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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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Falcons, Hawks & Frigatebirds - March 30, 2011

I left the condo this morning hoping to see a Crested Caracara on my way to Venus where I hoped for a peek at the Florida Scrub Jays that call that area home. I stopped, as I always do, on the islands between Sanibel and Fort Myers to see what's either roosting or flying over and was pleasantly surprised to see 2 Magnificent Frigatebirds hanging in the steady breeze. I was quite pleased with the hand held shot below.

a Great Blue Heron seemed to be saying "Hey... look at me with my fancy hairdo"

Continuing on and scarcely out of Fort Myers along Rte 80 I came across an adult and after hatch year Crested Caracara dining on a road killed Armadillo. The Black Vultures were kept at a distance by the adult Caracara which charged the Vultures on a few occasions.

The young bird only stayed briefly but the adult wasn't going to budge until it had it's fill and from the looks of it's crop in these images I'd say it had been there a while.

The youngster just before takeoff with barely a bulge in it's crop.

and the adult with a pair of Mockingbirds attempting to drive it away.

and just prior lift off

A bit further down the road I came across a Short-tailed Hawk as it soared over Rte 80

and once in Venus the Scrub Jays performed as expected once the peanuts were scattered about. All in all a fabulous day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bachman's Sparrow - Babcock Webb WMA, FL - March 29, 2011

I've visited Babcock Webb Wildlife Management Area in Punta Gorda, FL several times through the years but normally it's a few weeks earlier than this year. Well.... I'm quite happy I came down a bit later as there were several Bachman's Sparrow signing with the one pictured below being the most cooperative of the bunch.

Florida Waders - March 29, 2011

After a few more days in the Sunshine State I've managed to track down several more of the many, many birds that either call this state home or are currently passing through.

A year round resident, this White Ibis was hanging out at Ding Darling NWR on the 26th.

A Snowy Egret's bright yellow feet makes for a colorful subject.

and their head works as well..:)

a Tri-colored Heron fluffing up after a bath at Ding Darling NWR

and what would a visit to Ding Darling be without seeing a Roseate Spoonbill.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Burrowing Owls - 1st Few Days in Florida - March 26, 2011

The 1st few of a 10 day stay in south west Florida found several fabulous birds posing for the camera. Burrowing Owls, seen at at several locations in Cape Coral, were out and about at the end of the day.

A shot of the habitat these owls spend their days in.

A Palm Warbler, seen from the 2nd floor deck at the condo on Captiva.

Western Sandpipers, seen on one of the several islands between Sanibel & Fort Myers

Great Egret, high breeding plumage, seen on one of the several islands between Sanibel & Fort Myers

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Full Moon Falcons - March 20, 2011

Well.... the falcons were not actually seen while the full moon was out and about but both they and the moon were equally impressive.

This was taken on Friday evening a day before the moon was full.

The falcons were seen at different locations. The Peregrine on the City Hall Tower in Gloucester this morning.

and the Merlin, perched momentarily across from the Marker Field on the Parker River NWR

a 1st for the spring was a pair of Double-crested Cormorants perched on the pilings in the center of Essex. A shrink wrapped boat made for a very bright back drop.

and lastly, poking out of the recently "defrosted" ground in front of the office in Essex, one of a dozen or so Crocus. Come on Spring!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Barrow's & Others - March 13 & 14, 2011

A few stops at various points around the north shore this weekend provided some great views of some of our soon to depart winter visitors and just arriving spring migrants. The female Barrow's Goldeneye, on the left below and just about to dive, was seen from the boat ramp on Ring Island in Salisbury on Monday looking down river at mid tide.

These distant images allow for a nice comparison of the different head shapes between the Barrow's Goldeneye on the left and the Common on the right.

The 3 Monk Parakeets, being seen at their nest along Bremen St. in East Boston, were in attendance this Sunday. A shot of just two which I would guess are a pair.

working backwards from East Boston (a stop in Lynn, hoping to catch up with the Mew Gull, was not successful) found me at Flax Pond with only the domestic Goose, the aggressive ones that pull on your pant leg in the colder months, posing for a profile shot.

Then Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary where this pair of Eastern Bluebirds was busy chasing House Sparrows from the nest box they had claimed.

The Jodrey Fish Pier in Gloucester had very few gulls hanging around on Sunday but the young Razorbill (which I had id'd as a Thick-billed Murre and both Wayne Peterson and Jeremiah Trimble kindly sent along their expert opinions on the correct id, Thanks Gents!) and Black Guillemot seen below more than made up for their absence.

As reported by others the small Great Blue Heron rookery along Bare Hill Road in Groveland is hosting a nesting Great Horned Owl this year. The youngsters will be visible and ready to leave the nest a few months from now, that is if this rather precariously perched nest stays put that long.

a bonus while watching the owl was this Red-shouldered Hawk that flew over at quite a height, I'm guessing it was a migrant as it soon was out of sight to the north.

and lastly a stop at Steve Grinley's Bird Watcher's Supply and Gift found the lingering Common Redpolls and the newly arriving Fox Sparrow at the feeders. The shot of the Redpoll through the branches doesn't do justice for this beautiful pink male.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Red-tailed Hawk - partial albino - Essex - Mar. 12, 2011

I headed out this afternoon to check out a report of 4 Turkey Vultures on a beaver carcass along Choate St. in Essex, I found the beaver.... that had morphed into a muskrat along a wet area on Choate when a large white bird caught my attention as it soared by, disappearing behind several pines only to emerge flying right at me. The 4 shots below were all I could manage as it flew over.

A very cool looking, partial albino or leucistic, Red-tailed Hawk that appears to be an after hatch year bird. I hope it sticks around for longer looks and better photos, there's plenty of habitat in the area for it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recent Sightings - March 10, 2011

A few images from the past week or two that I haven't managed to post before now. The first few shots will look familiar to recent blog visitors. The young Cooper's Hawk has made several appearances, leaving piles of feathers here and there. He sat on one of the nest boxes in the backyard for a few shots on the 5th and I managed to catch him blinking, seen below, showing his nictitating membrane or second eyelid. The next shot, taken a few seconds later has his eyes wide open.

Another visitor throughout the year, with a high count of 10 after one of the many January snow storms, is this lovely female Northern Cardinal. She's a much more cooperative subject than her bright red mate that flees in an instant at the 1st sign of an intruder. It must be tough being that colorful in a world where others will happily devour you if they can catch you!

A sure sign of spring! Maple sugaring at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is well under way.

A trip to Lawrence to visit with the Fish Crows that hang out at the boat ramp along the Merrimack River just before the dam found several that came in to a bit of seed with their larger cousins the American Crow. The Fish Crow is on the left keeping a safe distance from the gang.

A stop at Salisbury Beach State Reservation found an adult Iceland Gull hanging around the parking lot. It won't be long before these winter visitors depart for the breeding grounds.

and lastly an odd pair of Ducks that are hanging around Wonson Cove in Gloucester. The male is an obvious Mallard but the female appears to be part Mallard, Black Duck and..... domestic? Who knows for sure but she's pretty cool looking!