Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

by John Briggs on November 7, 2006

in Blog

Parker River National Wildlife RefugeOur trip to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island, [tag]Massachusetts[/tag] this past Sunday featured cool temperatures, mostly clear skies, and plenty of [tag]birds[/tag] to view. Quite a few other [tag]birders[/tag] were also present.

Three species were added to our life list; the Swamp Sparrow, Eurasian Wigeon and the American Wigeon. This in itself was well worth the trip!

We traveled the entire length of the refuge, making stops at the Salt Pannes, North Pool Overlook, Hellcat Observation Area, Bill Forward Pool, Stage Island Pool Overlook, and the Sandy Point Reservation.

The following are a list of species we encountered.

  • American Wigeon*
  • Eurasian Wigeon*
  • Swamp Sparrow*
  • Canada Goose
  • American Black Duck
  • Mallard
  • Lesser Yellow Legs
  • Greater Yellow Legs
  • Short Billed Dowitcher
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Northern Harrier
  • Great Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Great Blue Heron
  • American Bittern
  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Northern Pintail
  • Long Tailed Duck
  • Bufflehead
  • Common Merganser
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Red Breasted Merganser
  • Blue Jay
  • Northern Cardinal
  • American Crow
  • Black Capped Chickadee
  • Song Sparrow
  • Field Sparrow
  • American Robin
  • Gray Catbird
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • European Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • House Finch
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Dark Eyed Junco
  • American Gold Finch

Whew! What a list! If only I could have photographed each and every one of these species. One problem was too much glare on the water from the sun. Such as the GBH and Great Egret photos. It was brutal.

Something funny always happens to us when we go birding. We were walking a trail at the Sandy Point Reservation and turned around to head back to the parking area after walking the back side of Stage Island. Not paying attention to what was in front of me and looking out toward the marsh, I nearly trampled an American Bittern! It was standing on the left edge of the trail, and took off across the marsh making its “oong-ka-choonk” call as it fled. It scared us to no end. A [tag]bird[/tag] that big, that close, with its far carrying booming call is enough to send shivers up your spine. I am glad no one else was there! I bet we looked like we just walked into a mine field.

A pair of Northern Harriers flew within 25 feet of us while we were in the blind at the Bill Forward Pool. Not much later, a Peregrine Falcon flew past. The pool held a variety of species, including Hoodies, which is one of my favorite ducks.

At the Hellcat Wildlife Observation Area, we were setting up our equipment just south of the observation tower. My wife tugged at my sleeve to get my attention, and pointed behind me. A Great Blue Heron was at the waters edge just a few feet away from us. A few minutes later, a trio of Great Egrets joined the GBH and began feeding. The glare on the water was terrible, but I did manage to salvage a few good shots.

We would like to return to the refuge sometime during the winter months, and if we do, you will see the report here at [tag]Birding[/tag] In [tag]Maine[/tag].

The photographs below are from our trip to the refuge. I have made changes in the resolution of the pictures. It seems that there are a few people out there who like to swipe my pictures without permission. These people have been ordered to remove my images from their site, and if they don’t, legal action will be taken. My Copyright Info is on this site and is very easy to understand.

Within the next few days, I will have video from the trip posted in the Birding In Maine Photo Gallery.

The resolution of the photos are lower than in the past. You may give thanks to the thieves for this. If you need a higher resolution photo, please feel free to contact me. Simply click a thumbnail for a larger view.

Happy birding!

A pair of cattails in the marsh at Sandy Point Reservation. A variety of ducks feed in the salt pannes at the PRNWR. Great Blue Heron seen at the Hellcat Observation Area at the PRNWR.
Great Blue Heron seen at the Hellcat Observation Area at the PRNWR. Great Blue Heron ruffling its feathers. A trio of Great Egrets feeding at the Hellcat Observation Area of the PRNWR.
A pair of Great Egrets take flight. A group of Mergansers in the Bill Forward Pool of the PRNWR. A Northern Mockingbird perched on a branch at the PRNWR.
A Northern Mockingbird perched on a branch at the PRNWR. Sharon watching birds at the Stage Island Overlook at the PRNWR. Short-Billed Dowitcher looking for food in the salt pannes of the PRNWR.
A view from the Stage Island Overlook within the PRNWR. A Swamp Sparrow amongst the grass in the marsh at the PRNWR A Swamp Sparrow amongst the grass in the marsh at the PRNWR
Feeding time in the salt pannes of the PRNWR. An American Wigeon and a Pintail Duck in the salt pannes of the PRNWR.


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