glaucous Gull hanging around the parking lot.

as well as this Herring Gull with a serious case of bed head..:)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Eagles, Owls & Others - Feb. 13, 2011

A warm Sunday, something we haven't seen in several weeks, of course warm is a relative term... 32 degrees... which is loads warmer than the recent 10 - 20 degree temps we've been dealing with.

An early stop by two of the Ipswich Screech Owls found the Corliss bird sitting out and this gray morph enjoying the few early rays of sun we had today.

A brief video with a couple of Cardinals chipping in the background.

Eastern Screech Owl - Ipswich, MA - Feb. 13, 2011 from Phil Brown on Vimeo.
A stop by this very accommodating Screech Owls roost found it napping in the early morning light.

I left Ipswich with hopes of a repeat of yesterday's Eagle activity around Deer Island in Amesbury. Things looked pretty dim on arrival but picked up a few hours later. The Ring-necked Duck below entertained me while I waited for the Eagles to put in an appearance.

A Seal came up quite close to the duck, I'm guessing it was looking for breakfast but the duck was much to fast.

and the Seal had to look elsewhere for it'meal.

The Great Blue Heron that's wintering in the area put in an appearance early in the day and squawked at the Bald Eagles several times when they ventured to close for the Herons comfort.

An adult male Peregrine Falcon strafed the Eagles a few times as if to say buzz off this is my turf. The Eagles headed up river but soon returned to their favorite perches as did the Falcon. It perched in the middle of the Rte 95 bridge for a few hours during my visit. (You'll have to take my word that it's a Peregrine, it was quite distant)

Shortly after my arrival several Crows gave chase to a Common Raven over Eagle island. The size difference between the two can be seen quite well in this image as the Crow nips at the Ravens tail.

and again here with a shot of the Raven from below.

Oh yeah.... The Eagles... they did show up.... though it was a few hours later.... this was the best shot of the day.

and the same bird here a few seconds later

The catfish these birds are after have no hope of surviving an encounter with these talons.

as this fish soon learned....

One of the young Eagles was banded. I'll be sending this info off to MA Wildlife's Tom French to see where this youngster was raised.

another shot of the banded Eagle

A sure sign of springs arrival... The Red Sox are in training camp and the signs of the love we have for the Evil Empire can be seen most anywhere if one looks closely...:)

Finally a stop at the boat ramp on the Salisbury Beach State Reservation found this Savannah Sparrow eeking  out a living among the salt marsh grasses that washed up on the ramp.

Saturday Owls - Feb. 12, 2011

A pre-work stop by Corliss Brothers in Ipswich found both the red and gray morph Screech Owls sitting out watching the silly humans race by though I am noticing more and more folks stopping for a peek at this pair.

Visits to several other locations that hosted an owl or two this winter have come up empty. One of the owls was hit by a car and another evicted by a gray squirrel, not so easy being one of our smaller owls! It will be an interesting spring checking to see which sites host a nesting pair.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Birds and a bit of Humor - Feb. 07, 2011

I stopped by Deer Island in Amesbury on the 7th but didn't see many eagles, the river had opened up a bit giving the birds a bit more room to hunt. Several Great Cormorant flew by with some showing their snazzy breeding plumage seen below.

Back in Ipswich a swing by one of the Screech Owl trees found this guy sitting out enjoying the mild weather.

and in the humor department.... I stopped by a home in Hamilton for a bit of work and came across the sign seen in the image below... any takers...:)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Young Cooper's Hawks last meal - Feb. 06, 2011

The soon to be year old Cooper's Hawk stopped by to check out the feeders early on the 6th. You've got to love young hawks, I opened the kitchen door and stood 18' from the hawk with a 500mm lens in my hand for this photo. An adult would have been gone the moment it saw my shadow. The next two images were taken through the window.

Needless to say non of the birds stuck around to be it's next meal but the Cooper's left me a clue to it's last feast.

As I watched from the kitchen window it coughed up a pellet (mid cough above and below)

Once the hawk left the yard I collected the rather petite pellet, seen below, and pulled it apart.

The blue feather seen above leads me to believe a Blue Jay was a recent meal though Bluebird can't be ruled out. Further examination found body feathers and a few feather shafts.

I  guess you never really know what you'll find as you look out the kitchen window and try to be a small part of Mother Nature's daily class room!

A brief video of a (the same?) Cooper's Hawk from Dec. 31, 2010

A young Cooper's Hawk sat on the fence post in the yard and let me approach
quite close for this short video. The hawk had recently eaten,
the buldge in it's chest is it's full crop.