Sunday, November 15, 2009

Forbush Bird Club-Salisbury Beach and Plum Island

The Forbush Bird Club had their trip today at Salisbury Beach and the turnout was good as many birders were eager to see what yesterdays foul weather may have brought in. The trip was led by Paul who was already there by the time we arrived. Rain was coming down pretty hard so visibility was rather poor (familiar pattern lately!).
The seas were still rough after yesterday and the photo above will give you an idea of what the seas looked like at Salisbury.
And the digiscoped picture above will give you a rough idea of the visibility (all though not as bad). The picture above is an attempted digiscope of Purple Sandpipers believe it or not.
Realizing visibility was too poor to see much, Paul took us to Cherry Hill Reservoir in West Newbury, where there were quite a few Ruddy Ducks, Bufflehead and other ducks. I got one picture of a Ruddy when suddenly my camera starting active really strange and then.....Suddenly......
This!!! Panic set in as I spent the remainder of my time there trying to figure out what the heck happened to my camera. I changed the batteries, made sure it was dry, etc, but nothing worked.
While driving to another destination I see a form in a distant tree to the right of me so I asked Alan to pull over as whatever it was, it looked rather interesting. Realizing its a Red-tailed Hawk making an unfamiliar pose, I beg my camera to work just once, and guess what....It did! Here is a Red-tailed Hawk spreading out its wings in an attempt to dry them off some. Very interesting to see as I have never seen it before. I am used to seeing it w/ Turkey Vultures and Double-crested Cormorants, but never a Red-tailed Hawk. Also notice the white on the back of its head. Very interesting bird.
Alan's Pic

We make it to Plum Island and the place is filled with birders there seeing what would be there with yesterday's weather. One of the first things we see are some Northern Pintail show above. My camera would not work at this point so I am using one of Alan's.

Alan's Pic

We also saw this very cool Lark Sparrow shown above. My camera was still not working well so I didn't give this bird the attention it deserved. One thing I have learned is that I cannot bird without a camera. This is the 1st time this has happened to me in all my months of birding and I felt as though I lost a limb or something. The camera to me is my way of seeing birds. With the camera I can pick up on its personality and other things I just don't see with binoculars or a scope. Very weird, but the camera is what I have been birding with most, so it's what I am most used to.

Alan's Pic

We also saw quite a few Dunlin on a tiny island

As well as a few Black-bellied Plover still as handsome as ever.
Paul led us to another stop and once you got out of the car, all you could hear were American Crows making one of the biggest crow rackets I have ever heard. You knew right away they were alarmed about something but what??? We were soon about to find out as we looked to a tree to see a Great Horned Owl being harassed by the crows. The owl is actually in the middle of the tree and you can vaguely see it in the middle of the tree.
And believe it or not, this picture is mine. I turned my camera on for the 100th time attempting to get it to work and low and behold it did (my camera must have been very choosy on what it wanted to get pictures of today). As you can see, the owl is not at all amused by the crow mobbing, in fact, it looks completely annoyed. A Northern Mockingbird also decided to join in the on the fun at this point as we watched the little bird take mini-dives at the ticked off owl. Between the crows, the mockingbird and the scores of birders all looking at him, I am sure this owl was kicking himself for choosing this tree for day time R&R.
My camera decided to behave but my picture quality was still poor, but I was able to get a picture of this Northern Shoveler. Awesome bird and a first for me. I really like the colors it has as well as the shape of its bill.
A view of Plum Island on our way home. A very productive day of birding and Paul knew exactly where to go to get us some great birds. Thanks Paul!

Alan and I decided to make one more stop back at Salisbury to get a better look because visibility had improved considerably. We saw quite a few Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Common Eiders, Black Ducks and Double-crested Cormorants. The camera was still working at this point so I have no idea what happened but whatever it is, I'm glad it's fixed. Will be getting a new camera now no matter what once stores start slashing prices for Christmas.

A picture of the sun setting on our way home. There was darkness driving there this morning and darkness driving home. One of the biggest things I dislike most about winter.

Take care everyone.


Rich said...

Cameras can be weird. The bird with the wings out. I saw a similar thing with a juvenile eagle in Juneau. It was after a drizzle and lots of eagles were around. The one bird was the only one to display like that. The display lasted for at least 10 minutes.
Another young Eagle came up to him and the eagle that went up to it was chased off by a larger eagle (multiple times.) I just stayed around and watched because it was so interesting.
Have a good week.

madcobug said...

I have had my camera do that when the batteries were gone. Glad that you got a few shots. The red hawk is an outstanding one. Helen

Steve Borichevsky said...

Yes, Saturday was hard on the gear. I'm starting to see the winter ducks arrive in Gloucester. I had a King Eider by Bass Rocks, lots of Black Ducks, some Buffle heads too. Yup, looks like winter birds. I'm glad you folks had a good bird trip.

Hilke Breder said...

I know what you mean by needing a camera for birding - same way for me. One of the best times is afterwards sorting through the pictures to see what treasures you brought home. I particularly like the moody landscape shots.

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