Some February Birds

We are about half way through a cold and stormy February with hopes for a quieter and slightly warmer final week of the month. These are some photos I took last week during a lull in the weather action. There is a large flock of Snow Buntings wintering at the state park in Salisbury MA. This group was taking a break in the early morning sunshine and grabbing some seed that a local put out at the edge of a parking lot. They were joined by Black-capped Chickadees and various sparrows, including the Tree Sparrow in the bottom photo. And no, the birds aren’t getting fat. They fluff themselves up for insulation against the cold.

Another winter visitor was this Horned Lark that was on the ice at the edge of a creek.

I spotted a Snowy Owl across the water while photographing the Lark. It was a matter of a noticing a little lump on a log in the distance. These are uncropped and cropped photos taken with a telephoto lens. He was about 250 yards (225 meter) away and barely discernable in my binoculars. They don’t call them “snowy” for nothing as they virtually disappear when there is a lot of snow and ice around.

Other birds in the area were a Northern Harrier and a female Greater Scaup.

A visit to Gloucester Harbor the next day provided some nice looks at a male Red-breasted Merganser showing off his “Mohawk”.

And a male Common Eider was swimming nearby.

I have to include a gull photo. This Great Black-backed Gull was trying to eat his snack in peace. It took a while but he managed to fend off three other gulls and gobble down his meal. It pays to be the biggest pirate.

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