Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cape Ann - 2/16/2014

Am. Wigeon with Black Ducks

The winter storm on the heels of the trip day provided a good deal of uncertainty. It turned out to be a gorgeous day of post storm birding, and the snowfall here had been overestimated (only 3 inches). We had one lone attendee join us. In addition to stopping at the traditional locations, we did a lot of exploring.

Glaucous Gull

  A Horned Lark greeted us at our meeting location on Western Ave. at Gloucester Harbor. It called as it hopped along the sidewalk just after we pulled up. Also at that location, we had the pleasure of a fly by Merlin. After scoping the harbor, we headed to the north end of Cape Ann. We encountered 20mph NW winds and choppy water. Viewing was difficult and birds were scarce. We tried our luck anyway, but there were no previously seen Barrow’s Goldeneyes and not a whole lot going on at Andrew’s Point. Quiet coves in the vicinity turned up mainly Mallards and American Black Ducks. Heading clockwise along the coast we eventually came to calmer waters and even hit some pockets of minimal wind. 

  Harlequin Ducks were present at scattered locations in Rockport. A large flock of Horned Larks were viewed at Good Harbor Beach. King Eider, Black Guillemots, Great Cormorants, and a Purple Sandpiper were all seen along Atlantic Ave. in Gloucester. Two American Wigeon and around 80 Purple Sandpipers were at Eastern Point. Large flocks of Snow Buntings were enjoyed at both Long Beach in Rockport and along Gloucester Harbor. Both Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were seen at close proximity at Jodrey Fish Pier. Also seen from the pier was the Peregrine on the City Hall tower.

Can you see the Snow Buntings?
  One of our favorite moments for the day was at a quiet cove in Rockport. There was a Harlequin Duck on a rock right at the shore. At the same location mixed in with a flock of American Black Duck, was a Red-necked Grebe. It was feeding amongst the ducks (practicing dabbling techniques?!) two feet from shore. Another wonderful experience of note was the contrast of the two flocks of Snow Buntings. The first flock was feeding in snow covered marsh grasses in which they blended in perfectly. The second flock was first seen on a road, then flushed to the roof of a four story building, and finally seen perched in a small tree!

Snow Buntings in a tree
  We ended our visit to Cape Ann with Vin spotting a Cooper’s Hawk just before the bridge over the Annisquam River. It is worth mentioning that on our ride home Vin also spotted a Bald Eagle, as did Liam a little later. Our last cool bird of the day was a Raven spotted by Vin.

Iceland Gulls

Complete list:

Brant 18 -- Plum Cove
Canada Goose 76
Gadwall 18 -- Gloucester Harbor
American Wigeon 2 -- Eastern Point
American Black Duck 197
Mallard 141
Greater Scaup 32 -- Gloucester Harbor
Lesser Scaup 6 -- Gloucester Harbor
King Eider 1 -- Drake, Elk’s club
Common Eider 494
Harlequin Duck 59
Surf Scoter 30
White-winged Scoter 196
Black Scoter 46
Long-tailed Duck 10
Bufflehead 59
Common Goldeneye 30
Hooded Merganser 2
Red-breasted Merganser 169
Common Loon 36
Horned Grebe 38
Red-necked Grebe 7
Great Cormorant 16
Cooper's Hawk 1 -- Seen from the car leaving Cape Ann
Bald Eagle 2 -- Adults flying over highway in Danvers and Wakefield on return.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Purple Sandpiper 81 -- Elk’s club, 80 Dog Bar
Black Guillemot 7 -- Elk’s club
Black-legged Kittiwake 3 -- 2 at Cathedral Ledge, 1 at Granite Pier
Herring Gull 240
Iceland Gull 13 -- Jodrey State Fish Pier
Glaucous Gull 3 -- Jodrey State Fish Pier
Great Black-backed Gull 80
Rock Pigeon 129
Mourning Dove 12
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Merlin 1 -- Western Ave
Peregrine Falcon 1 -- Jodrey State Fish Pier
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 30
Common Raven 1 -- Over highway near Prospect Park in Waltham
Horned Lark 36 – 1 at Western Ave, 35 at Good Harbor Beach
Black-capped Chickadee 10
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 3
Hermit Thrush 1-- Penzance rd.
American Robin 400
Northern Mockingbird 8
European Starling 20
Snow Bunting 63 -- 30 at Long Beach, Rockport; 33 at Park at Fort Point
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 -- Loblolly Cove
American Tree Sparrow 3 -- Loblolly Cove
Song Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 3 -- Loblolly Cove
Dark-eyed Junco 2 -- Loblolly Cove
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 1 -- Loblolly Cove
House Finch 8
House Sparrow 400

Amy O’Neill & Liam Waters

Monday, February 24, 2014

Norman Smith talk on Snowy owls 3/25/14

This winter has seen a massive influx of Snowy Owls into coastal Massachusetts. Norman Smith, Director of Mass Audubon's Blue Hills Trailside Museum, has been studying Snowy Owls since 1981. As part of his research, he attaches bands and transmitters to snowy owls at Logan Airport, and then tracks their travels. Come learn more about this natural phenomena and the work of the Snowy Owl Project.
He will be speaking in the Community Meeting Room of the Thomas Crane Library, 40 Washington St., Quincy on Tuesday, March 25 at 7 p.m.

Thanks for your help. Hope to see you there!

