Saturday, February 6, 2010

Forbush Bird Club-Cape Ann Brrrrrding Festival

I decided to go on the Forbush Bird Club field trip today that Alan lead at Cape Ann as birding locally has been rather dull to say the least so I did what many people did today which was head to Cape Ann in attempt to defy the winter birding boredom and brave the cold in hopes of seeing a rarity or two. The weather was downright frigid as buses of birders joined in with scopes in hand to scan the rough seas for a couple of first of the year birds.
The air was brisk as birders met at the pier where there were the usual regulars like the Common Eiders, Herring Gulls, etc, but one of the highlights were these magnificent Gadwalls above. I have come to the conclusion that one of the positives of winter birding is to really appreciate birds you may over look at times due to too much for the eyes to see. Sure I had seen these birds before at Plum Island and other places, but I will sheepishly admit, I never gave them the attention they deserved because there were so many other fine birds to look at, so settled with a glimpse and was happy to check them off my list. Today, I really looked at them and was struck by how beautiful they are and wondered why I hadn't noticed it before. Will not overlook them anymore that's for sure!
There were also a couple of Iceland Gulls like the one above who did Dan and I the honors of a flyby so we could get some photos. Was happy just to get it in flight and in focus!
And another shot. This gull is now my new favorite gull for the month of February! A graceful flyer and kind of cute. You can't get much better than that, especially with the wind chill today!
Another handsome bird these drake Red-breasted Mergansers. They were everywhere today just like they usually are whenever I'm in Gloucester.
And a picture of a rather sad looking Herring Gull, contemplating the day and kicking himself for not heading off with Frank and Hal to Miami Beach this past fall when he had the chance I'm sure. ;-).
Next it was onto Rockport where we saw the always gorgeous Harlequin ducks. I got out of the truck for a quick look and photo as I was freezing at this point. It's funny that I can handle winter birding when I am hiking, trail running or snow shoeing and the frigid air doesn't get to me. Put me in a car where I go from destination to destination and I can't stay warm for some reason. I had noticed it during the Christmas Bird Counts and again today. I guess I am just one who needs to be moving in winter which is alright by me! ;-)
One of my favorite places in Rockport which is Andrews Point. So much beauty for the eyes to take in regardless of the season.
Check out those seas all. They were as fierce as the wind!
The skeletal remains of a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull that a fellow birder had spotted. Another reminder of the harshness of winter and how lucky we humans have it compared to our avian friends.
The beauty of what once was clung to the grass and appeared to have escaped the carnage of what was below.
Some micro photography here as I just can't seem to help myself!
And another.
While the cold was unforgiving at times, and had dampened our resolve some, one could find subtle hints that yes there will be a spring this year, like the picture above. Yes folks, those are buds, just promising to spring to life in another couple of months.

For more info, pictures, etc on the Cape Ann Birding Festival, be sure to visit Steve from Shooting my Universe as not only does he have some fabulous photos of the Iceland Gulls, but many others. He will also be brave enough to venture out in the cold tomorrow for a Pelagic Trip and knowing Steve and his camera, he will be sure to come back with a bunch of really cool pictures and a good case of frost bite. ;-)
On the way home Alan and I spotted two adult Bald Eagles in Weston near the Mass Pike. First of the year bird for me and was delighted to get them driving home no less! Best of all they were in a pair which may mean these two are thinking of shacking up soon. Yes folks, spring is another day closer, you just have to keep your eyes open for it that's all.

Take care!


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I had to smile at the 'bad hair day' of the Mergansers.This looks like a great place to bird in warmer weather.I hope by now you have found a cozy blanket and warmed up.

eileeninmd said...

Looks like you and the others had a great birding outing. It is much colder and windy on the coast. I love your mergansers, very pretty.

A New England Life said...

You're not going out on the boat trip today Kim? Yeah, a little to cold for me too! That ocean wind blows right through you.

Glad you had an enjoyable day though and saw a fair amount of birds. Since I've only been to Rockport once I didn't know about Andrews Point. Next time I go I'll be sure to check it out!


matthew houskeeper said...

When hiking, the exercise contributes to your body warmth. Every time you get in a car, your metabolism slows right down, and the car heater takes over.
It is easy to forget how much heat we generate by hiking/walking.

Glad to see that you got out there regardless.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Hi Kim, LOL, it was a very cold pelagic trip. I have to tell you that just after saw you at State Fish Pier, I went home to put up a post and at 12:00 I saw my very first Razorbill right out my kitchen window!


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