Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend

by John Briggs on February 2, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Blog, Weekend Birding

Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend

Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend

Last weekend, Sharon and I attended the Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. The event, sponsored by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, was headquartered at the Elk’s at Bass Rocks in Gloucester.

Birders from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and as far away as New York attended the event. Buses departed at 8:00 a.m. sharp for guided birding tours to Halibut Point State Park, Niles Pond, Andrews Point, Good Harbor Beach, Magnolia Beach, Eastern Point and other locations on the cape.

Sharon and I did our birding by car. I am nursing a back injury and felt I would be uncomfortable bouncing around in a school bus. So in between events, we drove around the cape. Our main objective was the Ivory Gull that was widely reported and photographed the week before the event. Sorry to say that we did not find it, nor apparently did anyone else that day.

Female American Wigeon

Female American Wigeon

We found a beautiful female American Wigeon near Halibut Point State Park. She was feeding with approx. 20 Mallards and a few American Black Ducks. At the same time, a Turkey Vulture soared overhead. The Vulture was very light on the under-wings, lighter than I have ever seen with this species.

Nearly every protected cove we came to, we found Canada Geese sleeping. On several occasions, we did not see a “sentry”, the goose that keeps watch for danger while the others sleep. Good thing for the geese that the Bald Eagle we saw was on Ten Pound Island, several miles from the cove.

Saturday evening was the birders dinner. Approximately 50 birding enthusiasts attended the meal. Great conversation included finds of the day. One couple recorded a Dovkie, and others recorded a King Eider.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

 Keynote speaker Norman Smith, Director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum, gave a slide presentation titled “From Snowy Owls to Saw-whet Owls”.

His guest was a beautiful Barn Owl. The Barn Owl is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world, found on all continents except Antarctica, and on many oceanic islands as well. It has been introduced by people to some of the few places it did not already occur, namely Hawaii, the Seychelles Islands, and Lord Howe Island.

Barn owls are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and under CITES Appendix II. They are not federally threatened or endangered in the United States, but they are protected in some individual U.S. states–including Michigan, where they are considered endangered.

After the presentation, door prizes were awarded. Sharon and I won a shopping bag full of bird feeding supplies from Wild Birds Unlimited. Sharon also won a 55% off gift certificate from Alpen Optics.

All in all, a fun and enlightening time for all.

Here is a list of species we recorded last Saturday morning on Cape Ann.

Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Notes: Clear skies and light winds, temps from 22 F. to 30 F.
Birded from Gloucester Harbor to Rockport to Halibut Point State Park to Annisquam.
Number of species: 48

Canada Goose 175
Mute Swan 2
American Wigeon 6
American Black Duck 33
Mallard 130
Green-winged Teal (American) 4
Common Eider 90
Surf Scoter 4
White-winged Scoter 11
Long-tailed Duck 16
Bufflehead 22
Common Goldeneye 9
Hooded Merganser 2
Common Merganser 5
Red-breasted Merganser 21
Wild Turkey 2
Red-throated Loon 1
Common Loon 10
Red-necked Grebe 1
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Cormorant 10
Turkey Vulture 1
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 1
Red-tailed Hawk 4
Purple Sandpiper 60
Black Guillemot 2
Rock Pigeon 75
Mourning Dove 16
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Blue Jay 11
American Crow 65
Fish Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 13
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 6
American Robin 18
Northern Mockingbird 1
Song Sparrow 4
Dark-eyed Junco 15
Northern Cardinal 6
House Finch 3
White-winged Crossbill 2
Pine Siskin 8
American Goldfinch 16
House Sparrow 44

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 http://ebird.org

I leave you with photos taken of some of the birds we saw on Cape Ann. Click photos for a larger view.

Camera: Canon 40D
Lens: Canon 100-400mm IS L
Handheld with BushHawk

Norman Smith with his Barn Owl

Norman Smith with his Barn Owl

A raft of Common Eiders

A raft of Common Eiders

Female Mallard

Female Mallard

Female American Wigeon

Female American Wigeon

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Happy birding!

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