Sally Owen

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Scituate to Plymouth - 2/9/2014

  The Brookline and South Shore Bird Clubs had a wonderful trip which began in snow. We had some misses (Red-throated Loon, Harlequin Duck), but also had remarkable good fortune in locating some more difficult species. For example, despite not being able to locate a Red-necked Grebe at North Scituate, we had 6 flyby Snow Buntings. We began with eight and ended with four. We ended up with 77 species, more than normal.

Iceland Gull
Herring & Ring-billed Gulls
NOTE: One person drove by us in Marshfield and claimed a Three-toed Woodpecker coming to their feeder; description suggested maybe the sapsucker we had. We explained some images should be taken.

29 Brant (Atlantic)
867 Canada Goose
7 Mute Swan
40 Gadwall
10 American Wigeon - Forge Pond, Plymouth
318 American Black Duck
399 Mallard
50 American Black Duck/Mallard
3 Northern Pintail - Cumberland Farm Field, Middleboro
4 Ring-necked Duck
1 Lesser Scaup - Jenny's Pond, Plymouth
485 Common Eider (Atlantic)
40 Surf Scoter
225 White-winged Scoter
11 Black Scoter - N. Scituate
25 Surf/Black Scoter
3 Long-tailed Duck
75 Bufflehead
31 Common Goldeneye
1 Barrow's Goldeneye - Drake; Riverside Cir., Marshfield
7 Hooded Merganser
1 Common Merganser - Jenny's Pond - Plymouth
45 Red-breasted Merganser
2 Wild Turkey - Jenny's Pond, Plymouth
9 Common Loon
1 Horned Grebe - very low
64 Great Cormorant
1 Great Blue Heron
3 Northern Harrier
1 Cooper's Hawk
1 Bald Eagle - Adult; Riverside Cir., Marshfield
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
6 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Dunlin - Plymouth Harbor
55 Purple Sandpiper - N. Scituate
154 Ring-billed Gull
211 Herring Gull (American)
2 Iceland Gull (Kumlien's) - 1 Plymouth Harbor, 1 Scituate Harbor
47 Great Black-backed Gull
82 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
25 Mourning Dove
3 Great Horned Owl - Cumberland Farm field, Middleboro
3 Snowy Owl - 2, Cumberland Farm field, Middleboro; 1 Plymouth Beach
5 Short-eared Owl - Cumberland Farm field, Middleboro
1 Belted Kingfisher
3 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Spring St., Marshfield
7 Downy Woodpecker
4 Hairy Woodpecker
8 Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
1 Peregrine Falcon - Plymouth Harbor
9 Blue Jay
15 American Crow
50 Horned Lark
19 Black-capped Chickadee
16 Tufted Titmouse
9 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
6 Carolina Wren 
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
5 Eastern Bluebird
1 Hermit Thrush
44 American Robin
1 Northern Mockingbird
121 European Starling
3 Lapland Longspur - Cumberland Farm field, Middleboro
6 Snow Bunting - N. Scituate
9 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
13 American Tree Sparrow
2 Savannah Sparrow - Cumberland Farm field, Middleboro
17 Song Sparrow
2 Swamp Sparrow
7 White-throated Sparrow
12 Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
15 Northern Cardinal
13 Eastern Meadowlarks - Cumberland Farm field, Middleboro
150 Red-winged Blackbird
3 House Finch
27 American Goldfinch
26 House Sparrow

This trip summary was created using the BirdLog app for iPhone and iPad.
See BirdLog for more information.

Glenn d"Entremont

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hull - 2/1/2014

10 people joined me on a 1/2 day trip to bird the ocean and bay around Hull. The weather was wonderful (for a change), spring-like, about 50 degrees, windless and sunny. Starlings and a song sparrow were singing. We began the morning looking at a large group of Horned Larks with a smattering of Snow Buntings on the HRA land in Hull. We also noticed a dead Ring-billed Gull that had a broken neck. Overall we had a nice array of seabirds on the ocean and the bay, including good looks at 3 Black Guillemots. Amazingly the day started and ended with bird death. At our last stop on the bay, an alert observer noticed a Snowy Owl on top of an arbor in a nearby yard. Upon closer observation, the owl sadly proved to be dead. Paul Fitzerald heroically retrieved the owl and delivered it to Norman Smith at Trailside Museum. Paul reported the following information from Norman - "Our Snowy Owl was a hatch year male, with a good healthy weight of 1700 grams. The bird died sometime during the night as rigor mortis was only just setting into the legs and the eyes were still clear and moist. There was some blood on the secondaries of one wing which would have come from the bird's last kill. Norman Smith agreed that poisoning is the likely cause of death but he'll do a toxicology and let me know." 
So if you like to be surprised, come on a SSBC trip. You never know what you might see.

Birded the bay and ocean sides of Hull from various locations
33 species (+1 other taxa)

Brant 34
Canada Goose 45
American Black Duck 5
Greater Scaup 1
Common Eider 605
Surf Scoter 46
White-winged Scoter 85
Black Scoter 4
scoter sp. 250
Long-tailed Duck 25
Bufflehead 37
Common Goldeneye 16
Red-breasted Merganser 25
Red-throated Loon 2
Common Loon 11
Horned Grebe 15
Sanderling 3
Black Guillemot 3
Ring-billed Gull 25
Herring Gull 87
Great Black-backed Gull 12
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 35
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 2
Horned Lark 62
American Robin 5
Gray Catbird 1
European Starling 85
Snow Bunting 8
American Tree Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
House Sparrow 82

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Nancy Swirka