Archive for August, 2011

Bald Eagle 8/31/11

This handsome devil hangs out every day across the ravine from my house in Nova Scotia. Pretty sure it’s a male as there are bigger eagles about and females tend to be noticeably larger. Never hangs around for long if he catches me trying to sneak up closer.

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Wild Turkeys 8/30/11

I’ve seen this flock of Wild Turkeys making the rounds in my Kittery Point neighborhood a couple of times already in the few days I’ve been home. Here they are foraging their way across my neighbor’s back yard as Hurricane Irene was gathering strength. Altogether there were 12 young birds being watched over and led by two adult hens—one of which is in the center of the shot. Wild Turkeys have made an amazing comeback in the US over the last 50 years and populations having recovered from less than 30,000 to more than 7 million birds.

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Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers 8/29/11

Shorebird terminology can be somewhat confusing. First of all, not all shorebirds are found on the shore, and outside of the US most birders refer to shorebirds as “waders,” though many don’t wade in the water. The 2 birds above are both sandpipers and the smaller species of sandpipers in North America are loosely known as “peeps,” while abroad birders might refer to them as “stints.” All sandpipers are shorebirds, but not all sandpipers are peeps. Simple right? In any case the peep at the bottom is a juvenile Least Sandpiper, told by its reddish color, smallest size, and yellowish-green legs, while the upper peep is a Semipalmated Sandpiper, with dark legs, a lighter golden color, and slightly larger size. Both of these young birds are on their way south for the winter in sizable flocks of mixed shorebirds. At this time of year, juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers are the most abundant shorebird at Seapoint by far.

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Piping Plover, 8/12/11

Earlier in the season Piping Plover chicks had just hatched, but this one is is almost full-grown now and sporting juvenile plumage. It’s paler and less contrasty than either the adult male or female, and soon will be embarking on a long journey south to the Gulf states and the Caribbean for the winter.

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Least Tern 8/11/11

The littlest of all the terns lay their eggs in a shallow scrape on sandy beaches. I found this parent just off the nest at Sandy Point Reservation at the southern tip of Plum Island.  Least Terns have a distinctive arrow shaped white patch on their foreheads with yellow bills tipped in black, becoming all black in the nonbreeding season. They are a North and South American species, closely related to the Little Terns of Eurasia. The eggs should be hatching soon and I hope to get pics of the chicks my next visit.

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Herring Gull 8/10/11

Herring Gulls are year round residents at Seapoint and along other North Atlantic coasts. Like most gulls, it’s a coastal seabird and rarely found far out at sea, breeding on offshore island in colonies. Their curiosity, intelligence, and complex communications are usually overlooked.  I found this adult at dusk taking its time with a favorite treat, live rock crab.

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Tree Swallows 8/9/11

Juvenile Tree Swallows have been fledging over the last month and as the summer progresses, especially towards evening, you’ll occasionally find huge clouds of them swirling and gathering to roost near open wetlands like here at Parker River NWR on Plum Island. Adults are blue/green and iridescent above and white below, while juveniles are a dull brown with white below, a dirty brown band across the breast.

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