Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Le Conte's Sparrow

Amy & I had driven up to Newburyport in search of eagles, but were met with no success.  No after a relaxing lunch we headed to Concord to see the rare (for this area) Le Conte's Sparrow.  This subject was a bit more cooperative as it was feeding in the bit of exposed grass along the side of the road.

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The Le Conte's was in a group of a couple different types of sparrows. Most were content to feed and be ignored by the birders and photographers. However, I did notice this Song Sparrow strike a photogenic pose on the top of the snow. How could I resist?
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Eagles Along the Merrimack

One of my personal winter highlights is when the Bald Eagles congregate towards the mouth of the Merrimack river.  Each winter as ice and snow covers their usual fishing grounds they move towards open water.  Brackish tidal water combined with the quickly flowing waters of the Merrimack form an attractive area for the eagles to fish.

Since taking up photography I have visited here often, standing in the freezing cold, trying to capture some award winning eagle photos.  Many days I have gotten nothing more than frozen fingers and toes for my efforts.  Other days watching the eagles has been interesting and educational, but the photography is unremarkable due to the distance to the birds, the light or general lack thereof.  On those rare days like yesterday you experience the right combination of eagle activity and conditions that make those cold days a distant memory.  Hope you enjoy the photos.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Birding Along the Merrimack

After several weeks hanging around the house doing projects, hiding from the cold, and starting a new gym discipline I decided that I needed to get off my butt, bundle up and go do some photography.  I really wanted to test out shooting from my car using the new bean bag that Amy sewed my for Christmas.

It was early morning when I headed to Plum Island.  I hoped to see & photograph the Barred Owl (nope), possibly see the rumored Short-eared Owl (nope).  It was a quiet morning, but there were a few birds along the drive that let me test the bean bag.

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A Blue-gray Gnatcather.

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I guess bittersweet berries don't go down as easily as bugs

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I know I could have shot photos of the cardinal and robin at my feeder, but they were there and my bean bag needed testing.  Besides my mother-in-law loves cardinals.


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Since Plum Island was quiet I ventured over to Salisbury State Park to see what I could find there.  Shooting out the window to the birds in the conifer is the perfect application for the bean bag.
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Female Redpoll

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Male White-winged Crossbill

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Female Redpoll

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Chickadee

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Male White-winged Crossbill

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Chickadee

At both places the birds were especially skittish.  Probably because birds like these were flying around looking for their next meal and trying to stay warm.
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Northern Harrier

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Red-tailed Hawk spotted some food and takes flight

Overall, I think the bean bag did pretty well.  I especially like that you can sit in the car and occasionally turn on the heater to stay warm.  

Finally, I headed over to Deer Island to see what was going on this year with the eagles.  Unfortunately this is photography the old fashioned way, camera on a tripod, standing in the cold.  While waiting for eagles to appear and do something, I would practice on whatever was nearby, especially birds in flight.

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Common Goldeneye

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Male Common Merganser

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Double-crested Cormorant