Parker River NWR

by John Briggs on March 16, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Blog, Weekend Birding

New England was on the receiving end of some beautiful spring-like weather over the weekend. High pressure over the region sent temperatures into the 50’s in some areas with crystal clear skies. Sharon and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and made a trip to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island in Massachusetts.

Arriving at sunrise, the air was crisp and cool. Canada Geese were honking and flying everywhere. Hundreds of red-winged Blackbirds dotted the immense landscape, their “okalee” song rolling across the flats. Black Ducks, Northern Pintails and Green-winged Teal were feeding in the pannes.

Map is interactive. Marker shows location of the refuge.

Near the Hellcat Wildlife Observation Area we saw three Merlin. One was in a tree near the restrooms, the other two flying over the marsh just south of the observation tower. Further south on the island, a Northern Harrier was found hovering near the Stage Island Pool Overlook. An adult Bald Eagle was seen in the distance in the area of Emerson Rocks.

The Snowy Owls that had been reported on the refuge were being evasive. We looked at every white spot in the marshes and dunes with close scrutiny. We were about to give up and head home. Near the end of the refuge at the salt pannes, we saw a group of people looking through scopes. We pulled over and asked what was out there and the reply came back, “a Snowy Owl”!

Indeed, after looking through the scope there it was, a good 200 yards away. Impossible to get a photo at that distance, but a life bird for my wife.

Here is our bird tally for Sunday morning at the Parker River NWR.

Location: Parker River NWR
Observation date: 3/15/09
Notes: Clear. light winds. Start temp 30 F, end temp 44 F.
Number of species: 33

Canada Goose 60
American Black Duck 44
Mallard 16
Northern Pintail 11
Green-winged Teal 25
Green-winged Teal (American) 12
Ring-necked Duck 5
Bufflehead 20
Common Goldeneye 16
Hooded Merganser 4
Red-breasted Merganser 9
Red-throated Loon 1
Common Loon 14
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Merlin 3
Mourning Dove 35
Snowy Owl 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Killdeer 7
Blue Jay 21
American Crow 66
Black-capped Chickadee 12
American Robin 35
Northern Mockingbird 6
Cedar Waxwing 10
Song Sparrow 15
Dark-eyed Junco 11
Northern Cardinal 7
Red-winged Blackbird 102
Common Grackle 20
American Goldfinch 19

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

Most of the birds we saw were just too far off for photographs. As we get into April, more and more species will be settling into the refuge and more oppurtunities for us to return for bird photography.

Clicking a thumbnail will enlarge the photo. After enlarging a photo, you may use the arrows at the bottom of the photo to go to the next photo.

Happy birding!



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