I was out again two days after the outing reported in the previous post. It was a foggy misty morning that brightened a bit but remained overcast. Tough conditions for photography but okay for birdwatching. We started on the north end of Plum Island at the mouth of the Merrimack River. The first sighting was a Belted Kingfisher flying over the river.
There were a few ducks flying up and down the river but the only bird on the water to come close was a Common Loon. It is larger than the Red-throated Loons that appeared in my previous post. And they have a heavier build and beak.
The next stop was the first parking area in the Parker River Refuge where we intended to look for the Razorbills that we missed in the previous outing. But we noticed several ducks flying out of the flooded marshes across from us and soon discovered why they were taking to the air. A fully mature Bald Eagle had landed on a nearby utility pole. The large number of ducks in the marsh that had been flooded by an exceptionally high tide was more than enough reason for it to check things out. And any duck looking up to see this sight is going to beat a hasty retreat!
Here it is flying over the marsh to see if it can find a straggler.
After watching the eagle, we went to the shore and were rewarded with lots of Razorbills just offshore. Razorbills are alcids and related to Murres and Puffins. They nest in cliffs and typically out in the ocean. They do come close to shore here in Massachusetts on occasion in the winter. The lighting and distance were a bit hard for me but I did get some pictures.
The light was improving later in the morning. It was still overcast but the clouds lifted and it got a bit brighter. I like this shot of an American Black Duck reflected in the water.
The Northern Pintail is a handsome duck. I photographed this male as he flew into the pond and then again after he landed and was “strutting”. The tail and the “racing stripe” are distinctive.
Happy New Year to all. I’m looking forward to sharing more birds with you in 2022.