Early Spring Sightings

We are having a somewhat typical spring with widely fluctuating temperatures. But we have had some pretty extreme winds and it is exceptionally dry. So we are in a drought rather than “mud season”. There have been some early arrivals and more transients heading north. This is a sampling from the past 7-10 days.

First, two stragglers who should be further north by now: a Snowy Owl sitting on some old lobster traps on the beach and a male Northern Harrier (aka “Gray Ghost”) soaring high in the distance.

This tom Turkey is “putin’ on the ritz” for his harem of 11 (!) hens.

Newly emerging insects will have deal with this Eastern Phoebe.

This is an uncommon Fox Sparrow (top) and somewhat more common Field Sparrow. The Fox Sparrow has rusty colored spots, wing patches and tail that are reminiscent of its namesake. The Field Sparrow has an unmistakable pinkish bill.

Piping Plovers have started arriving and I got this photo the day before the entire beach in the Parker River NWR closed down to give the plovers plenty of breeding room.

A flock of Brant flew by while I was there. These are the smaller, quieter cousins of the Canada Goose.

Moving inland, the ponds and lakes have a nice variety of waterfowl. These are, from top to bottom, a Pied-billed Grebe, a female Ruddy Duck and the Grebe with a male Ruddy Duck.

I was with a small Audubon group when we observed six Bald Eagles in the space of about 10 minutes. Here’s two of them, an adult and an immature bird. A few will nest in the area but a lot of them will move inland and north now that the rivers and ponds are open again.

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