Saturday, January 23, 2010

Alan and I decided to head to Barre Falls today but this time, not for hawk watching per say, but more for snow shoeing with hopes we would see the resident Northern Goshawk as this bird is on the top tier of my winter target list (what else is new ;-)).
Anyhow, the sky was clear blue and despite the fact that the forecast called for cold, it didn't feel that way after a few minutes of snow shoeing. The Barre Falls I know and love with memories of warblers in spring and raptors in fall has taken a different life its own and thrilled me again, but this time with ice crystals and fresh snow that was fun to walk through in search of the elusive Northern Goshawk.
The Ware River where Osprey's would hunt for fish this past September lies frozen in time with promises of spring here and there as you can see above.
And flowers from seasons past take on a life of their own with the ice crystals that continue to build upon their skeletal remains creating a different kind of beauty that was breath taking to see as you made your way upon unbroken paths while drinking in the invigorating winter air.
Next it was onto Winimusett for a little more snow shoeing and perhaps a few raptors and were far from disappointed as we saw both the Rough-legged Hawk as well as the two local Red-tailed Hawks who were all circling around the same area doing lazy circles while ascending higher up into the air. What made the whole episode even more interesting was the fact that all three were together per say, with the Rough-legged being higher than the two Red-tailed's but all seemed indifferent at each others presence, almost as if this happens often and have learned to live in peace amongst each other for the time being. Highlight of the day for sure.

Pictures can not do this scene justice as they were too far away and the blue skies made focusing the camera challenging to say the least, but take my word for it that it was indeed mesmerizing. Sigh, I have come to the conclusion that my new favorite winter site of all is watching a Rough-legged Hawk soaring or hover-hunting from above. Wish there were more of them around though.
We also saw this rather gentle looking (at least to me), Cooper's Hawk, yes that's right Cooper's Hawk. Sheesh, what did you think it was...... ;-). He sat there the entire time watching the spectacular raptor show above and Alan and I were in hawk heaven at that point having three different species of hawk all within immediate view.
A shot of the open land which is frozen water. Seriously folks now my new favorite birding spot for the winter for Central Massachusetts. Would have no problem spending the entire day here so long as I had snow shoes, snacks and a lounge chair for relaxing here and there. We never did get the Northern Shrike though which was disappointing but not complaining much as I saw it last time.
Shadow play above but couldn't help it just because.
A beaver's den above which was huge. If you look behind it you will see a smaller one, which I am assuming the guest headquarters. ;-)
And last but not least the authentic "Pond that Never Freezes". Went there and saw my first of the year Ring-necked Duck and Wood Ducks which was awesome until some one in a snow mobile decided to whiz on by us and scare them all off. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr........And that's all I am going to say about the matter.

Take care all.


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Thanks for taking me along on this adventure. The scenes are ever so beautiful.The ice encrusted stems are gorgeous. Wishing you many more days just like this.

Felicia said...

Sounds like a beautiful day! From your pictures, I can almost hear the sound of footsteps crunching in the snow and ducks splashing in that pond. Thanks for sharing!

Rich said...

Looks like a great outing. Blue ski, snow, birds and beavers - looks perfect. Getting out in the snow makes winter.

Great pictures and commentary.

Rich said...

Great Pictures.. Great commentary. Looks like it was a great day, you even had blue skies.

Glad you were able to use those snow shoes. Such a great way to spend a winters day.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Yes, there seems to be a lot of Cooper's sightings. I had one in my front yard a week ago, one in my back yard a couple of days ago, and two other Gloucester (non-birding) blogs recently posted Cooper's Hawks.


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