Sunday, January 22, 2017

Great Gray Owl in Maine

Geoff Wood  and I made a quick decision at 5 in the morning to make a quick 500 mile trip to try to see a Great Gray Owl that had been seen in the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife in Maine. This large refuge abuts long logging roads so it was a real shot in the dark, but we turned up successful. After coming across a flock of Pine Grosbeaks, we found the owl shortly after. The owl was hunting a field along a section of the access road. It was quite a treat to see this large boreal owl up close, at one point while hunting the bird dropped about 40 feet away in pursuit of a small rodent. Great Gray Owls are auditory hunters so it was interesting to watch the bird "listening" and then floating across the field like a giant moth to drop onto prey. A very long trip, but well worth it to see this majestic owl of the north.
                       The large facial disk on this owl helps funnel sound to its ears for hunting.

                                                  Hovering before dropping onto prey

                                       Male (red) and Female (yellowish) Pine Grosbeaks

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Harlequin duck's

Found some Harlequin Ducks along the shore in Rockport with Geoff. The males are quite striking, the females per usual in the duck world not so much.
                                                                  Male & female

Red-breasted Nuthatch with a spider pulled out of the bark of this pine.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bernard & a new Screech owl

Seems like I have figured out Bernard's schedule, I figured out he starts hunting for the night around 3pm. Also I found a new screech owl, and snagged a few photos of the "wolf moon."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bernard out in the open

One thing about observing wildlife everyday (if you do a good job) is that they acclimate to you. In the case of Bernard the Barred Owl, now he basically glances at me...then goes back to sleep. I am essentially just another creature in the forest that means him no harm and is adhering to a perplexing "hunting" schedule. Today I managed to catch Bernard as he was leaving to go hunt, so I finally got a few good shots of him out in the open.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Epic day of birding !

Today was one of those birding days that you always shoot for but always fall short of. Geoff and I had the full Monty of birds. 4 Lapland Longspurs, 1 Snowy Owl, 1 Barred Owl, 1 Eastern Screech Owl, 1 Northern Shrike, Snowy Bunting, Horned Lark, and some other randoms.

                                                                    Snowy Owl

                                                    Barred , not Bernard sleeping the Hellcat woods
                                                                       Horned Lark
 Lapland Longspur ( left and right) First time I've ever seen 4 together ( could only get 2 in the picture though)
                                                              Northern Shrike
                                                 Male juvenile Peregrine Falcon


Monday, January 9, 2017

Northern Shrike

An immature Northern Shrike was hunting in the Refuge today. Shrike are an interesting visitor from the north. Also called butcher birds, this songbird raptor high-bred often leaves half finished meals impaled on thorns or tree limbs for a later meal. Also a new Screech Owl in down town Newburyport.

                                                                    New Screech

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snow filled forest

After working all night I took a quick walk before I went home to find Bernard sleeping a snow filled forest. I was the first person to lay tracks through the forest this morning, pretty magical.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Brown Creeper

                                                          One of my favorite little birds, Brown Creeper .