Sunday, February 28, 2016

So.New Hampshire/Cape Ann

Greetings……Well to say it’s been a while since my last post…. would be a mild understatement. So I thought I’d give it a go again. 

The first trip of the spring season for the Hitchcock Center Birding class got off to a robust start last weekend. February trips to the coast are problematic to begin with, mainly because of the weather! Last year’s trip was cold and had seven foot snow banks. This year’s trip was met with 58 degree weather and zero snow.  The first part of the day was birding rte. 1A in Southern New Hampshire; we made our way north from Hampton Beach and ending up at New Castle. Our first stop was at the Fish Pier just south of Hampton Beach State Park. This location has hosted an Adult Glaucous Gull for the past couple of years and we were not disappointed this day. We pulled into the parking area and our target bird was in the parking lot with about 30 Herring Gulls. After viewing the gull and common waterfowl in the Harbor, we headed just up the road to Hampton Beach State Park. We pulled into the parking lot and almost immediately had two Snowy Owls…one in the dune and the other landed on the parking lot guard rail. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed these visitors from the north.

From there we hit many pull offs along Rte.1A, observing all three species of Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Common Eiders, Red-necked Grebes, another Snowy Owl and 20 Purple Sandpipers in Rye. We ended up in New Castle on a tip from Steve Mirick….Steve and Jane came upon a Gray Seal pup! This youngster was lying out in the sand soaking up the sun and looked to be in good shape. It was thought the pup was about 3-4 weeks old.

From New Castle we headed to Plum Island. We arrived midafternoon and stayed until 5pm taking in a pretty good Short-eared Owl show at the North Lookout.

Day 2 – Those that made it a two day trip spent the night at the Marriott in Amesbury. We departed around 8:00AM and headed for our first stop in Ipswich….Red-headed Woodpecker! It didn’t take too long to locate the Red-headed Woodpecker on Town Farm Rd. We had excellent scope views of the Imm Woodpecker and from there we headed to Gloucester. Our next stop was to the State Fish Pier – Here we had the continuing Thick-billed Murres and a nice assortment of Waterfowl. After the State Fish Pier we hit the normal stops around Cape Ann…Eastern Point, Niles Pond, Bass Rocks, Loblolly Cove, Andrew’s Point and last Halibut Point State Park. Highlights included, 3 King Eiders, Redheads, Razorbills and lots of Harlequin Ducks. We ended the trip with 54 species, all participants had a great weekend, some had life birds and as mentioned earlier the weather was simply outstanding. Photos below….

Glaucous Gull-Adult.  New Hampshire

Snowy Owl- Hampton Beach State Park

Snowy Owl #2

Lesser Black-backed Gull-

Purple Sandpiper-Rye NH

Gray Seal-New Castle, NH

Northern Harrier- one of 6 Birds. Plum Island

Short-eared Owl-not the best photo...but it does the job.

Short-eared Owl-Plum Island

Red-headed Woodpecker-Town Farm Rd-Ipswich

Thick-billed Murres

Eye of Great Black-backed Gull

King Eider- Imm Male- Andrews Point