Sunday, January 17, 2010

Birding Salisbury and Plum Island Janaury

I decided to join my buddy Alan on his trip to Salisbury Beach and Plum Island yesterday with our first stop being Salisbury Beach in hopes of getting the reported Sage Thrasher that had been reported there all week. The weather was already warm in comparison to what we've had recently and the sun was just starting to peek from the horizon which was a wonderful way to start the day.
We spent a considerable amount of time looking for the thrasher but never did find it, but did find the Iceland Gull above mixed in with a Great Black-backed Gull and a couple of Herring Gulls.
I had seen this bird before but never this close up so it was great. Had to get a digiscope of its face as its as sweet looking as a Ring-billed. Great looking gull.
We also spent some time scanning the waters and saw the usual Common Eiders and White-winged Scoters.
Next it was onto Plum Island which was rather quiet in comparison to what I am accustomed to there. One of the things we did see were three Norther Harriers including the one above. Picture is lousy but love the fact that is shows those dark hands it has which is a good fieldmark to look for on this bird when hawk watching.
And what would a trip to Plum be without me getting a lousy picture of the Snowy Owl. Grrrrrr.....Seriously, one of the most difficult birds for me to photograph due to how white it is as well as the fact that it is never close enough for a decent shot, even a digiscoped shot.
The highlight of the trip was when a birder told us they had seen a Rough-legged Hawk a few minutes ago. My interest in the snowy quickly diminished as I started scanning the skies for this magnificent hawk. It didn't take us long to find it as it was hover-hunting and then suddenly dropped to the ground with such a force that its body jerked a little upon landing. We decided to drive up to a closer location to see if I could get better pictures but the hawk was gone by then.
We were able to spot it again as it made its way to the tip top of a tree which was very interesting to observe with my own two eyes as a friend of mine told me to look out for this behavior in Rough-legged Hawks and sure enough he was right! ;-)
The dark morph Rough-legged decided to take off which allowed me my first real good look at it from above and I was far from disappointed in what I saw! Sigh, such a magnificent bird and my new favorite bird for the month of January! I could watch it all day if allowed.
Another picture of it going away to my dismay!
But that's not all folks! We were with a bunch of other birders looking out at the sea looking for sea ducks when my head decided to scan the skies near the tree line hoping I could get one more look at the Rough-legged and low and behold it flew on past and landed in a tree. The thing was that yes this was a RL hawk, but not the dark morph we had seen earlier but a light morph which was very cool to see as it really showed you the differences between the two. Highlight of my day for certain!

Take care all. I realize my blogging has been cut down some but it is winter and all and I have been distracted with life and other things. Hoping to get out tomorrow though as I have the day off. Take care all!


Chris Petrak said...

Rough-legged & snowy on the same day - good birding!!

Renee said...

Beautiful spot to be! Sorry about the Owl, your day will come. :) I love that ring-billed gull, so cute! Well, as cute as gulls get anyway....

Rich said...

Kim, Glad to see you had some better weather and got some great shots. Glad you are back to blogging some.

Andy said...

I thought for sure you might have gone to Provincetown to see the Ivory Gull.

If Plum Island were closer to me, I too would see the Sage Thrasher.


dAwN said...

howdee kim..
havent been able to comment on your blog..because of my internet issues..but i have been able to see some posts offline with my itouch..
looks like you are constantly birding..good for you!
Take care..

matthew houskeeper said...

Plum Island is such a great place.


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