February started off in traditional February fashion with a big Nor’easter. I don’t know what the official snowfall total was for my town but I had to shovel 16 inches so that is official for me. The storm was still churning away in the Gulf of Maine when I went out the next day. The ocean was really rough with big swells being pushed in by the storm. This is the breakwater at the mouth of the Merrimack River.
The river wasn’t as rough but the tide was going out and a lot of ice was moving swiftly downstream. There were Common Goldeneye swimming among the ice floes further upstream where the water was calm, diving for food. This male drifted by and then flew back upstream for another pass.
Birds were flying up and down the river near the ocean but very few stopped to forage in the fast moving water. Long-tailed Ducks headed up the river while a Common Loon went toward the ocean.
I happened to spot some motion in the dunes behind me while taking these pictures. A female Northern Harrier was too intent on her hunt to notice me and I was able to get a nice shot. Harriers hunt like an owl and they even have an owl-like face.
There was a nice variety of birds away from the water, including Northern Pintails poking through the marsh grass where the snow did not accumulate like it did on my walkway.
Coming next: day two after the storm, further down the coast.