Sunday, December 30, 2012

Long-eared Owl

Another Long-eared owl today, what an amazing week!!!! I have to say though, given the location of this bird, I have to question if it's doing well. On a small tree snag 3 feet off the ground. I hope it makes it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Well I have the best wife in the world. Who gets you a dinosaur ? The condition of the fossil is incredible, its a perfect skeleton. It has replaced my original Audubon collection book as the new coolest thing I own.

 Keichousaurus -  is a genius of marine reptile in the pachypleurosaur family, which went extinct at the close of the Triassic period. About 220 + million years ago. The name derives from Kweichow, an achient provience in China. 
Keichousaurus, like all sauropterygians, was highly adapted to the aquatic environment. Individuals of this genus ranged from 15 - 30 cm in length, and had both long necks and long tails, with elongated, five-toed feet. The pointed head and sharp teeth in this genus also indicate that they were fish- eaters.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Long Eared Owl

A quick stop by Salisbury Reserve yielded an amazing bird. A  long eared owl was tucked into a small conifer. Second time seeing this species ever for was psyched. The Salisbury reserve is so weird, I almost never see anything there, but when I do it seems to be awesome. Damn you Salisbury, damn you. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Had a cooper's hawk sit still for a second, which doesn't happen to often. Also hundreds of crossbills back again at Salisbury Reserve. And lastly a quick stop in the Parker, I found a small group of doe's who apparently avoided getting blasted in the annual deer culling a few days prior.

Deer thinking: please don't shoot me

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Hit the Salisbury Reserve this afternoon with my sister. A few raptors milling around. A Coopers Hawk, and a very cooperative Merlin were making runs at various birds. Also a number of Crossbills still present.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sir Nelson

Great sunset tonight at Nelsons Island. & 1 longggg off short eared owl. 

 Last light Redtail

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Screech & Crossbills

Great day with; WW crossbills, Pine Grosbeaks, Redpoll's, and a screech. Also a rough legged Hawk at Cross Hill in the PRNWR. Another bird of note was a Short Eared Owl in Ipswich off goolds creek early in the morning last weekend, & 2 other SEO's at another spot by my house. ( no pics) Sat morning there were over 60 + crossbills at the Salisbury Reserve.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saw Whet Owl Banding

So Casey & her mom, & my dad and me all went to Drumlin Farm for a Saw Whet Owl banding workshop. It was my first time seeing these little owls, and they are a cute as legend suggest. Also, all pictures in this post were taken by Casey as I am currently a cripple with a broken finger & a cast.

Due to storm damage we were not able to enter the woods to view the mist nets, so the banding was done at the main station area. Prior to banding the owls there was a great presentation by the Drumlin staff / banding team on their decade of data with these little owls. Tons of information about their migrations & movements, and also about their ecology & breeding behaviors.

It seems most of the birds caught are first year birds, with some second year birds intermittently.  Unlike most owls species who have 2ish young,  saw whet's have a number of young. They are more like song birds in that they have larger  egg clutches due to high  mortality rates. Which, when you see how small these little owls are it is easy to guess that lots of other critters... eat them.

Another fascinating stat from their data is the movements of the Mass birds alone. It seems birds banded at the various sites across the state follow / move across different routes than the birds at other sites. Showing that different groups of saw-whets have different migration patterns than other groups, vs. typical routes followed by most birds of the same species, all moving to their traditional seasonal grounds year after year. Incredible, I could go on & on but typing with one finger is quite daunting.

checking age of bird. 

Here is the Breeding birds atlas II chart  for Saw Whet's in Mass, dark green being confirmed breeding blocks. 

Weight & size shows the difference from the female to the lighter & smaller male. 

peering at the captor 

First year birds can be identified by all new feathers on the wings, as second year birds & on ( 2+ years and older ) begin to replace their various primary & secondary feathers, thus showing a light to dark color difference between the old & new feathers. 

An amazing night banding over 12 + owls, and some awesome pictures by Casey.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Barred Owl Ipswich & Salisbury

So I searched the reserve for the PI Barred owl & the Saw Whet that was sighted this week. No luck. However the ol' Rileys were kind enough to call me with news that one of their resident Barred Owl's was sitting in the pines. It was up pretty high, but I'll take it, best shots I could do with how high up it was.

2 Days later found this Barred Owl in Salisbury...quite a week for Barred's !!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random Happenings

So its been a pretty good birding week & a terrible picture taking week.  (on my part) However the sub par shots I did manage to take do tell some pretty good stories.

I caught a Merlin terrorizing a few thousand Starlings near lot 1 in the Reserve. Awesome to watch. The battle ensued for a good 40 mins.

The Starlings would try to take off from the shrub, and the Merlin would try to grab one, forcing them all back down. The Merlin shot threw the flock relentlessly, it was pretty ridiculous to behold.

The Merlin just went through where the flock is condensed. 

Also impossible to get a shot of the little Falcon it was moving so fast, at least with my level of photography skills. Once put up however the Starlings made impressive patterns as the Merlin flanked them.
This fuzzy blur is about what it looked like jetting by me

While looking for owls in the Salisbury "owl thicket" I found hundreds of Monarch Butterfly's roosting for the night. (can butterfly's roost??) Anyways, that was pretty cool. Also lots of Red-breasted Nuthatch's.

& Finally I caught a young Redtail hunting the North Field in the reserve. The bird caught a number of mice & snakes in a very short period, and seemed very pleased with itself. I was a true champion with this one.  I initially mis-identified the raptor & then proceeded to take roughly 300 pictures with auto focus thinking it was manual... getting not one shot in focus. Still a cool hawk. From these shots you can tell its a redtail, but it looked dark as hell on the ground initially damnit. 

Also... a tagged Gull on Sandy Point

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fall Migration

So lots to see on P.I. The shorebirds are passing through, large numbers of: Black Bellied Plovers, Semi-palmated Plovers, Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Dunlins, and Sanderlings crowed the flats at Sandy Point.

Spotted a very early Merlin on the P.I. Bridge. & I also am posting a few picks of the tree swallows from last week that have since moved on.

Got eaten alive taking this shot, probably have west-Nile....

Lots of Swallows

Sandy Point

Good contrast of the B.B plover in size

While I didn't get pics I caught a Kestrel & a Golden Eagle in N.H. at my buddy's wedding a real treat.